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Lollipop Metal/Hardcore Streams

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Metal/Hardcore Streams


The Theory Of Everything (InsideOut Music)
release date: 10/29/2013

If you're a new band nowadays, unless you're steadfastly determined to stick to one type of music, chances are your music is a whole melting pot of genres. I mean, pick any top ten hit and it's probably not just country or R&B or hip hop or dance, but a mix of two or more of those. Ayreon is essentially a one-man band from the Netherlands, and their Wiki describes their sound as "rock opera, prog metal, prog rock, space rock, symphonic metal, folk metal, and power metal." Uh, is that it? When you have to list so many genres in a description because this one time, during this one song, he hit a note a certain way, then it's really time we found some new terminology. None of this rant, of course, is the fault of Ayreon, who simply make the kind of epic, melting pot music they wanna make. And it sounds great on "The Theory of Everything" which, as the aforementioned genre laundry list might have you believe, is stuffed with everything from Dream Theater to Korpiklaani to Within Temptation. Stuffed in a good way.

Das Seelenbreche (Candlelight Records)
release date: 10/21/2013

With last year's release, there are now more Ihsahn solo records than there were Emperor records, so I think it's safe to say the former Emperor frontman is committed to this new life of relentless experimentation. As fun as it may be for him to sail uncharted musical waters, though, it can be disorienting for the listener if there's not something sturdy to hold on to, as there often wasn't on 2012's Eremita. If "Hiber" is any indication, that won't be as much of a problem on the new album, since the song strikes just the right balance between exploration and a solid foundation of familiar metal sounds.

Devin Townsend Project
The Retinal Circus (InsideOut Music)
release date: 9/30/2013

It was only a matter of time before mad scientist Devin Townsend filmed a rock opera. His solo material often soars into operatic territory, then divebombs, roaring vocal hellfire and shrieking metallic death from the skies. He and his merry band of pranksters are as comfortable with gospel choirs as blastbeats, life-affirming, glowing choruses, and deathy bellows of Satan's worst toothache. "Addicted," in either live or its original form, is simply one of my least favorite songs of recent albums, and really had me doubting the direction of the album that bears its name. Addicted (the album) has since become a part of my life, a go-to for soaring, anthemic, glorious pop metal, one of the best displays of male/female pairing in our lifetime. Not just in metal, I mean in all of music. I simply start with song three and let it ride. Any fan of Queen or Queensrÿche or Muse (bands you absorb by album, and by time period, not by hit single) should already be a die-hard fan. This two-hour DVD (or CD companion) is a must, whether this trudging tune conveys it or not.

Leaves' Eyes
Symphonies Of The Night (Napalm Records)
release date: 11/25/13

Lacuna Coil can definitely get goofy at times, but damn if their brand of female-fronted metal doesn't seem like a Renaissance painting when compared to some of the silliness that other bands like Leaves' Eyes get up to. I know, you've gotta have a little sense of humor with some of this stuff, and believe me, I can act out Manowar lyrics with the best of them. And cranking up the dramatics can produce great results. Leaves' Eyes "My Destiny" is a perfect example. But "Hell To The Heavens" is caught in that dead zone of being too silly to be good, and not silly enough to be great. 

Legion Of The Damned
Ravenous Plague (Napalm Records)
release date: 1/07/14

Head-down, serious thrash from the Netherlands. "Summon All Hate" sounds like a long lost Kreator song title, and even if the meat-and-potatoes thrash of the song itself isn't distinctive enough to draw sonic comparisons to the German masters, it's reliably solid nonetheless. These guys can definitely get you revved up in an opening act kind of way, and I would definitely buy some merch that said "Ravenous Plague" on it. Plus, there is no rooting against a band that created a cheese block with their logo on it (in promotion of a previous release) as a tribute to their Dutch heritage.

Falling In Reverse
Fashionably Late (Epitaph Records)
release date: 6/18/13

Ronnie Radke has many skills, but making smart musical choices is not among them. While able to layer his voice beautifully, and write catchy choruses most pop metal and pop punk bands would kill for, he writes some of the worst lyrics you'll ever try to scrub from memory, and he believes in his statements so earnestly, it's really embarrassing. I feel bad for him most of the time. Then again, he feels so sorry for himself, I probably shouldn't even bother. The good news is, "Keep Holding On" is one of the least bad songs he's ever written. The lyrics make will make you cringe, and it is, after all, a cheesy lighter, er, cell-phone waving ballad, filled with piano-tinklings that make "Home Sweet Home" sound like Chopin, and "stringed orchestration" that surely made the professional musicians wonder why they showed up to play the few notes this clown actually knows. But the machine gun riff during the minute-long fade-out (the guy can't even wind down his whining without milking it for a minute) is a keeper. You almost have to cheer him on and he keep repeating that despite all the criticism and abuse, man, he's gonna keep going, he's gonna keep holding on. Almost.

II (Scarlet Records)
release date: 2/17/14

Pure opening-act mediocrity from the UK. Def-Con-One is a throwback to scores of second stage Ozzfest bands from the late '90s–early '00s, many of whom were charming in their ability to aggressively move a crowd without any particularly inspiring material. Pale shades of System of a Down and Slipknot here on "Soul Possessed," but somehow the song still kind of works, maybe owing to the singer's Warrel Dane similarities.

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