Sunday, October 23, 2016

Head to Head: Seventh Wonder - Welcome to Atlanta vs. Ayreon - The Theater Equation

 A wife reveals an uncomfortable secret to her husband, and in his rage the car loses control. In the wake of the crash, he finds himself in a coma, struggling to confront his demons in a race against the clock as his life is slipping away. Sound familiar? Maybe a little too familiar? If you were a prog metal fan in the last decade, you might have noticed an uncanny resemblance between Ayreon's The Human Equation and Seventh Wonder's Mercy Falls. The former, in true Ayreon fashion, features a heavyweight cast as aspects of the main character's psyche, while the latter explores his condition through the metaphor of a mysterious town. Both are favorites of mine and Mercy Falls cracked my top ten metal albums. So when both bands released live versions of their iconic albums back to back, what choice did I have but to pit them against each other?

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Ghost - Popestar

In the spirit of brevity, I'll keep this review short. Popestar is a 5 track EP with one original song and four covers that draw from some unexpected sources. For those unfamiliar with Ghost, stop reading this and pull up a video of one of their live shows because the only way to understand their strange aesthetic is to see it for yourself. It's a familiar gimmick executed with a commitment to atmosphere that's all their own,

Square Hammer starts off the EP and is everything a Ghost single should be, with the church organ styled keyboards front and center and the driving bass adding some oomph to the simple but effective riffing. Papa Emeritus shines on this track, and the chorus immediately stands out as one of their most infectious. This is the highlight of the EP and its one original track.