Apocalyptica @ Knitting Factory (3/15/2005)

Logo - Apocalyptica

Artist: Apocalyptica
Venue: Knitting Factory (New York, NY)
Opener: unknown
Label: Nuclear Blast Records
Date: 3/15/2005
Genre: Progressive Metal

It was cold March night and I remember this fact since my Friend and I decided to come to the venue an hour earlier and freeze our asses off while someone we knew tried to find an extra ticket for the show. Inside was interesting to behold for while there was clearly an amount of Metal Heads inside there was also a large group of older folks who looked more as if they were visiting from lunch at the New York Stock Exchange. It was my guess that they people had heard that Apocalyptica performs their music with cellos that they felt it would be some sort of Classical concert instead of a new form of Progressive Metal. I did not know for sure, and was not planning on asking.
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“Obligated By Obscurity” by Malstrom

Artist: Malstrom
Title: “Obligated By Obscurity”
Label: unsigned
Release Date:
Genre: Heavy Metal
Rating: Good

When you listen to the guys in Malstrom you can tell there is a good amount of talent in the band and certainly a drive to keep it nice and heavy. However this does not come without some criticism. Yes this is a demo, but it sounds too much like one in many places. I come to this conclusion based on comparisons to many other demo products that I have received lately. The production should have been focused on a little more to strive for a cleaner and more solid sound. At times this piece is muddy and feels a little out of joint as a result. Good drum parts are lost under the fact that you cannot discern the various drums being struck. The guitar work is largely interesting and you can tell that the band was influenced by the past masters Judas Priest and Iron Maiden. Never a bad thing showing a little of those influences in the music. It can separate you from many of your peers.
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“Mezmerize” by System Of A Down

Artist: System Of A Down
Title: “Mezmerize”
Label: American Records
Release Date: 5/17/2005
Genre: Heavy Metal
Rating: 4.5/5

The newest release by System Of A Down is quite impressive. You might be asking how much so well for starters I was never more than a casual fan of this band. I found some stuff just OK to me, never appealed or really enjoyed the earlier releases. However once I placed “Mezmerize” in the CD player I was floored by the production and delivery of the piece. As a matter of fact I am on listen three and am clearly heading for listen four. Overall this piece is explosive Metal and is also a lot of fun to listen to. The piece begins with a slow harmony laden “Soldier Side”, and once “B.Y.O.B.” kicks in your head will be banging. There are a lot of expletives in the CD, and while I am not a fan of censoring music or Artists I do think younger listeners should run this one by their folks first.
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“Icon and The Black Roses” by Icon and The Black Roses

Artist: Icon And The Black Roses
Title: “Icon And The Black Roses”
Label: Dark Wings Records/SPV
Release Date: 6/20/2004
Genre: Gothic Metal
Rating: 8/10

I heard about this band in a twist of chance. I was led to them by some random clickings around the web while doing some music research and there they were. Icon and The Black Roses from Portugal. The band was on the verge of releasing their self-titled debut release on Dark Wings Records (a division of SPV Records). A quick email introduction to the lead singer and I was able to facilitate a copy for myself to review for you all. I have to say how impressed I am already as so many of the songs flow seamlessly through the disc. People who are fans of H.I.M. will most certainly enjoy this band for there are some musical themes that go in the same direction. However, this is no clone of His Infernal Majesty as the band will be quick to advise you of. Johnny Icon’s brooding and dark voice lend more to the likes of Depeche Mode and even a bit of Type-O-Negative (though not as deep as Pete Steele). It is an enjoyable solidly produced piece of brooding Gothic Rock. The differences in the bands music make it something that fans of Mode or Cure as well as similar darker fare have offered us. It was interesting to me to see how much this influence seemed to prevail in a band coming out of Portugal.
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“Tage Mahal” by Jon Oliva’s Pain

Artist: John Oliva’s Pain
Title: “Tage Mahal”
Label: SPV America
Release Date: 2/1/2005
Style: Heavy Metal
Rating: 9/10

Hear Ye! Hear Ye! The “Mountain King” has returned to the Legions of Metal with a solid piece of music for all to enjoy. Yes, Jon Oliva the original voice power behind the influential power metal band Savatage is back with the debut CD from his new band “Jon Oliva’s Pain”. Entitled “Tage Mahal” the piece starts with Jon solo on the keyboard before the band kicks in. When they do it simply rocks. Given Jon’s past history with Savatage, the CD holds a very similar feel to it. As a matter of fact I instantly was reminded of the Savatage epic “Streets-A Rock Opera” when I started playing it. This CD was one of my favorites in the back catalog, and is a worthwhile companion piece of music to it.
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