Sunday, July 16, 2006

Oh, Today's Music Doesn't Suck After All

I've been in a musical funk for quite some time now. The Grunge and post-Grunge music phases leave me bored and depressed (which is often the subject matter of the music itself). Much of the harder rock on the radio sounds uninspired and designed to shock rather than express.

My new coworker is in a progressive metal band and he has pointed me towards some stuff that has lifted me from my gumptionless morass and I am really enjoying some fresh music nowadays. This has been a real lifesaver on those 12+ hour workdays.

In addition to finding someone else who listens to Dream Theater and Symphony X, he also pointed me to some stuff at the Rhapsody music service and a couple of really good internet stations over at Live365: Progulus and Epic Rock.

Progressive metal takes the musicianship of Rush and Metallica and merges it keyboards and subjects that draw heavily from fantasy (esp. Lord of the Rings). There are even some new age aspects that merge some Tangerine Dreamesque dreaminess with rapidfire drums and arpeggiated guitar solos (or some scalar wizardry fast enough to be dubbed "Petruccios" by us at work [named for Mr. Petrucci of Dream Theater who makes Flight of the Bumblebee sound like a dirge with his insanely high speed guitar solos.])

Some of my favorites so far
Circus Maximus
Lana Lane

Others that have at least a song I liked
Blind Guardian
Forgotten Tales
Dark Moor
Black Majesty
Luca Tirilli
After Forever
Gamma Ray
Pain of Salvation
Iced Earth
Lost Horizon
Beyond Twilight
Within Temptation
Cryptic Vision

The list keeps growing. If you like big sound, fantastic themes, and if 15 minutes sounds like an appropriate length for a rock song, then check out the links above and get hooked up.


The Moody Minstrel said...

I didn't know you were into Dream Theater. One of my Canadian (fellow musician) friends here in Japan (no, not Jeff) urged me to get their Metropolis Pt. 2 album, saying it blew the pants off of 2112. I did so. After listening to it, my take on it was, in a nutshell, "This shows the dangers of letting a virtuoso guitarist write music."

Yes, the musicianship was incredible, and Petruccio's guitar technique is amazing to say the least. The problem is that the music was clearly designed to satisfy his urge to play fast and fancy rather than create an image or an environment. Considering the brilliant storyline of the rock opera, I thought it unfortunate. Basically, you'd have one verse of lyrics followed by a fast, frenetic, complicated instrumental passage, then another verse followed by yet another fast, frenetic, complicated instrumental passage. The trouble was that the music and the lyrics seemed to have nothing whatever to do with each other, and that tends to bother me.

Needless to say, I was impressed with the musicianship, but not with the music. (My friend was rather disappointed with my reaction, too. He was sure I'd like it.) Is there another Dream Theater album you might recommend that could give me a better impression?

I'll have to check out those other groups if possible. I'm always eager to hear interesting, creative artists!

(Wait a come I'm not on that list???!?) ;-)

Anonymous said...

I actually have Dream Theater on tape so they must be good. Would have to listen to Metropolis myself before coming to conclusions. Looks like there might be a market for you Moody, Why don't you send in a CD and see how it goes?

Speaking of which, why don't you talk to an agent, in the recording industry, and see what they say?

Pandabonium said...

Sure it does.

Don Snabulus said...

MM: Interesting comments. I find that a certain amount of Dream Theater is egoizing for Petrucci (as much as I like his skills). You might try their Octavarium album which I think is more artistic. Dream Theater aside, much of this "epic rock" is more along the lines of Queensryche or your Call of Cthulhu epic than Dream Theater. By the way, I would love to hear some MM on Progulus. The list I compiled was made solely from those two internet radio stations. I still listen to my Moody Minstrel and will listen even more when I get my stream back up and going (that system got hacked and I had to reinstall...Arrrgh).

Pa've: I'm with you there. Nowadays you can do the whole thing yourself without bowing to the big labels. Also, you can make your music known without the unreality that comes with getting well-known too quickly.

PB: Hee hee. I 99% agree with you, but I need some surprises to keep me going now and again. The greatest hits of 1642 still outshine most of what we hear in 2006, but the mind craves current connections I think.