Road Trip Metal Fest


Page sections:

I took a road trip this weekend to be at a live baseball game, and it was so great after not really going anywhere for two years. This post isn’t about the game, but about the time driving to and back from the game. I decided to use the time to explore some new metal bands. I have been getting into more symphonic metal, a change from my more standard fare of classic and prog rock. It’s time for me to emerge from the 70s a bit and find some great newer talent :-)

After getting a few pointers on social media (thanks everyone) I came up with a list of albums to listen to while driving. Here is my take on what my somewhat random picks tasted like to me.

Band 1: Dream Theater

Yes I have heard a few songs from them before, and know they are very well regarded in prog metal, so it’s time to really dive in.

The Astonishing (2016)- Wow I loved this album. Albums that tell a story really apeal to me, and this one had so much great story-telling. I caught a good number of the lyrics in my first listen (I usually don’t with most music) and also read a short description of the album to get a better understanding of the story. I loved the theme of bringing music back into a society that had lost it. Very similar to Rush’s 2112.

Distance Over Time (2019)- Another great album. I can’t remember anything specifically about it now so I’ll have to give another listen.

Band 2: Mastodon

Crack the Skye (2009)- I give this one an A, I did enjoy it very much.

Band 3: Epica

I have listened to Epica the most on this list, but not a ton. In general I do like their music, however I am not used to growling so those parts I need to try to understand better. I do prefer to listen to clean vocals so this will be a challenge for me.

Omega (2021)- I did like this album very much, despite the growling. It also seemed to have a theme about life and death, but I was too distracted by driving to catch what it was.

Band 4: Animals as Leaders

Oh wow, I think this was my favorite discovery! This band plays songs with no vocals. Which is great because you can focus more on just the music, and boy do you need to focus hard with this band. So complex, but in a great way. I am definately going to explore this band more.

Animals as Leaders (2009)- For some reason I would get flavors of King Crimson from the sounds of the guitars and the playing style. I throughly enjoyed this one.

The Madness of Many (2016)- This album was truly a brain fuck, in a good way. Even the song titles hint at themes in the songs, and how they will mess with your mind trying to understand what they are doing with the music. I don’t think I’ve experienced such confusion and satisfaction with an album as this one.

Band 5: Within Temptation

The Heart of Everything (2007)- This was great, similar to some Nightwish so it was very pleasing to hear something “familiar” in a way.

Band 6: Between the Buried and Me

The Parallax II (2012)- I will admit I did not like this album. Too much screaming for my taste. I can’t comment on the musicianship, because the screaming was just too distracting for me to notice anything else.

What’s next?

Well I have a whole lot of albums to explore with these bands above that I liked. Also I have heard a few bits from the bands Temperance (Italy) and ScarDust (Isreal) that sounded very promising. So stay tuned here for more reviews.