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The album reviews
Loads of new albums to review. So much work. Here is just a couple of them
Dead Heart In A Dead World
( ęCENTURY MEDIA Records 2000 )
Upon the first listen to this album my initial response showed as complete bewilderment due to the profound and sincere mental shock I have just experienced. I, who have long ago almost completely abandoned the realm of heavy metal which became sterile, stagnant and boring to pursue the auditory pleasures offered by so many other musical genres, and whose only real heavy metal CD's in the musical collection are the last four DEATH albums, and CONTROL DENIED, well, until now I have firmly believed Chuck Shuldiner is the only one who can still storm the mind with a sonic tornado of his own. But, here comes the legendary NEVERMORE, I very well remember SANCTUARY and the effect that band had on the heavy metal scene back in the days, and now, nothing will ever be the same. Could it be that heavy metal is finally taking the path Chuck has been paving with DEATH for so long? When it comes to NEVERMORE and its new CD, its fourth long-play album, the actual fifth release, Dead Heart In A Dead World, the answer can only be: yes!
The album actually explodes into creation with Narcosynthesis, a heavy metal roller-coaster ride which opens the album with ferociousness and fervency I have heard for the first time since God knows when. I really cannot remember if heavy metal has ever sounded so heavy, so uncompromising, so persuasive. The blast can be described as a great wall of sound. One thing for certain, NEVERMORE has made a huge step forward, has taken the entire genre of heavy metal to a new level. The rules are not broken but slightly bent, holding tightly to the accomplishments of all the past-time experience and countless opportunities of the future, the
band shows that there's great power inherit in the integrity of a true ensemble of musicians who have decided they wanted to pursue the loud genre. Heavy metal, as the form of musical expression accepted as the one which is best suited for the individuals who have a much deeper understanding of the inner world, inner self, and who can cope, to some extent, with the mental projection of our world, our real world. Obviously, the burden is a heavy load, and NEVERMORE unload it right here and right now.
This could easily the best heavy metal album of the new millennium, of the year 2000. Could? Well, there's still the matter of the new DEATH and CONTROL DENIED album...see, it's gonna be a stormy autumn and chilly winter. (ac)
Fall From Grace
( promo tape )
This is the third album from this Swedish band. I really liked the first one, and also the second one which came out on CENTURY MEDIA Records. This one is out now in Japan and I am very impressed especially with the vocals, really first-class vocal delivery, and the guitar work is also very good. The music can be roughly described as modern hard rock with just a touch of progressive elements. The band has a good feel for the music and lyrics which can be heard in such killer songs as Touch Of Evil, a good cover version of the legendary JUDAS PRIEST from their Painkiller album, and also the ballad work of Remembrance. I strongly recommend this album though I don't know if it's out in Europe yet. Contact: (musto)
Version 1.0 ( ęSONOPRESS 1998 )
Weird name, ha? The trio comes from Brazil and the musical orientation is somewhere between heavy and progressive rock. Eduardo Tibira (guitars, vocals), Flavio Marchesin (vocals, bass, keyboards) and Frederico Ponzio (drums and percussion) produced the music all by themselves with a little help of guest musicians on various tracks. There you can hear such instruments as bagpipes, sax, flute and castanets. Despite the name, the band offers quite a lot for an underground act coming from Brazil. Production is quite good, all the instruments are audible and the songs are catchy especially the wacky ones. Contact:
Gordian Knot   
Ambient fusion project of innovative bass player Sean Malone ( of CYNIC and DEATH fame ) with an all-star cast including a fellow CYNIC member - pro drummer Sean Reinert, bassist John Myung of DREAM THEATER, guitarist Ron Jarzombek of SPASTIC INK, legendary bass player Tony Levin and more. It is pure instrumental fusion of various musical ideas such as jazzed-up progressive rock with elements of ethnic, classic references and even some nasty metal chops. Some songs like Code/Anticode, Reflections, Singularity and Rivers Dancing are highly expressive, energetic, full of twists and turns while some other like Megrez, Redemption's Way, Srikara Tal and Grace are more subtle, relaxed and serene. For example, Rivers Dancing is a powerful fusion of excellent bass lines that simply flow around expressive drumming altogether being a very impressive combination of  jazz and progressive rock. Then there is Megrez, a steady beat of percussion over a twisted guitar and playful bass. To sum up: superb musicianship, excellent production, new ideas...fusion at its best. The CD can be ordered directly from the label: THE LASER'S EDGE/SENSORY, P.O.Box 388, Voorhees, NJ, NJ 08043-0388.
Omega Conspiracy
( ęCANDLELIGHT Records '99 )
Legends are back! After more than 12 years, AGENT STEEL, the forefathers of metal itself are back with an explosive overdose of unstoppable speed metal. The band is here to reclaim its rightful spot among metal's elite with Omega Conspiracy. The album has it all, at least all that you need and want from a heavy metal band of such calibre. And believe you me, AGENT STEEL still knows how to grab you by the balls with tight rhythms, great guitars, impressive vocals and a shadow of conspiracy in the lyrics. Mighty impressive, highly progressive and unbelievably cool!
For all true heavy metal fans, for all real metal headbangers.