Author Archives: Time Lord
Calling all prog fans… you all know you love great musical instruments, so no doubt you can feel the pain over this:
Keep your eyes open and your ear to the ground. Maybe you can help the guitar find its way home?
Show your support on Facebook too:
My 1957 Les Paul junior was stolen from my home in Stittsville, Ontario. I can only guess that someone came in through the back door when it was unlocked, picked it up, without a case, and walked out.
I am hoping that this post will circulate in the Ottawa area and come across the person responsible, or someone who has noticed a friend or relative with a new instrument kicking around:
Be very VERY sure, a 1957 les Paul doesn’t just get resold online, in a pawn shop, at a guitar store without gaining attention. You won’t be able to play it in front of people. It will draw attention, someone will notice. People who buy and sell valuable instruments know exactly what they are, and when they are stolen.
You will be caught if you try and sell it. I have tons of images of it, and documented serial number. So you have no chance to sell it and make money. And worse, you will be charged for a significant theft, and linked to a break and enter.
If the guitar is returned, I can accept a “no questions asked” agreement. Whether that means the guitar is returned to my business, Quitters coffee, to my home, or through a mutual acquaintance. I can accept a foolish drunken teenage lapse of judgement, a momentary hiccup in your moral being.
I can promise you that the instrument will not make you money, it will not go unnoticed and you will at some point be caught.
Do the right thing.
Canada’s Metal “Queen Mother” has a new album in the pipeline.
Good-bye mass culture, good-bye prog: “It was fun watching the applecart being upset, but now where do we go for apples?”
Are we entering the era of the end of real prog?
Here’s the argument:
You can kiss the mainstream culture goodbye, because there is no such thing anymore. And if there is no mainstream culture, there is no can be no real prog because there is nothing “mass culture” for it to react to. So, we’re all proggers now, insofar as no one partakes of mass culture anymore.
Need more color on that “end of mass culture” thesis?
First, while it had an enormous influence, mass culture had a surprisingly brief life. The first nationwide radio networks, the predecessors to the big three commercial networks, were born in America in the 1920s, right around the same time that Hollywood had completed building its nationwide movie chains. But mass culture has been dying since the mid-to-late 1970s, when cable TV, the VCR, and videogames first began to break the monolithic stranglehold that the three commercial TV networks had on viewers. It was around that time that the personal computer first took off, allowing early adopters to dial into the first information services such as CompuServe and early homebrew bulletin board systems.
While the Beatles were obviously influenced by Chuck Berry, Buddy Holly, and other early rockers, we were lucky that the Fab Four came of age during a period when there was still a traditional music culture they could ransack ideas from, including Tin Pan Alley, big band swing music and crooners, and classical music (thanks to their brilliant producer/arranger, George Martin). And as Charles Paul Freund perceptively noted at Reason in 2001, by the time of Sgt. Pepper, while the Beatles “continued to use rock elements to make their music, there is almost as much British Music Hall in their later work as there is rock.”
While the Beatles leaned heavily on the music traditions of the mid-20th century, concurrently, Berry Gordy borrowed a very different show business tradition to build his musical empire at Motown. Even as it was beginning to fade as a production technique in Hollywood, Gordy used the Hollywood studio system as a model to run Motown as a business. In the studio system, the film studios signed actors to long-term contracts, gave them allocution and dance lessons, and generally groomed them for stardom. Gordy did the same thing for his artists, and supplied them with songwriters and a crack house band called “the Funk Brothers” who played on virtually every great Motown hit.
Arguably, the Beatles’ role as a benchmark for what was possible in rock music didn’t wane until the end of the 1980s, when genres such as punk rock-influenced grunge and death metal removed much of the melodic impulse from rock. Motown’s influence on the soul and disco music of the 1970s would start to end in the early 1980s, as record labels and MTV pushed rap, which eschewed melody and traditional pop craftsmanship entirely.
“It was fun watching the applecart being upset, but now where do we go for apples?”
Great new work coming soon from Dave Kerzner and Heather Findlay — Mantra Vega:
Mantra Vega is a new transatlantic progressive rock band from Heather Findlay and Dave Kerzner (founding members of the bands Mostly Autumn and Sound of Contact respectively) along with Chris Johnson (Halo Blind/Mostly Autumn), Stu Fletcher (We Could Be Astronauts), Alex Cromarty (Mostly Autumn) and featuring legendary guitarist David Kilminster (Roger Waters/Steven Wilson).
Melding together their wide range of styles and influences in Progressive, Classic and Alternative Rock, Mantra Vega offers a fresh blend of female and male lead vocals and harmonies which deliver many a poignant message dressed in atmospheric soundscapes, emotional dynamics and captivating moods. With Heather Findlay’s expansive vocals which range from pure and angelic to raw and powerful, to the lush and intricate keys, guitars and sound design of Dave Kerzner and Chris Johnson, to soaring guitar leads and licks from Dave Kilminster, all sailing the soulful groove of the Cromarty/Fletcher rhythm section, there’s something for fans of artists like Peter Gabriel, Pink Floyd, Kate Bush, Fleetwood Mac, Yes, The Beatles, Sigur Ros and more.
The preview sounds amazing. Hear it over at SoundCloud:
Here is an audio preview of all new tracks from the forthcoming Mantra Vega album “The Illusion’s Reckoning”. Note these are early rough mixes and not the finals. This is meant to be a small taste of the songs “The Illusion’s Reckoning”, “Learning To Be Light”, “Lake Sunday”, “Veil of Ghosts” and “In A Dream” which, in addition to the songs from the Island single and more will be featured on the full album coming this October.
Get ready for a double album full of prog-length tracks!
It drops on September 4, but for now the single is out.
The single is short and sweet, and so anticipation builds for the epic tracks.
What will they be like?
In the meantime…
The day has finally come! Iron Maiden have released the first single from their upcoming 16th studio album, The Book of Souls. The band’s fresh cut “Speed of Light” goes back to the roots of Maiden’s legendary career while brandishing a music video saluting the evolution of video games.
At five minutes in length, “Speed of Light” is one of the shortest songs on the massive Book of Souls double album. The track definitely follows the classic Maiden style of their memorable singles, sounding almost like it’s been dug up from the Number of the Beast or Piece of Mind sessions.
The music video is somewhat of a departure for Iron Maiden despite the fact they put out their own Ed Hunter video game in 1999. Maiden mascot Eddie the Head makes his way through different generational styles of video games from the classic 8-bit climb ‘n’ dodge, to slick side scrollers and first-person shooters.
District 97 have released a video for their stellar track “Snow Country” from In Vaults — one of the very best tracks from one of the very best albums of 2015, in case you haven’t been listening!
Go watch it over at PROG. The song is a showcase for top-notch songwriting. Now, in the video, you can watch the superb musicians in action as well. I love the way it starts out with the acoustic guitar.
Time Stands Still — Unleash the Archers
Progarchist Rating: ★★★★★ [10/10]
I’ve been listening to this new release for a few weeks now and it just gets more impressive and more enjoyable with deeper familiarity. What a stunning achievement by this hugely talented Canadian heavy metal band:
Brittney Slayes – vocals
Scott Buchanan – drums
Grant Truesdell – guitar, death metal vocals
Andrew Kingsley – guitar, death metal vocals
Kyle Sheppard – bass
The first track (“Northern Passage”) is a brief, atmospheric overture that hardly prepares you for the onslaught to come, but it does succeed in evocation of an epic mood and preparing your imagination for a panoramic cinematic scope.
Then the next three tracks take you into some serious head banging with jaw-dropping musicianship, as unusually nimble and supremely tasty guitar work dances over top of the relentless rhythmic propulsions:
2. Frozen Steel
3. Hail Of The Tide
4. Tonight We Ride
Brittney shows herself to be Canada’s new reigning metal queen (move over, Lee Aaron), and she commands and deploys what seems to be an army of orcs and Gollums with death metal vocals at her musical service. I’ve never heard death metal vocals used in such a musical fashion as part of an intelligently arrayed musical arsenal of colors and flavors. It’s very effective and the trio of these first three tracks should have a wide appeal to metal heads of all stripes. As for me, given my own proggy tastes, it’s the next three tracks, surprisingly varied from what has gone before them, that take things to a whole new level and give me the trio of tunes that I always look forward to most whenever I hear this album:
5. Test Your Metal
7. No More Heroes
“Test Your Metal” is fantastic old-school awesomeness that attains upper-echelon anthem status.
But then “Crypt” seems to come out of nowhere with it sinister opening riffage and begins what is arguably the greatest track on the album; it goes through so many interesting changes and musical transmutations that I am in awe of its sophisticated narrative scope: it begins in what definitely sounds like the underworld, but then breaks out above ground into a dazzling resurrected landscape swirling in sunlight.
“No More Heroes” continues painting with a diverse palette and distinguishes the album from the merely ordinary realm of metal. There’s so much musical intelligence built into this you will be hard pressed to name other bands that have ever attained this level of supremacy. Rush comes to mind, indeed, perhaps because of each outfit’s Canadian origins, but certainly because of each outfit’s distinctively outstanding musical talents.
The final trio of tracks begins with “Dreamcrusher,” which is probably the one track that denizens of Progarchy should download, if they want to sample some Unleash the Archers. Clocking in at 9:16, it has the full-length scope affording wide play for the best sensibilities that prog fans gravitate towards, and it begins with strings and nuance, and then into some trademark blistering riffs, and then some atmospheric guitar work with more strings action, and then… it just keeps unfolding into epic variation and everything amazing that Unleash the Archers can do but seemingly no one else can (if they can, then where are they?).
9. Going Down Fighting
10. Time Stands Still
“Going Down Fighting” brings the dazzling complexities of the album back to a nice mix of old-school, hook-laden accessibility. It proffers indomitable assertion, but again mixed with unusually distinctive musical skill and nuances: apparently, the musical speciality of Unleash the Archers.
“Time Stands Still” is the rousing title track with its anthemic beer hall chorus kicking things off, sung by an army of loyal soldiers on (or ready for) the march. Brittney then breaks in and proceeds to sing the lyrics with such powerful conviction on this song that, unexpectedly, when she gets to the line, “Rebuild! History can only be written by the victors! And we will write it all!” (letting loose with her piercing war-cry screams on all sides), the listener is truly roused by this warrior princess. Her troops mobilize, abandoning the solar system to move on to conquer other galaxies. Where do we enlist?
“We finally have won!” she sings in the album’s closing line, and truer words have never been sung by any epic sci-fi metal outfit, for with this amazing album, Unleash the Archers have released their greatest and most accomplished album to date. It’s an album for the ages, destined to be recognized in time for its blisteringly definitive achievement. You won’t be able to stand still, or otherwise contain your excitement. And why should you? Let Unleash the Archers unleash their awesomeness. Play it loud!
Demons of the Astrowaste is a sci-fi concept album from Unleash the Archers. The metal is superb and the whole album tells a story using even some dramatic dialogue and special effects sounds interspersed between the crossfaded tracks. It’s an engrossing, immersive experience. Here’s the brilliant song that kicks off the album. It’s one of my favorites.