Top 10 Albums of 2017 | Progressive Metal | 2 of 3
Welcome back. This is the second of three lists of Top 10 Albums of 2017 here at Power of Prog. This time we count down the Top 10 Albums of 2017 . We are also at a point in history where there is as much progressive metal as there is it’s paternal genre progressive rock.
As many know who follow this music, progressive rock now has its branches in many other genres or sub-genres of heavy metal music. This list below is compiled from traditional progressive metal, extreme progressive black metal, progressive power metal, cinematic progressive metal, progressive death metal and a progressive rock/metal opera. Without further delay here are my Top 10 Albums Of Year, Progressive Metal.
Arjen Anthony Lucassen – Electric and Acoustic Guitars/Bass Guitar/Mandolin/Synthesizers, Hammond/Solina Strings/All Other Instruments Ed Wabry – Drums
Original Cast Members/Vocalists
James Labrie – Dream Theater- As ‘The Historian’ Tommy Giles Rogers – Between The Buried And Me – As ‘The Chemist’ Simone Simons – Epica -As ‘The Counselor’ Mike Mills – Toehider – As ‘T-H1’ Floor Jansen – Nightwish – As ‘The Biologist’ Hansi Kursch – Blind Guardian – As ‘The Astronomer’ Tobis Sammet – Avantasia/Edguy – As ‘The Captain’ Michael Eriksen – Circus Maximus – As ‘The Diplomat’ Nils K Rue – Pagans Mind – As ‘The Prophet’ Zaher Zorgati – Myrath – As ‘The Preacher’ Tommy Karevik – Kamelot – As ‘The Opposition Leader’ Russel Allen – SymphonyX – As ‘The President’ Will Shaw – Heir Apparent’ Wilmer Waarbroek, Jan Willem Ketelaars, and Lisette van den Berg – Scarlet Stories as ‘The Ship’s Crew’ You … Insert Name Here … as ‘The Audience’
Production Lori Linstruth – Photo Stills/Ajren Lucassen & Ayreon Cast Wayne Joyner – Lyric Videos for Everybody Dies and Star Of Sirrah
Matthew Cerami – Vocals/Guitars/Bass Jordan Navarro – Guitars/Drum Programming/Keyboards/Additional Sounds Jordan Navarro And Nick Shann – Drum Programming/Arrangements
Additional Musicians Nick Shann – Guitar Solo & Stringed Arrangememnts on ‘The Long Road Home’ Violin on ‘My Father, My God Benjamin Ian Meyerson (Fin Amor) & Justin Barone (Consonance) – Additional Lyrics & Vocal Arrangements Samantha Marie Rae (Nectar) – Guest Vocals Charles Buonsera – Bass Solo on ‘Evisecrate Divine’
Cormorant seem to be a MelodicThree-Headed Beast with three very distinctive personalities in the progressive black metal community. First personality of this Three-Headed Beastis doom metal. Cormorant has certainly honoured the true essence of heavy metal with its doom metal element. They have incorporated the sound of early Black Sabbath with other doom metal pioneers such as Trouble, Candlemass, Witchfinder General, Kyuss, Solitude Aternus, TYR and Electric Wizard.
The second personality and head of this beast is that of Black Metal. The Black Metal personality reflected on here is a balance between the First Wave Of Black Metal or FWOBM. and Modern or Norwegian Black Metal. The bands reflected within the Black Metal personality are Venom, Bathory, Hellhammer with the more modern Black Metal of bands like Satyricon, Enslaved, Darkthrone, Emperor, Ihshan and Agalloch.
The third and final headed personality lies within both progressive rock and progressive metal. Within the personality of progressive rock it is more 1970’s based with some influences of King Crimson, Emerson Lake & Palmer, Frank Zappa,Mahavishnu Orchestra and Uriah Heep. The progressive metal influences that complete the Progressive head and personality are bands like Rush, Opeth, Gojira, Savatage, Voi Vod, and Tool. Therefore the band has a very deep well into which to draw from.
The deep well of all those influences I just mentioned above certainly do come through on Cormorant’s Diaspora. First of all as many who follow this particular brand genre of progressive deathy black metal know that when Opeth discontinued using growls and Agalloch finally called it quits it left a void in the community. A band like Cormorant is a band that totally redeems that quality of progressive metal with the their own perspective on it. Second Cormrorant understand the demand of that genre brand of progressive metal and absolutely have a endless supply of various elements that make up that brand of extreme progressive black metal and I will point that out throughout this review. Cormorant’s Disapora also demonstrates progressive rock/metal’s continuous vast growth into many areas of hard rock, post rock and heavy metal. Now a look into the four tracks of Cormorant’s Disapora.
Preserved In Ash begins with a blistering bombardment of serious double blast beat drums and deep bass rhythmic tones. Soon a brutal low fi guitar chord progression enters in alongside the brutal blackened death growls. The lead blackened vocals are executed pitch perfect by Marcus Luscombe – Bass/Lead Vocals and are met in perfect harmony with the death growls executed perfectly by Brennan Kunkel – Drums/Vocals and Matt Solis – Guitars/Vocals. There is also a dual guitar dynamic where there is the low fi black metal style of guitar that is met in melody and harmony with the 1970’s style lead progressive doom chord progression. This demonstrates the bands ability to execute various guitar styles at once allowing for various melody and elements into the music without overwhelming or boring the listener with something that sounds like the same thing over and over. The rhythm section anchors the dual guitar dynamic into a tight cohesive chord progression that serves as a steering element to the track. Around the 4:00 mark the track tunes down a bit. There is certainly a method to the bands sheer madness on the opening track that starts to set up the duration of the album. Around the 7:30 mark the band really takes the track into a very abyssic tuned down chord progression exchange with solo’s trading back and forth. When the death growls finally come back in they are more of a deathy doom metal style.
Sentinel continues to bruise and blister the senses of the listener. This track opens up with a slant towards My Dying Bride, Novembers Doom and early-Anathema meets a Morningrise and Blackwater Park era’s Opeth. The guitars and rhythm sections are really tuned down with sheer brutality alongside the deep pounding death growl that plays perfectly off of the rhythm section that anchors the track. This is another epic clocking in at 15:51. Their is a harmonious exchange of both death growls and black metal screams before the track takes a Trouble doom metal style chord progression instrumentally with a Emperor style of black metal scream. The track takes on some progressive groove metal laden rhythm progressions that move it along seamlessly. The fact that the band have a dual guitar brings a lot of rhythmic depth to the track. There are also some clean vocal harmonies in and out as the song progresses.
The deep bass/drum section is seriously in the tradition of Trouble, Candlemass and Paradise Lost with a later-Enslaved and later-Carcass style vocal. There are parts where the twin guitar sound a DEATH Leprosy and Symbolicera’s with how they exchange various chords and riffs. Once again you have both a black metal vocal and a death metal style of vocal interchanging off and on of one another. About the 7:00 mark the track takes on some heavily semi electric semi acoustical guitar chord progressions that remind me a lot of Agalloch’s 2002 classic The Mantle. These guitar sections are engineered so smoothly with layers upon layers of various harmonious progressions that create tightly knit passages. These guitar progressions are rooted heavily into 1970’s progressive rock as well. The clean vocals remind me a lot of Opeth’sFace Of Melinda off of Still Life.
The Devourer is a blistering track that reminds me a lot of Opeth’s My Arms Your Hearse era progressive death metal. This has a heavy respect in the tradition of Demon Of The Fall. The death metal style growls remind me a lot of ex-Morbid Angel vocalist/bassist David Vincent. This track is the shortest track on the album at only 7:50. It is still full of killer quality progressive up tempo riffs and deep bass/drum backbone in the rhythm section. The blackened metal vocals has a heavy Darkthrone influence. The clean vocal sections are serious Candlemass meets Cathedral influence.
Migration is a 26:00+ epic that completely comes in the tradition of a Agalloch’s Faustian Echoes meets Opeth’s Black Rose Immortal with a twist of Averse Aubes Cendrées. It opens up with heavy guitar atmospheric and percussive effects. It is not very long before the track goes into a more progressive and blistering direction. The deep doom style chord progressions plus the death metal growls really give you the appearance of a true brooding track that assaults the listener’s senses evey which way. The way the band stretches out the first minutes of the track certainly is a commentary on what the band’s main objective is on this track. Migration works in three major stages that carries the listener into a brutal epic journey of various doom, progressive, black and death metal elements. The exchanges between the death metal growls and the black metal screams seem to be a signature sound for the band. They certainly give the band a distinct and unique sound in a genre of music that most people continue to misunderstand. It is in that misunderstanding that Cormorant bring a sense of sheer clarity even to the outsider to this music.
The band has a point in the track where they really create a bleak and dark atmosphere with just some heavy acoustic guitars and percussion portions. The acoustical portions remind me a lot of Agalloch’s The Mantle meets Opeth’s Damnation with a 1970’s Alan Holdsworth/Robert Fripp twist. The 1970’s elements have been really heavily induced throughout the duration of the album and shows the band’s utter respect for the progressive side of the album. From here the band builds layer upon layers with various blistering chord progressions and brutal passages. The band continue the groove laden and low fi based guitar riffs blended with more traditional death metal and doom metal riffs.
Cormorant are certainly a band that will keep progressive doom laden black metal alive on some level.It also helps their cause to be independent without utter bondage to a prejudice of a record label. Disapora is a true testament that quality progressive black metal has a lengthy shelf life. After going back and listening to every album before this, Disapora is a album that is the next step in the natural evolution of the band and the genre. For the sheer open maturity of Cormorant’s Disapora I am giving this a 5/5and it is a strong contender for Album Of Year 2017
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