Jul 282011

(NCS writer Israel Flanders is a reviewing machine these days. Here’s his latest, which concerns the new release by Sun Caged The Lotus Effect.)

This album is as eccentric and beautiful as the cover.

Sun Caged is one of my favorite prog metal bands, stemming from the Dream Theater school of thought and doing it much MUCH (much) better. Hailing from the Netherlands, the band is a collection of really talented musicians, especially vocalist Paul Adrian Villarreal, guitarist/godlike shredder Marcel Coenen, and drummer Roel Van Helden. To repeat, this is one of my fav prog metal bands of all time and one that I feel is criminally overlooked. With that said, let’s get started…

Approaching a description of this album will be difficult, considering it’s such a journey. I mean, let’s look at the opener, “Seamripper (And The Blanket Statement)”. It opens with furious tremolo-oriented 8-string riffing and blast beats that would be found in a more extreme band, only to slip into a really catchy groove that sinks you into head-bobbing complacency. Almost immediately, it becomes apparent that Paul Adrian Villarreal has the most insane ear for superb vocal melodies. It’s easy to become absorbed in the passion of his voice and the seemless flow of his choice of notes over the instruments’ hypnotic groove, weaving in and out like a threaded needle through cloth. (more after the jump . . .) Continue reading »

Jul 012011

(NCS writer Israel Flanders bravely sticks his neck out with his list of the best albums released during the second quarter of 2011 — April, May, and June.)

So I’m back. Been out of it for the last week or so and just decided it was time to take some lazy days, but it’s time to get back to the fuckin’ metal and the fuckin’ headbanging action. It’s now the end of the second quarter of 2011 and I figured I would continue my top ten of every quarter series, which I started at The Metal Register. So, just for refreshers sake, let’s take a look at what I picked for Q1. In no particular order I had…

SylosisEdge Of The Earth
EradicationDreams Of Reality
Born Of OsirisThe Discovery
Rotten SoundCursed
Amon AmarthSurtur Rising
CrowbarSever The Wicked Hand
Paul WardinghamAssimilate/Regenerate
Times Of GraceHymn Of A Broken Man
DeicideTo Hell With God

So now we move on to the list for Q2. I know people are going to complain, bitch, moan, and otherwise cry at me through the comments on how often I didn’t pick your favorite tech-death band that sounds like rejected Psycroptic demos, but if I haven’t heard it, I’m not gonna pick it. Now let’s get to the albums shall we?  (after the jump . . .) Continue reading »