Though placed on their Official Vimeo Page just the other day, I could not attend to this news until right now but not to worry, its nothing that’s late at all when it comes down to it. We’ve arrived at the time of the year where hundreds and hundreds of Progressive and Power Metal fans converge in a single location in Atlanta, GA for the annual ProgPower USA Festival. The four-day affair is ticketed as the first two days and then the second two days. Generally speaking, the weekend shows are the biggest draw and the announcement video is online for all to examine. I think they reveal this for the audience on the second day of the happening so let’s take a look at it. Please be advised that while this is a long clip, it’s got a lot of awesome music to enjoy so here we go.
The Lineup: Wind Rose, Subsignal, Barren Earth, Psychotic Waltz, Orden Ogan, Seventh Wonder, Sorcerer, Jad Panzer, Caligula’s Horse, Poets Of The Fall, Threshold, Demons & Wizards.
After having reviewed what seems to be a teeming amount of the releases from DC Comics under their “The New 52” initiative, I admit that I have come to really enjoy presenting some views to our readers and fellow fans of the hobby. Newcomers might not realize that DC Comics started their relaunch back in September 2011, and so far its been broken up into a number of waves. Some titles from back when this began are already long gone and in some sense even a couple of replacements have been cancelled but the new titles always leave us with 52 different titles a month. That being said, we are now at The Fourth Wave of titles and what is interesting to me is how it has been about ten months since we last saw a wave be introduced. The unaffected family of titles falls to the Superman and Green Lantern ones (each currently have four titles per month) but there will be some more coming later in the year for these. I will discuss those at that time.
Starting in February of this still brand new year 2013, DC Comics will hit us hard with their Fourth Wave of The New 52 titles and while I will get to the new titles in a few sentences, let’s first take a look at the titles that will be going away. On the cancellation block are “Blue Beetle”, “Frankenstein, Agent Of S.H.A.D.E.”, “Grifter”, GI Combat” and “Legion Lost”. Of the batch of them I think I am really only going to miss the “Franksenstein” title since it was a fun read and quirky at times. Maybe we will find him being called upon in the “Justice League Dark” title since he seems to fit the criteria of being one of DC Universe’s “weirdies”. The reasons I will not really miss the rest are simple. I have not enjoyed the integration of the Wildstorm characters into the traditional DC Universe so that means “Grifter” didn’t win me over. It did have some moments but I always felt these characters were out of place. This was so much different an integration from when DC took all the Charlton Comics characters under their wing after the “Crisis On Infinite Earths”. The war titles I have never been sold on and they are a far cry from the original greatness of Kanigher and Kubert and titles like “The Haunted Tank”, “Sgt. Rock” etc. I preferred the original Blue Beetle title (well, the one with Ted Kord at least) and I felt that The Legion Of Super Heroes was best left in the future with the occasional trip to the past. That’s all I have to say about that.
Joining “The New 52” for this Fourth Wave are “Justice League of America”, “Justice League of America’s Vibe”, “Katana”, “Threshold” and “Constantine”. So what do I think for this go round? I’m very open to an additional Justice League title but am not sure what to expect of this particular team. “JLI” was interesting in it’s own right so let’s see what happens. “Vibe” was never a compelling character to me when he was in the way back in the day “JLA” of the 90’s so his getting a title struck me rather strange. “Katana” I always enjoyed from her original appearance as an Outsider and she did fine with the Birds Of Prey so perhaps this one will stick. “Threshold” brings some characters from other titles into a more cosmic playing field and I think we needed that outside of what Green Lantern or Superman often give us. “Constantine” will be the one with the most attention as it finds the Brit now fully entrenched in the conventional DC Universe as opposed to Vertigo where his “Hellblazer” title just finished at issue #300. Constantine is also a member of the Justice League Dark but this new title will likely allow him to interact with other heroes and villains of the DCU. I’m most intrigued about his happenings. So what do you readers think? The comments are open for opinions and of course we shall be striving to review many of these titles going forward.
Artist: Threshold Title: “Dead Reckoning” Label: Nuclear Blast Records Release Date: 4/3/2007 Genre: Progressive Metal Rating: 4/5
Behold England’s answer to Dream Theater in the Progressive Metal juggernaut Threshold! Long referred to as the U.K.’s best provider of this genre it is easy to see why when the first track on the release begins. “Slipstream” draws you into the bands world by bringing levels of technical ability with dynamic vocal harmony and leads on top of a rousing chorus that has you singing with them right out of the gate. It makes sense as this is not a new band at all, but a seasoned and dynamic group that has moved on from Progressive Music leaders InsideOut and now rests firm and comfortable in the arms of Nuclear Blast Records. They groups addition to an already powerful roster offers the label fans a slightly different take on what they might be used to. Their label debut “Dead Reckoning” has a big and live sound to it and amid the dynamic technical skills that are showcased you find yourself continually intrigued and not bored by all the wizardry. “This Is Your Life” reminded me of “Status Seeker”, an old DT song based on the way this one was sticking in my memory and it never hurts a band to find their sound calling to mind parts of a group like Dream Theater. Continue reading “Dead Reckoning” by Threshold→
Artist: Hammerfall Title: “Threshold” Label: Nuclear Blast Records Release Date: 10/31/2006 Genre: Power Metal Rating: 4/5
Following their stellar release “Chapter V: Unbent, Unbowed, Unbroken”, Sweden’s Hammerfall has returned with “Threshold” an album that continues their heroic adventures into Metal glory. For their sixth release there is pretty much the same formula that has worked for the band since their inception and while that might seem safe to some readers, others should know that the band has not lost any of their luster by keeping this premise the same. Opener “Threshold” is an anthem-styled rocker which not only brings you into the way this band feels quick, but it will also have you singing with them as you push your fist into the air. Front man Joacim Cans possesses a great set of Metal pipes and he displays the level of his melodic powers on tracks such as “Shadow Empire” and “Genocide”; songs that are among the most standout numbers on the album. The blistering twin axe attack of Oscar Dronjak and Stefan Elmgren provide riffs that are poised to defend the course of Metal honor whenever called upon while Magnus thunders on the bass and Anders keeps the time under control in true Power Metal drummer fashion. “Threshold” continues the bands theme with more songs about epic battles and sword and sorcery based warriors but it is done with such a majestic overtone and manner that the music does not get stale. For some reason this works well for Hammerfall and their legions of followers, one could cite that since Manowar has also never strayed from the premise that it can work for a long time. Continue reading “Threshold” by Hammerfall→