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Jophelerx
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 07, 2017 4:59 pm 
 

I honestly have no idea what the hell you're talking about. You might as well have said JD Kimball's voice isn't ballsy enough or John Arch is too aggressive, for all the sense it makes to me. Also the claim that he only sings the last word of every line is objectively false. I mean if you don't like him, you dion't like him, but you don't need to make shit up.
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Jonpo
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 07, 2017 5:11 pm 
 

Hahaha yes it is exactly like saying those things. Except those are two of the most unique voices in all of metal. This dude is a 9th generation Rob Rock. He's real bad.
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Empyreal
The Final Frontier

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 07, 2017 6:03 pm 
 

Rob Rock is fucking awesome (especially for a Christian metal vocalist) and that Steel Assassin guy was great too. Been years since I heard War of the Eight Saints and I wasn't comparing it to that demo stuff though so I dunno.
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Jonpo
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 07, 2017 6:10 pm 
 

Years huh? If you play it again let me know how he grabs you.

I wanted to love it. Pretty excited when the guitars came in. Can't do it.
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Empyreal
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 07, 2017 6:15 pm 
 

I'm sure I'll still like him fine. I dig those kinds of singers.

Element_man wrote:
failsafeman wrote:
I think it's more that most of those old weird bands weren't connoisseurs of the weird themselves, they pretty much liked the same basic influential bands everyone else liked. They were just weird guys so when they tried to imitate their idols, weird music came out. Like if you read the influences bands like Cirith Ungol or Brocas Helm or even Cauldron Born list in interviews or liner notes it's usually very well-known stuff. IIRC Howie Bentley didn't even know Manilla Road existed until after he'd already recorded CB's debut.

I've talked to several guys from older bands about this. It has a lot to do with how and where these bands were distributed and marketed. Manilla Road is almost a household name in the internet age but back in the 80's you probably wouldn't have heard of them unless you either in their gig-circuit area and gave a shit about local heavy metal bands to begin with. Either that, or you chanced upon them in a record store or got them in a trade from a pen-pal or something. Also, learning how to play an instrument was probably a more arduous task due the lack of lesson resources available, YouTube et all. You'd probably start learning Iron Maiden (or whoever) riffs and solos by ear from the records and that probably ate up a lot of your spare time as opposed to actively seeking out obscure bands on your own. The only band members who have actually told me that they spent a lot of time trying to discover new music from the fringes were the guys from Cirith Ungol, now that I think about it.


This stuff is always interesting to me. They weren't trying to be weird - they listened to Maiden and all the 70s rock bands and who knows what else and just naturally came out with cult, weird shit. It was natural for them. I always love that about old bands like these, how you can hear the influences warped and mutated by sheer imagination and oddness.
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Jonpo
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 08, 2017 10:58 am 
 

For sure I think it's obvious that most of the "weirdest" and most unique bands didn't take a lot of their influence from other obscure heavy metal acts. They were already developing a style and even writing/recording in the late 70s. I recently picked up Sarcofagus' Envoy of Death LP, from 1980. Pretty fucking wild album that clearly doesn't have any heavy metal influences outside of the 70s gods. But they manage to take it and make it their own mindfuck.

I thought their debut was only half-cooked with the b-side being really lame, but Envoy of Death is focused.
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Temple Of Blood
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 08, 2017 11:09 am 
 

Empyreal wrote:
Rob Rock is fucking awesome (especially for a Christian metal vocalist)


Now I feel the need to defend Christian metal vocalists. It's a tiny genre, but there are still some very talented vocalists in it.

You mentioned Rob Rock. He has excellent singing chops, but I find his lyrics and melodies often uninspired. Really, he started his career as a "secular" vocalist anyway in bands like M.A.R.S. and others. So I'm not sure how strictly we are defining "Christian metal vocalist".

Ski from Faith Factor (as well as Deadly Blessing and Altered State) has few peers. Not an opinion. Fact.

Rey Perra from Sacred Warrior is/was amazing. "Master's Command" is an underrated USPM masterpiece that gets better with repeated listens.

Few 80s metal singers have voices that have held up as well as Michael Sweet's has. Clean living is a big factor I'm sure. The only time I saw them live (2007 or so) I was shocked that he was still hitting all the high notes, including a pretty amazing one at the end of "The Way".

A lot of metal fans, secular or Christian, like Matt Smith from Theocracy's vocals.

There are many more I could list, from more obscure bands (this is Christian metal, after all), that I doubt many here would have heard.

I'm not sure the "pretty good for Christian metal" angle is really very accurate, percentage-wise.
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Empyreal
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 08, 2017 11:12 am 
 

Yeah I was fucking around. I just don't like Christian music. But Rob Rock was always too good to deny.

I never liked Matt Smith from Theocracy though. Talented guy but his voice/tone just never did it for me. Too shrill.
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Jonpo
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 08, 2017 11:22 am 
 

There's some bad ass Christian metal out there. Was just jamming the Emerald EP yesterday. I love bands that still sound muscular and warriorlike while praising their Lord.

I'm still convinced Metal Massacre 4 has a subtle Christian agenda! Rod of Iron goes so hard for god.

Wytch Hazel put out one of the most overtly Christian albums I've ever heard. It rules though if you're into that breezy Thin Lizzy inspired style.
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Temple Of Blood
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 08, 2017 11:41 am 
 

I think Warlord are pretty overtly Christian many times, but people seem to get really offended if you categorize them as such. Either way, they are one of my favorite bands ever.

There's also Sean Peck (CAGE) and Bobby Lucas (ATTACKER).
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Jonpo
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 08, 2017 12:53 pm 
 

Warlord are the perfect example of "how to be Christian" in a heavy metal context, as far as I'm concerned. Songs like Lucifer's Hammer/Mrs. Victoria/Child of the Damned keep them from sounding like corny fucking choir boys. They were ready to crush skulls for Christ! That shit is awesome. You can't really deny the direction he went in with later projects...obviously that's where his passion is.
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Jophelerx
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 08, 2017 1:05 pm 
 

Rob Rock is pretty cool, and I can actually listen to him because he's not overtly preachy. Steel Prophet is another good example of tastefully incorporated Christian themes. Shit like Apostle, Sacred Warrior, Scarlet Rayne, etc. are pretty sweet musically, I'll agree with Temple of Blood on that...I just can't listen to them, because my fundamentally antithetic opinion to the message being presented makes me uncomfortable. Same with racist stuff, really. Not that I'm implying Christian bands are racists. Just two sets of beliefs I strongly disagree with.

Ski is obviously great too, although I've never really dug Faith Factor. But Deadly Blessing and Altered State are, of course, classic and top-notch USPM/thrash. Legendary vocals.

Anyway, I really don't think there's any significant difference in musical quality if you look at Christian bands vs. non-Christian bands - personally I think I give Christian bands less of a chance from the get-go, but I bet if you compared the 85-90% of USPM which isn't Christian (at least three-fourths of which is mediocre or downright shitty) to the Christian USPM bands, the ratio of good to bad would be similar. Of course, being a smaller group, of course there's not as much good/great Christian USPM as there is non-Christian, but I'd guess that three-fourths being lame is probably still in the right ballpark. USPM is great in that it has so many excellent bands, often quite obscure with only demo material or only one album, but even with all of that the sheer amount of shitty USPM I've slogged through over the years has been pretty colossal. Just like any genre, there will be a decent number of original and/or talented bands, and then there will be those that are just trying to ape a popular sound/make money, or in some cases maybe just really don't have any musical talent.

Sorry to everyone for the rambling tangent there! Just had the thought spark and then I felt I needed to play it out to its logical conclusion. Anyway, I'll give out a recommendation to try and make my post a little more pertinent to the thread in general. It's been several years since I remember Vatican being brought up. The old thread regulars might not know it, but I bet it'll be new to a lot of people. Specifically their Answer to the Master demo. They're listed as heavy metal, but on that album, at least, there's a generous helping of USPM to go with it. 5TH OF METAAAAAAALLLL!

I know they had some more demos so I went to check their page to look further into them, and realized they had...a full-length out this year? It says the material was written in the 80s/90s, so maybe it's worth a shot. Anyone else feel free to let me know your thoughts if you've heard it already. Either way, you can't go wrong with the tried and true Answer to the Master!

Youtube: show
(It does take awhile for the vocals to come in on this track, but the riffs are enough to keep the majority of attention until they come in. And the vocals are well worth it once they appear, this guy shrieks with the best of them, reminds me a bit of the guy from Apollo Ra.
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DoomMetalAlchemist
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 08, 2017 6:54 pm 
 

RE: Christian metal

It's great seeing a little love for Emerald! Look to the Stars is one of my all time favorite power ballads, and Judgment Day has a nice dark atmosphere to it, and a great riff lovingly lifted from Michael Schenker. The vocalist really has a smooth voice, and the lead guitar is really passionate sounding.

Warlord is a great band, and Their 2013 album The Holy Empire, which is probably their most overtly Christian album, is awesome. If you haven't yet, check out the songs 70,000 Sorrows, Thy Kingdom Come, and The Holy Empire. These songs and the album in general have a much more epic scope and feel than older Warlord I feel, guitarist Bill Tsamis bringing in influences from his 90s project, Lordian Guard.

Speaking of Lordian Guard, that project is much more overtly Christian than Warlord, and the debut album I probably like more than any Warlord album. Lordian Guard isn't the heaviest band around, but they are still metal, and the two best words I can use to describe their music are "epic" and "majestic." This is helped by great use of synthesizers, which at the time of recording were already cheesy and outdated sounding, but in the hands of Bill Tsamis sound incredible. And the very unique vocals of Bill's then-wife VIdonne really add to the greatness of this project for me. I've never heard a voice like hers, in metal or any other genre. The follow up album, Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God, is good too, but not as much. However, definitely still worth hearing, at least for the title track alone, which has a hugely epic 3 and a half minute long intro. I just wish he would have ended the song more creatively; he decided to end it by fading out the chorus. Oh well. Anyway, the 2 disc Lordian Guard anthology (simply called "Anthology" is absolutely worth owning. It includes (almost) everything Lordian Guard has done (the exceptions being 3 instrumental demos not realeased until the 2017 reissue of Warlord's Rising Out of the Ashes on the bonus disc). There are even non-LG songs on it that are very much worth, such as the ballad Lady VIdonne (Bill on guitar, Vidonne on vocals--with a much more traditional "angelic" voice compared to the LG material), and kind of in-between project of Bill's called Lordian Winds. The best Lordian Winds song to me is Dark Civilization, which to me is basically "acoustic metal." It's basically all acoustic guitar (and some sparse keyboards) but instead of being a ballad, it's basically more of a heavy metal song played on acoustic instead of electric guitar.

And finally, I am REALLY surprised no one brought up this band yet in this current Christian metal conversation: Trouble. Maybe it's because they are more doom metal? Their first album form 1984, Trouble (later renamed Psalm 9--and this s/t album is not to be confused with their 1990 s/t). Has a lot of traditional heavy metal elements as well as doom metal elements. And singer Eric Wagner is fantastic on this album. Really powerful voice, maybe comparable to Tim Baker of Cirith Ungol, but much more talented.
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nekrosonic
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 09, 2017 12:08 am 
 

Deliverance is a really good Christian band. Weapons of our Warfare is their signature record I think, very affecting combo of heavy/thrash/speed and lots of melody.

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colin040
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 09, 2017 5:29 am 
 

I just gave Ossian's Emberi dolgok a try and I like it quite a bit so far. It really is a lightweight and melodic metal record with some catchy hooks popping up here and there. UltaBoris compares it to Hanging in the Balance which I don't really understand (then again, what album can be compared to that one in terms of style?) but yeah, good album.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rc8Tmqb5ut0

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5ancXGLQ8Ks

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Oblarg
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 09, 2017 11:04 am 
 

War of the Eight Saints never does it for me. It has a terminal case of "trying too hard." There are good riffs, for sure, but they're not put together in any way that's compelling; lots of parts drag because the band really wants to milk a section and so repeat it 8 times instead of 3 or 4, and a lot of the main sections of the songs are less-impressive than the riffs between them. It strikes me as a band that simply didn't have enough material but forced it into fairly lengthy tracks anyway.
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Jonpo
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 09, 2017 11:38 am 
 

Any thoughts on their near-flawless demo material compiled on From the Vaults though?

I was trying to hip you guys to some of the best USPM ever recorded, in case you missed out like I did. Somehow it became all about their modern shit, which is cool if you dig it! But the material on From the Vaults is some of the best stuff I've ever heard.

stand out tracks: Cobra, Phaethon, Demon Hell Rouges, Attila the Hun, Retaliation...basically every song except Barbarians on the Frontier which just isn't as good as the rest.
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Dungeon_Vic
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 09, 2017 12:22 pm 
 

I am not sure if I have posted this before but fucking hell, I've been watching it again and this is so AWESOME! Crimson Glory, live in Athens, 2011 with Todd LaTorre killing it. The crowd is the RIGHT crowd (CG was big in Greece with the first two, esp. Transcedence and in our peculiar ways mentioned in another thread, we never forgot them as you can see and hear clearly).

God, this needs a DVD release SO BAD:

Youtube: show
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Empyreal
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 10, 2017 3:40 pm 
 

Lizzy Borden's Master of Disguise should be an amazing work - it's well written, larger than life and bombastic. But the riffs just aren't grabbing me like on their earlier albums. They're good riffs, but on the first three albums, they wrote GREAT ones, that defined the songs. This album is about the vocals and chorus layering, which are really vibrant and fun - but if it had the riff quality of Visual Lies or the debut, it could be their best album easy.

edit: The last few songs were actually more upbeat and fun than some of the rest of it. I think this album has a lot of good stuff on it but just fails to come together like Operation Mindcrime, which it seemed to want to be.
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Jophelerx
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 10, 2017 5:11 pm 
 

So by the phrasing I take it you're saying you think O:M does come together well? I think I recall you praising that album before, but the way I read it at first was "fails to come together like Operation Mindcrime", as in "both fail to come together." And though I haven't heard that Lizzy Borden album, that's something I'd certainly agree with. Mindcrime falls apart after the first three or four songs, the pacing is utterly atrocious, making Nightfall in Middle Earth seem brisk and succinct by comparison. As opposed to Virgin Steele, where, in the case of something like Atreus 1, it's a 70-ish minute album but it feels more like 45 because the flow is so good; whereas, Mindcrime is slightly shorter (still an hour), but feels more like two hours because all the energetic songs are at the beginning so by the middle of the album everything is going at a glacial pace. I know you do actually like that album now that I'm remembering what you've said about it before, but just because of how I read that statement I felt the need to elaborate here. Pacing tends to be a frequent issue with concept/especially long albums in general, and Mindcrime is the most glaring example of that I can think of.

(It's also still my favorite Queensryche full-length, which tells you what I think of the band as a whole.)
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Empyreal
The Final Frontier

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PostPosted: Fri Nov 10, 2017 5:19 pm 
 

Yeah I meant that Mindcrime is a much better example of how to do this style. Flawless album to me and one of the best of the 80s.

I dunno about comparisons to Atreus I, which I also find brilliant, and Nightfall, which I always thought was mediocre with a few great tunes - Mindcrime is much more song-focused and doesn't have nearly so many interludes.

Lizzy Borden didn't really use any interlude tracks, and it seemed like they'd tried for a Mindcrime type of thing but then gave up and made a more straightforward album by the end of the writing process. Kind of an odd thing really.
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Jophelerx
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 10, 2017 5:34 pm 
 

I think saying that's it about number of interludes is oversimplifying the issue a bit, since Atreus has brilliant interludes, and there are obviously examples of poorly paced albums without interludes (one in my opinion would be Mindcrime, but I doubt you'd disagree there are others). The skill with which interludes, as well as any other aspect of the album, are employed is really where my enjoyment lies. The case in point being that Atreus I is paced beautifully, but Atreus II is bloated as hell at the end. Although, I don't know, actually. Considering you like many very long albums, is it really possible for you to hear an album that you dislike, where the main reason is for being too bloated or having poor pacing? I'm just curious. Can't think of any cases where you've mentioned that before. If so, I'd challenge you to name a heavy/power/speed album that's more slow and plodding than Mindcrime. Of course, if an album like that does exist, I'm sure I wouldn't ever want to hear it, but short of most Dream Theater albums (Octavarium, at least, which I remember specifically because it was the first Dream Theater album I listened to), I can't think of too many offenders as bad, in my listening experience, as Mindcrime in that regard. (Octavarium is probably the most boring metal album I've ever heard in my entire life, with the possible exception of Opeth's Watershed.)
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Opus
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 10, 2017 6:09 pm 
 

Cage's Hell Destroyer is the textbook example of a bloated album. Good songs, but it's like it's the same good song again and again and again...
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Jophelerx
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 10, 2017 6:13 pm 
 

Oh yeah, I do remember Cage crossing my mind. Albums longer than an hour really do need to have some variety to keep things interesting. I think some of the Rage albums gave me that impression, as well. I guess it helps for your band name to end in -age if you're going to make really bloated, samey albums. :P
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Empyreal
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 10, 2017 6:19 pm 
 

Jophelerx wrote:
I think saying that's it about number of interludes is oversimplifying the issue a bit, since Atreus has brilliant interludes, and there are obviously examples of poorly paced albums without interludes (one in my opinion would be Mindcrime, but I doubt you'd disagree there are others). The skill with which interludes, as well as any other aspect of the album, are employed is really where my enjoyment lies. The case in point being that Atreus I is paced beautifully, but Atreus II is bloated as hell at the end. Although, I don't know, actually. Considering you like many very long albums, is it really possible for you to hear an album that you dislike, where the main reason is for being too bloated or having poor pacing? I'm just curious. Can't think of any cases where you've mentioned that before. If so, I'd challenge you to name a heavy/power/speed album that's more slow and plodding than Mindcrime. Of course, if an album like that does exist, I'm sure I wouldn't ever want to hear it, but short of most Dream Theater albums (Octavarium, at least, which I remember specifically because it was the first Dream Theater album I listened to), I can't think of too many offenders as bad, in my listening experience, as Mindcrime in that regard. (Octavarium is probably the most boring metal album I've ever heard in my entire life, with the possible exception of Opeth's Watershed.)


I don't think I'd ever use slow or plodding to describe Mindcrime, so it seems like we're talking about different things. I like Octavarium too, though I rarely play DT these days so either way I guess.

Atreus and Nightfall are structured in much less of a usual way - I think it is the number of interludes, as I didn't say anything about quality before. There are so many of them on Atreus that it becomes a completely different experience from most 80s metal albums, which were usually more compact. Neither way is inherently better or worse.
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Jonpo
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 13, 2017 12:43 pm 
 

Martyr are just ridiculously special. I was already obsessed with their debut, For the Universe, but now I've got Darkness at Time's Edge and it's also very very good. A bit longer, a bit more robust atmospherically. But all the building blocks of their sound are there. It's like they take the Maiden debut and reconfigure it to be brighter and more emotional. The sound isn't that far from some of what was happening on A Sultan's Ransom either, I believe. But Martyr has sounded this way from the very first demo they ever cut.

Really cool band.
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failsafeman
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 13, 2017 9:50 pm 
 

I think "Into the Abyss" is my favorite song of theirs. Such weird melodies and harmonies, but it all coalesces into a really great song with a great spacey atmosphere. Martyr's sound is more developed, more complex, and more on Darkness at Time's Edge, and for me that puts it just a bit above the debut.
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Jonpo
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 14, 2017 11:09 am 
 

I need to get MUCH more familiar, but I remember Into the Abyss being an album highlight on both spins so far. Their marriage of complexity, atmosphere, and an ultimately triumphant sound is so damn cool to me.
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Dragunov
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 15, 2017 12:00 pm 
 

The version of "Curse The Night" on Savage Grace's 1982 demo has been a bit of an obsession of mine lately. I can't get over that main riff and it's foggy, delayed tone, and the more Halford-esque vocals. It just gives the song a much more devious feel to it than the version that's on the following EP. What are some other good examples of songs y'all enjoyed more in their earlier forms?
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Element_man
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 15, 2017 1:34 pm 
 

Empyreal wrote:
Yeah I meant that Mindcrime is a much better example of how to do this style. Flawless album to me and one of the best of the 80s.

I'm the same. Mindcrime is a top five album for me. I can listen to it in full over and over and not get tired. Love the Livecrime version too. It is kinda funny how they basically back-loaded three massive arena-rock songs at the end ("Breaking the Silence", "I Don't Believe in Love" and "Eyes of a Stranger") so I could see people being dragged down by that if they're not into that kinda stuff. I think it's great, but I don't really listen to it as a strictly metal album.

All this being said, I think Rage For Order is just as good of an album. Queensryche up to and including Empire is one of the best bands for my tastes.
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Empyreal
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 15, 2017 2:56 pm 
 

It's metal, just on the more accessible side of it. Those songs are still metal songs even if they're influenced by 80s rock.

I never got into Rage for Order, which is odd because I like everything else they did up to and including Empire. Rage... always seemed a bit half baked and the songs didn't grab me. Maybe I'll try it again soon.
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 15, 2017 3:08 pm 
 

Queensryche up to and including The Warning were one of the greatest bands ever. After that? A few good singles, but who cares? :P
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Opus
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 15, 2017 7:35 pm 
 

Empyreal wrote:
Rage... always seemed a bit half baked and the songs didn't grab me. Maybe I'll try it again soon.

The songs are great, it's just that the arrangements are different. Or odd if you like.
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Jonpo
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 16, 2017 12:11 pm 
 

Hypertrace fucking rules. Ripping power/speed with a few epic flourishes for character.
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Element_man
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 16, 2017 1:40 pm 
 

Opus wrote:
Empyreal wrote:
Rage... always seemed a bit half baked and the songs didn't grab me. Maybe I'll try it again soon.

The songs are great, it's just that the arrangements are different. Or odd if you like.

They really are great. They're creepy as shit and full of whacked out technophobic vibes. To me it's where Chris DeGarmo came into his own as the real creative force behind the band. He's a brilliant arranger and elevated Queensryche from being a cool early power metal band to where they ended up in Mindcrime and Empire. Big influence on me.
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kytokinesis
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 16, 2017 7:39 pm 
 

I love Mindcrime but I can understand the issues people have with the pacing. It's a full-blown rock opera and is structured specifically to deliver exposition and move its detailed plot forward. I think it becomes a little too involved with it by the middle of the record and becomes exhausting to listen to on repeated listens. The Warning is more successful at being a metal concept album IMO. The story is delivered in a more general manner and the lyrical concepts provide context to the musical themes rather than the music simply trying to sound appropriate for whatever is happening in the plot. That's why I prefer The Warning these days, as I think it has aged better as a conceptual metal composition, like the above mentioned Hypertrace.

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Empyreal
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 17, 2017 12:19 am 
 

I dunno, not exhausting at all to me and it feels perfectly paced, going by super quick once the centerpiece "Suite Sister Mary" is done. It doesn't wear out its welcome.
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Zelkiiro
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 17, 2017 8:26 am 
 

Mindcrime is a perfect album, guys. Let's not argue about irrefutable facts, now.
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 17, 2017 10:57 am 
 

Op:Mc is EXTREMELY well-written. The only real drawback IMHO is the actual story itself.
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 17, 2017 11:20 am 
 

Empyreal wrote:
I dunno, not exhausting at all to me and it feels perfectly paced, going by super quick once the centerpiece "Suite Sister Mary" is done. It doesn't wear out its welcome.

The half after "Suite Sister Mary" is the absolute slowest part of the album for me. Ballad after ballad after ballad. Makes the second disc of Atreus II feel brisk, in my opinion.

Temple Of Blood wrote:
Op:Mc is EXTREMELY well-written. The only real drawback IMHO is the actual story itself.

Yeah, the story is garbage, that might actually be the worst aspect of the album, although it's not a complete deal breaker on its own. Just the most generic and sloppily constructed narrative I've encountered on a concept album, clearly no real effort put into it.

The weird thing with Mindcrime, though, is that on their own, I like almost all of the songs ("The Needle Lies" and "I Don't Believe in Love" feel a bit bland to me, but still not "bad" per se), but in the order they appear on the album, it feels like it lasts about 3 hours. Like, why the hell did they put *all* of the energetic metal songs in the first half of the album? The second half has "Eyes of a Stranger," but that's nearly 7 minutes long, whereas the first half has *four* metal tracks under five minutes. It always feels to me as though the album blows its load with "The Mission," and then has to give us all the long/slower/more ballad-like songs in a row. I'd like it at least 20% more if the shorter, punchier tracks were interspersed throughout the album. I still don't hate it - I'd probably give it around a 65 or so - but it's just so frustrating. Like, I could not come up with a worse track listing if I tried, short of putting "I Don't Believe in Love" at the beginning.
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