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  • "After CYNTHESIS and its amazing second recording, the pertinently titled album, “ReEvolution”, the ultra talented Californian geminis Brothers, Troy & Jasun Tipton (ex ZERO HOUR), are back with another chapter in their instrumental project discography…ABNORMAL THOUGHT PATTERNS and once again the expansion of their genuine style and the maturated development is terrific, the release date is set for late June…The band broad universe is so extended that the term "limitless" seems underrated and non-representative of their extraordinary and unstoppable musical dominion!The young Guitar God Jasun Tipton, owner of a great fat tone, perform in his finest way as you would have expected, fluid, majestic and without effort (“Blindsight”), quite easy to understand why this man is worshiped by Guitar enthusiasts everywhere, but more than ever, it seems that his brother the Bass maestro Troy Tipton takes a even bigger role, while playing his typical two hand tapping licks, also some more ambitious melodic lines and sharing some hallucinating unison amazing arpeggios between Bass & Guitar (“Distortions Of Perception”)!This instrumental trio is apparently becoming a quartet with the recruit guitarist Richard Shardman, still featuring the former ex ZERO HOUR's drums expert Mike Guy (ex DEATH MACHINE), is providing everything, from stripped down ambiance to a flurry Shredding parts (“Delusions”), in a complementary unreal association, a syncronization similar to something that is identical to the special and unique twin brothers spirit/relationship (“Subliminal Perception”).The Bass guitar realm of low frequencies is honored with the superb track “Synesthesia” (An awareness of synesthetic perceptions that varies from person to another with confusion of colors/numbers and shapes, born from a neurological phenomenon that leads involuntary experiences in a second sensory or cognitive pathway to a disinhibited feedback triggered by specific sounds) where Troy is duelling with two other Bass monsters, namely the legendary Fretless player Michael Manring and the criminally undervalued John Onder (remember the great Shrapnel’s releases like “Infra Blue” by Joey Tafffola (???)/”Extreme Measures” by Vitalij Kuprij or 2000’s “Machine” by ARTENSION and even MSG’s “Adventures Of The Imagination”) another patented mix of elusive etheral soft moments that develops before entering again in a frenzy of note under a Neo-Classical style, built in total opposition with the hypnotic middle break in a new age approach!To prove their absolute artistic freedom ABNORMAL THOUGHT PATTERNS dare to break the all instrumental rules by adding some harsh lead vocals performed by the BETWEEN THE BURIED AND ME singer Mike Rodgers, in the detuned “Nocturnal Haven”…But at the slot N°6 they offer us another superb rendition of the same theme, but this time in a fully instrumental version with some additional solo spots by Canadian citizen Tim Roth from INTO ETERNITY, however both tracks contains some lava sweeping avalanche by seven strings rising star Jeff Loomis (ARCH ENEMY/ex SANCTURAY/ex NEVERMORE)!While their latest CD “Manipulation Under Anesthesia” was more extreme and ferocious than hell, pushing the intricacy at the maximum with some almost bio-mechanism rhythmic method and improving in the ultra-hi-tech reaches onto stellar and virgin territories: “Altered States Of Consciousness” is a concept album centered around neurobiologic sensations, in coherence it's a more enriched atmospheric disc, more spacey, groovy, layered with organic textures and full of emotional sequence, with still plenty of sudden bursting of agressive triplets-staccatto-trick, but clearly more accessible and not restricted to please a bunch of Guitar-Fretboard geeks, obviously the talent and the technical ability of the virtuoso musicians involved here, is still head and shoulders up above the level of the average new generation of Prog Metallers…The abnormal musical thoughts are welcome!" - Metal Temple
  • "Abnormal Thoughts Patterns is a new technical metal trio that comes onto the scene equipped with twenty-plus years of experience. Featuring Mike Guy on drums and twins Jasun and Troy Tipton on guitar and bass respectively, ATP is perhaps better known as the musical backbone of underrated prog metal purveyors Zero Hour. Apt comparisons between the Californian three-piece and acts such as Death and Animals as Leaders have been made, but when Abnormal Thought Patterns are at their most frenetic, they also share Blotted Science's aptitude for conjuring up aural insect swarms. Some of this stuff is guaranteed to make listeners' heads spin.Manipulation Through Anesthesia is ATP's debut full-length release, and it gets off to an excellent start, extending on the saga of the very first tracks they wrote, "Velocity and Acceleration" parts 1-4. These songs, numbered from 5 to 8, flow together as one connected work, clearly taking place in the same universe and containing shared motifs. It's 13 minutes of some of the finest instrumental metal out there. The album then takes a left turn in the form of "Calculating Patterns", a pleasant, jazzy cooldown. It is the first of several mellow tunes that demonstrate Abnormal Thought Patterns' diversity."Harmonic Oscillators", the album's most challenging cut in more ways than one, is also worth a mention. Here, the guys in Abnormal Thought Patterns lose themselves in mathemathics for the first and only time on the album. It's the type of song to make aspiring musicians seethe with envy and set their instrument of choice on fire, being a technical tour de force full of mindboggling time signatures and incredibly dexterous playing. It's also, again with the maths, the only 7+-minute song on an album where the average one clocks in at 4 minutes, and without changing the formular around much. For many, this all-out assault will no doubt be considered the highlight of the album. For others, it'll be a bit too much of a good thing.Speaking of the formular, ATP seems to have carved out a more than solid niche for itself already. Though the notes-per-minute count is oftentimes off the charts on Manipulation Under Anesthesia, the majority of its content manages to stay quite musical. The main event of their faster songs tend to be a heavy, hypnotic, repeated guitar riff, assisted by the always-very-audible bass humming surprisingly melodic tunes while the drums keep everything in place, usually prioritizing cymbal and snare patterns over flashy tom fills. On that note, the album is in no way lacking in heaviness or rhythmic depth despite foregoing the use of double kick drums. Quite an unusual feat in the shred-based instrumental metal environment.For anyone familiar with Zero Hour, it should come as no surprise that ATP succeeds in shredding with style. But there's a lot more to them than that. Abnormal Thought Patterns keep an excellent balance between all three instruments (which are occasionally joined by some light synth accompaniment), making sure there's always something worthwhile happening on several fronts, and they're able to impress even when venturing out of their comfort zone. Manipulation Through Anesthesia does lose a bit of steam towards the end, but is nonetheless an impressive album and a very promising debut." - Metal Revolution
  • Full length debut from this excellent UK based djent metal band. Led by the clean/scream vocals of Dan Tompkins, Tesseract effortlessly balances melody with technicality. Similar in nature to Periphery but with MUCH better vocals. This special edition comes with a bonus DVD that features them performing Concealing Fate live in the studio as well as band interviews, road footage, and more. Highly recommended.
  • Its been seven years since the first release from The Fractured Dimension.  The core of the band is led by two ex-members of the avant metal band Scholomance: Jimmy Pitts (keyboards) and Jerry Twyford (bass).Given the extensive lineup of guest musicians Pitts and Twyford have corraled one would expect a supreme tech metal blow out.  In parts you get that but there are very strong symphonic rock, classical and fusion elements woven into the music.    Essentially they let the musicians be themselves and it makes it more challenging and interesting to hear them work their styles in to the compositions.OK so here is who is on th album:Jimmy Pitts (keys), Jerry Twyford (bass), Hannes Grossmann (drums), Vishal J Singh, Tom "Fountainhead" Geldschlager, and Tom Kopyto on guitars, Joe Deninzon (violin), Kasturi Nath Singh (Indian Classical Fusion Vocals), and guest guitar solos by Christian Muenzner, Marcel Coenen, Alex Machacek, Mike Abdow, Pete Pachio, Aaron Roten, Bill Bruce, and Jeremy Barnes.So you have guys from Obscura and lots of insane guitar soloists letting it all hang out with overlays of keyboards, violin all thrown at you with lots of intensity.  The whole thing will keep you off balance and I promise you won't be bored.  Highly recommended."“How can less be more? That’s impossible. More is more”, is a famous quote by Yngwie Malmsteen, and US/Germany-based super-group The Fractured Dimension have turned that statement into their modus operandi through their new album ‘Galaxy Mechanics’. By just looking at the star-studded 16-man line-up, not many would expect anything less than all-out super-technical music: a sound the band itself has labelled ‘Cosmic Instrumental Metal’.Despite the large number of members, from over 7 countries, Keyboardist Jimmy Pitts and bassist Jerry Twyford are the ones spearheading The Fractured Dimension, while the others have special and guest appearances on the record. Where you’d see drummer Hannes Grossmann (ex-Necrophagist, ex-Obscura, Blotted Science, Alkaloid), you’d see his Alkaloid band-mate and guitarist Christian Muenzner, and where you’d see Christian, you’d see current Obscura guitarist Tom Fountainhead Geldschlager, and the list goes on. It includes guitarists Tom Kopyto, Mike Abdow, Jeremy Barnes, Bill Bruce, Marcel Coenen, Alex Machacek, Pete Pachio and Aaron Roten. Indian guitarist Vishal J Singh is also among the ranks, as is Indian classical fusion vocalist Kasturi Singh and violinist Joe Deninzon.The album is extremely complex, and features an incredible range of musical styles not just through different instruments and tones, but through stylistic variations within an instrument itself. For example, the guitarists exercise their own style of playing, and since different guitarists worked on different tracks on the album, each song is given a unique vibe. The songs are progressive and only subtly repetitive, while each one is quite different from the other not only in terms of the guitars, like mentioned, but also in the way they’re structured and layered instrumentally.Dealing with each track individually is impossible because of their highly complex nature, but some of the high points from the album include songs like “Displacement” and “Elysian” which, like the other tracks, make use of interesting keyboard patches and time changes. The bass and keyboards are prominent everywhere and along with some brilliant drumming, form the backbone of the sound around which the guitars weave their magic.However, the main issue that needs to be addressed is this: does all of this complexity and variation give rise to music that is, put simply, enjoyable? Not everyone may appreciate the highly intricate music, but it makes no sense to say that The Fractured Dimension tried to impress everybody anyway. What can be seen, or rather, what flares up and makes itself obvious in the music, is the honesty behind it. The songs do not feel like they are forced, and the creative freedom of the musicians is in full display here. If one can see this honesty for himself/herself, that person will end up enjoying Galaxy Mechanics. There aren’t many other albums for which the same thing can be said, so the album is a definite hit and not a miss, and while dealing with super-technical and intricate music it is very easy to go wrong.A quarrel one could pick with Jimmy Pitts and Co. involves intriguing song titles, like “Bolshevikian Mythological Creature” and “Seventh Hymn to Nibiru” for example, and no vocals and lyrics to explain them. This doesn’t mean the music would be better off with vocals, but it means that there is no vocal expression of these concepts in a manner everybody can understand. Other than this, Galaxy Mechanics is a sublime effort from The Fractured Dimension, and one can only wonder what this exceptional pool of talent will conjure up next." - Metalwani
  • Limited edition mediabook features a bonus DVD with the album in 5.1 and 24/96 2 channel hi-res."The kings of djent are back with a brand new album all the way from sunny England. However, is Tesseract's Polaris a worthy successor to Altered State? I remember watching Kubrick's 2001 for the first time quite a few years back, and it had me floored. The colours, the story, the everything about that movie made the hairs stand up on the back of my neck. And there has been very few bands which have given me the same reaction on singlular songs, let along entire albums. However, there are a couple which populate this list - Dream Theater's Octavarium is one that I can put on repeat and get the same feeling time and time again.Of course the downside of this is that most other movies, films, albums, and what have you, seem to pale in comparison. It's the downside of experiencing something truely phenomenal - an often once in a decade event which you'll be comparing everything to for years after. For me, TesseracT's 2013 album Altered State was nearly but not quite there. And post the British prog-rock outfit's last offering, many had been wondering - including myself - what the new album would bring.In the interest of full disclosure, I was a huge fan of Altered State. Just the use of saxophone is a super deep and melodic metal album was enough to blow me away - and of course with tracks like "Nocturne" and the entirety of the "Of Matter" movement it just sealed the deal. However, I always found myself skipping around the album or skipping to certain parts of certain songs - and they never gave me that "hair-standing-up" effect. However, I was still curious to see what the band would come up with next.But, with the departure of vocalist Ashe O'Hara I was concerned they'd head back to their screamy previous style - a style which in all honesty left me a little cold. As it was announced previous vocalist Daniel Tompkins was to rejoin the band, my heart sank - i knew the band would return to a bellowing metal state which had not impressed - and it would probably leave my favourite Tesseract album as a one off. And boy was I wrong.I'll say it now. TesseracT's Polaris is, hands down, the best album so far of 2015. The previous holder was of course the other badass British band, MUSE. But I have to say that unlike the trio from Devon, the quintet from Milton Keynes had my attention for the entire album.Beginning with "Dystopia" - a super funky hard back to One (without the sandpaper vocals) I knew I was in for a treat. The vocals are super strong, awesomely written and produced, and right on point. The guitar work is, as to be expected, phenomenal along with the drumming and bass playing. Other tracks which were phenomenal were pretty much all of them - though "Messenger" and its attached "Cages" were the ones which sent shivers up my spine - just for the connection in the middle.The only true issue I had with the album was a lack of connecting tracks, which was merely a minor quip. Sure I'd have loved to have seen more of it, but overall I was so taken with the album from the beginning I barely noticed until the end.In fact what I loved so much about the album was the amount of ups and downs, peaks and valleys if you will, throughout all of the songs across the entire album. I could hear influence from everywhere - Story of the Year, Periphery, Muse, and a stack of others I couldn't put my finger on. I realised after the sixth track "Phoenix" just why - it sounded like TesseracT. Sure all the influences were there and poking their head up at times, but overall it just sounded like one of the freshest bands around at the moment. And I don't say this lightly - there are very few bands who truely have their own sound in today's day and age.Polaris is, in my opinion, a Kubrick-level moment for this band. This is their 2001, their Octavarium, 1984, or piano-key neck-tie. In short, if you are a fan of djent music, buy this album. If you like metal, do the same. If you like music, do it. You know what, just get it. If you want to be sat in awe with one of the most amazing albums you'll hear this year. Just prepare yourself, there may not be anything this good again.Not for some time." - The Aureview
  • Second album from this California based prog metal band with ties to Redemption. The Tragedy Of Innocence is a far more mature and developed release than their debut. It's a conceptual work dealing with a very heavy subject - Valerie Quirarte (wife of drummer Chris) and her experience with child abuse. The music is a reflection of the story - its darker and more intense. All in all Prymary are a progmetal band. You can expect some serious complex arrangements and stand out playing. Kudos to the band for tackling a difficult subject and also jumping up to the next level musically. Recommended.
  • Counter-World Experience are a great instrumental tech/prog/jazz metal trio from Germany.  Imagine Morglbl minus any humor.  This is serious, heavy intricate stuff that you can bang your head to.  For the band's fifth album they've brought some accomplished guests on board: Steve Di Giorgio (ex-Death) on bass, Hannes Grossmann (ex-Obscura) on drums, Fountainhead (ex-Obscura) on guitar, and Christian Meyers on trumpet.  Highly recommended."After the success of their last release, “Music for Kings”, which more than ever presented Counter-World Experience as one of the most technically accomplished bands dedicated to Progressive Metal, comes what may be termed the logical next step. On their fifth studio album “Pulsar”, the band demonstrates better than ever their talent at combining powerful Staccato-Riffs and extravagant solo musings with electronic sound textures and listener-friendly melodies.2016 sees Counter-World Experience creating more material utilizing the band members’ shared interest in science fiction. Pulsar consists of 11 futuristic sounding compositions, which were named after stars. The modern metal sound of the band was mixed with electronic elements such as sequencers.The guarantor for the band won´t lose its ties to the jazz world is bassist Sebastian Hoffmann, who surely has a playing rank as one of the finest musicians in the German Jazz scene. His improvisatory solos, combined with his fluid bass lines, act much as a counterweight to the bands harder metal parts.Counter-World Experience is proud of featuring some highly acclaimed guest musicians on “Pulsar”. Beside fretless bass legend Steve Di Giorgio (Testament, Sadus, Ex-Death) on the song "Alpha Serpentis" there is an appearance of drum magician Hannes Grossmann (Blotted Science, Ex-Obscura, Ex-Necrophagist) on "Cygnus". Trumpet player Chrisitian Meyers and fretless guitar virtuoso Fountainhead (Ex-Obscura) add even more colors to the record.As per the band´s previous studio album, “Music for Kings”, the production values on the new CD cannot be underestimated or underappreciated: recorded at Light Mountain Berlin and mastered at the renowned Studio Pauler Acoustics, the production gives the songs the necessary balance between power, transparency and depth. In addition, “Puslar” benefits from clever graphic design and thorough booklet notes."
  • Second album from the Maryland based djent metal band is an explosion of melody and technicality with some cool ambient atmosphere tossed in. John Petrucci, Guthrie Govan, and Wes Hauch pop up with guest solo spots. High powered stuff showing off why these guys have quickly risen to the top of the djent metal heap.
  • "This time around shows Prymary transcending their past achievements and creating a collage of stories that are independent and yet united in the themes of self-destruction and dreams unfulfilled. Musically the band shows a further refinement of songwriting and musicianship with songs that are more concise in musical statement, while still having the grand arrangements that Prymary is known for. As is becoming a Prymary trademark, the band has once again given special attention to combining music and lyrics together to convey the mood or feel of the song."
  • Redemption is one of the leading progressive metal bands in the world today.  Formed in Los Angeles, California in 2000 by guitarist / keyboardist / songwriter Nicolas van Dyk, the band features legendary progressive metal vocalist Ray Alder of Fates Warning, as well as guitarist Bernie Versailles (Agent Steel), and the phenomenal rhythm section of Chris Quirarte (drums) and Sean Andrews (bass).Redemption’s combination of heaviness not usually found in progressive metal, irresistible melodies and emotional urgency has created a unique and resonant voice for this band that sets them apart from the many clones in the genre, and which has gained them the attention of fans, critics and musicians.Through the band’s first three studios CDs (2002s self-titled first release, 2005’s The Fullness of Time, and 2007’s The Origins of Ruin), Redemption gained a loyal fanbase and garnered rave reviews worldwide from critics, who describe Redemption’s music as“one of the best progressive metal acts to emerge in the past decade” – DPRP“magical aura and incredible songwriting” – BLABBERMOUTH“it's powerful, catchy, enslaving, technical; it's the whole bunch” – LORDS OF METAL“the new star on the US prog-metal sky” – SQUEALER ROCKSAfter touring in support of Dream Theater and documenting at headlining show at tour’s end entitled Frozen in the Moment, the band returned to the studio to release 2009’s Snowfall on Judgment Day and 2011’s This Mortal Coil.Performing in support of that record, in 2012 Redemption co-headlined the world-famous ProgPower Festival in Atlanta, where the band recorded a unique show featuring nearly 80 minutes of material and staged with complementary visuals that drive home the compelling emotional impact of this band.   That performance is now being released as a CD/DVD set with additional bonus material through Sensory Records, the band’s original label.  From fan favorites such as the never-before-performed Parker’s Eyes to the crushing emotional weight of Stronger than Death, Redemption’s performance captured the special ability of its music to deeply connect with fans.  In the words of one concert-goer, Redemption’s show “was definitely the most exhausting, personal and emotional musical experience I’ve ever had.” 
  • “The Atomized Dream” is the fourth full length release from this Georgia based instrumental metal band. With a new expanded lineup, the Canvas Solaris “sound” continues to evolve.The band has shown tremendous growth since their beginnings in 1999, evolving out of the death metal/mathcore scene. Dropping their vocalist along the way the band decided to emphasize intricate arrangements, creating compositions that only the most adept musicians could play. Canvas Solaris’ music resonated equally with fans of technical metal co-horts Behold The Arctopus and Spastic Ink as well as bands like Don Caballero and Dillinger Escape Plan.Following the recording of their third album, Cortical Tectonics, the lineup saw a radical change. Band founders Nathan Sapp (guitars) and Hunter Ginn (drums) replaced departing guitarist/bassist Ben Simpkins with 3 new members. Joining are Chris Rushing (guitars), Donnie Smith (analog synth), and Gael Pirlot (bass). While the core sound has remained these new members have clearly made their mark. Keyboards now play a more prominent role, while the twin guitar interplay is mesmerizing. The band continues to contrast hyper-technical metal passages with spacey and quiet acoustic based interludes.A recent tour with Behold The Arctopus and Dyshrythmia brought attention to the band and they plan on continuing the momentum with additional shows in 2008.The band is always interested in presenting their work with interesting graphics. They are honored to have noted low brow artist Mars-1 provide the cover art. Once again the album was produced by Jamie King (Between The Buried and Me) and mastered by Grammy winning engineer Bob Katz.
  • "The brainchild of Blotted Science’s madman guitarist Ron Jarzombek, Watchtower are legendary name from the late 80s, credited by several – including ex-Dream Theater drummer Mike Portnoy – with inventing progressive metal. This is despite the band only making two (highly acclaimed) albums before breaking up following a hand injury to Jarzombek: 1985’s Energetic Disassembly and 1989’s Control and Resistance. Thankfully 2010 saw a reunion and a new single, and finally, after a long aching wait, we’ve new material in the form of Concepts of Math: Book 1.The release is an EP rather than a full length, and isn’t all brand new material as it collects that 2010 single, “The Size of Matter”, together with four new songs. The first three of them were released as singles in 2015, but given the lack of fanfare around their release and that they were planned for this release anyways, it seems prudent to just say they’re new songs for this release. It should definitely be noted and appreciated that Watchtower have taken their time and released only an EP rather than trying to fill up material for a full album; a legacy such as theirs is hard to follow up satisfactorily. While the title of “Book One” implies that there will be more, it was a good move of them not to write a bunch of filler songs.It is immediately clear that the energy has not left this legendary band. Like a fine wine they have aged, but matured rather than worn away: the technical prowess is still there in spades; each song wonderfully crafted, spanning the bridge between blindingly technical and rippingly thrashy. If you were ever wondering where Vektor got their sound from, Watchtower is clearly a large influence.Guitarist Ron Jarzombek is legendary. His work in Spastic Ink and Blotted Science after Watchtower is stunning, and it’s clear that keeping busy has kept him sharp even after his hand injury, as his playing is fantastic. His work on the instrumental “M Theory Overture” is especially fine, and his spastic leads littered all over the release are nothing short of magnificent. Not to be outdone, drummer Rick Colaluca and bassist Doug Keyser match Jarzombek line for line with excellence of their own. They’re less lead oriented, obviously, but no less impressive, with some wonderful syncopations in many passages.“Technology Inaction” is surely the best song on the release, mixing a really catchy chorus. flitting guitar and bass flurries, and interesting lyrics about technology causing a laziness or inactivity in today’s society. An instrumental section follows which sounds distinctly - Blotted Science-like and is undoubtedly Jarzombek; it’s just fantastic.The older song on the EP, “The Size of Matter”, pulls its weight as well, with a really cool chorus and some solid quantum guitar lines. Then there’s the album’s closer, the epic “Mathematica Calculis” which twists and winds and sprawls a way through nearly ten minutes.And through it all, there is a sense of freshness here. Watchtower clearly didn’t get back together to relive the glory days and release a new album with material from the 80s; they have taken a page from Cynic’s book and unleashed a powerful, modern evolution of their sound as if they had been releasing music and developing their sound the whole time. It’s aided my a mix obviously far superior to their 80s work; everything sounds so meaty and every note comes through with absolute precision.Matching his bandmates vocalist Alex Tecchio sounds great as well; in fact, probably better than he did back on Control and Resistance. He powers through “The Size of Matter” like a neutrino through matter, and delivers some memorable lines in “Technology Inaction”.Concepts of Math: Book One is a sublime return for Watchtower. To come back out of essentially nowhere and deliver this kind of material is truly ballsy, especially under the consideration that progressive thrash metal isn’t really a big scene right now – but not only have Watchtower come back, but they have done it without just rehashing their classic material. Their songwriting has not diminished, and this release is essential for any metalhead. Here’s hoping more will follow soon." - The Monolith
  • "Periphery have been an omnipresent force in the prog metalcore realm since their first album released in 2010 – band founder Misha Mansoor has served as producer on several of the genre’s albums, and the other members are all famous in their own right, whether it’s simply for their craft (Matt Halpern), their involvement in other projects (Spencer Sotelo, Mark Holcomb, Nolly Getgood), or just simply being the nephew of someone exceedingly famous (Jake Bowen). This makes whatever they decide to do extremely important, and the band’s decision to release a concept double album has created hype of hugelargic proportions. In my humble opinion, the band has delivered on all fronts, but not without some disappointments in the “could’ve been” area.Since their inception, Periphery have changed from a chugga-chug ambidjent project posting demos on the internet in the late 2000s to a full-fledged prog metal band with heavy elements of metalcore, post-hardcore, and pop music in general. If you weren’t onboard for “Periphery II”, “Juggernaut” likely won’t change your mind (unless your issues were relatively small), as it’s more of the same poppy atmosphere and less of the techy downtuned riffs, though god knows THOSE are still around. But there’s also a lot of style experimentation – jazz fusion, death metal, and various forms of electronica are all utilized on a semi-normal basis, and range from being seamlessly integrated into the music to being tacked on to the ends of songs like gluing a top-rate dildo onto an already particularly throbby penis. If this all sounds a bit schizophrenic, rest assured that the songcraft is, for the most part, tighter than it’s ever been. Singles from Alpha like “22 Faces” and “Alpha” itself show off Periphery’s pop prowess with choruses and hooks that refuse to leave your head, and complex riffs that are somehow just as ‘wormy as the vocals. And the songs on Omega are longer, more complex, and still manage to be as infectious as the most annoying of STDs – even the twelve minute sprawling title track that has more in common with the bombastic riffs of Periphery I has a shapely middle section that rivals even the hottest of…ugh, fuck it, done with the metaphors. It’s just insane. I cried when I heard it.And now onto what I don’t care for; first off, the decision to split the album into two parts was definitely well-informed from a marketing standpoint. Most people don’t go around listening to 80 minute records all day, myself included, and the supposedly delicate structure of a concept album also means that listening to Juggernaut by skipping to different songs would devalue the experience. So the band broke it into two records to make it seem more manageable to listen to in daily life. Another stated reason was so that newcomers to the band would be able to buy Alpha at a discounted price, decide if they liked it, and then purchase Omega if they were so inclined (music previewing doesn’t work like that anymore, but hey you can’t fault the band for trying to turn that into tangible record sales). The problem I have is that Omega isn’t really paced to be its own album, which makes releasing it on its own instead as simply as the second disc in a package a little pointless. It’s not like the excellent “The Afterman” double albums from Coheed and Cambria, which were each albums that worked in their own right. I realize that this is really just semantics, but I think calling Juggernaut both the third and fourth album from Periphery, while technically correct, is just disingenuous, and judging them fairly on their own as separate albums is impossible (which is why all reviews being published are including them together).Periphery has always had a unique way of pacing their albums, regularly including playful, sometimes relatively lengthy interludes between tracks. Juggernaut is no different, and these interludes are now occasionally used to seed songs that will appear later on the album, or provide callbacks to tracks already present. The transitions aren’t always elegant however, and can range from grin-inducing to head-scratching to just plain grating. Thankfully, the band isn’t going for the illusion that each song flows seamlessly into the next, at least no more than they were going for it on any of their previous albums, and it’s easy to get used to everything given multiple listens.Overall, Juggernaut is a dense album that’s going to take a myriad of listens to fully sink in, just like most of the band’s prior releases (I don’t think anyone is gonna argue that “Clear” has any depth that you would find after about the fifth listen or so, but hey hey that’s ok kay). But it’s also accessible on the surface with deceptively simple rhythms and poppy choruses, which draw you in to appreciate the deeper cuts. I’d recommend it to anyone who likes unique and thoughtful music in the post-hardcore, metalcore, and progressive metal genres, but I’d also recommend it to anyone ever, because this is my absolute favorite band and I think they’ve created a masterpiece. So take from that what you will, and then get the fuck out of here. The play button is calling my name." -
  • "Scale the Summit is an epic progressive metal act hailing from the great state of Texas. The quartet has been raising eyebrows on the scene since 2007 with their self-released debut,  Monument. They gained considerable attention from participating in the Progressive Nation tour in 2009 with Zappa meets Zappa, Dream Theater, and Bigelf. The latest installment on the band’s sonic journey, mark’s their fifth studio effort; appropriately titled, V.Unlike other progressive rock acts that have influenced Scale the Summit, such as Cynic and Dream Theater, this group does not use, and have stated that they will never  use, guest or lead vocalists. Instead, the group prefers to convey their messages through the mastery of their respective instruments. The current lineup consists of dual guitarists Chris Letchford and Travis Levrier who play 7 and 8-string guitars to full effect. Mark Michell on 6-string bass, and J.C. Bryant on the drums.  Letchford is the mastermind behind the band, and as expected by listening to this album, he has considerable knowledge of music theory, which adds to the group’s almost mind-bending instrumental pieces.  The album was produced by Jamie King, who has extensive credits including; Between the Buried and Me, Native Construct, and Trioscapes.Getting down to the meat and potatoes of the record, V starts off quietly and atmospherically with a track called “The Winged Bull”, which builds into an epic, mid-tempo, guitar-driven jam. More than likely, and throughout this album, there is music theory going on here that is beyond the scope of this reviewer’s knowledge. However, the sonic results are evident, with the interplay between the bass and crunchy rhythm and lead guitars, setting a beautiful, sonic landscape for the wizardry ahead.Another of V’s highlights includes what starts off as a bombastic shredder of a piece called “Trapped in Ice”. The first four minutes of this song are nothing more than breakneck riffing and soloing, but the track abruptly puts the brakes on and morphs into a minimalistic and atmospheric coda. Letchford and company also manage to somehow keep the instrument wizardry modest. You can tell these guys are not trying to show off, just getting the message across the best way they know how.Second to last is a favorite track called “Oort Cloud”. Starting off with complex bass guitar driven finger-tapping that almost sounds like a Chapman Stick, this song is a perfect example of woven interplay between instruments that blend together perfectly – these guys make it sound easy.  Even with no lyrics, and like almost all the songs on this album, this is one of those pieces that beautifully conveys a clear emotional message. The musicians are so skilled that they do not need voices to convey their message.  Simply put, this song, and the others on the album make the listener feel. There is emotional resonance, and it is great to find that in metal today.Scale the Summit have created another breathtaking example of auditory wizardry with V. Just like the albums before it, the band has proven once again that modesty can have just as much of an impact in technical, progressive music as three hours of unadulterated guitar wankery. There is not a single track on this album below the four-minute mark, and each track on the record simultaneously rips your face off, and refreshingly forces you to use your brain. V is definitely thinking man’s metal, and if you enjoy acts such as Animals as Leaders and other progressive acts in that vain, this is definitely a must have; along with the band’s entire catalog. As their name suggests, Scale the Summit continue to climb the ranks of the progressive music elite, and V continues to elevate the respect they have earned. Prepare for intelligent metal folks, because Scale the Summit have returned." - Metalholic