Distant Dream

I remember first date with my wife. We talked music and she was glorifying Tiamat's "Wildhoney". She likes that album even though she doesn't listen to metal at all. It seem it wasn't me who picked her up, but it was me who was picked. She doesn't like metal for number of reasons. Boring drums, double kick everywhere. Most often boring melodies or even lack of them, or if there are melodies - overepicness. Chaos, noise, funny clothes. Can't not agree. But there is few reasons why I fell in love in metal music as a teenager and why I still like it. Good melodies, wall of riffs, finger braking solos. Why can't we have them all in just one project? Well, we can.

I had to double check it, but I haven't review a single polish album here. I'm polish, even though I live in Ireland for six years now I try to be on date with what is happening on polish scene. Batushka or Mgła made their way to the top of the ladder quickly with brilliant albums they made. Distant Dream somehow isn't that famous yet. 

Marcin Majrowski comes from Gdańsk, city in north of Poland, on the coast, known mostly for shipyard uprising 1980 which was a start of the end of communism in Poland and finally the end of Soviet Union. Marcin is the only person behind Distant Dream project. He used to play with death metal band Devil's Note and then with Feather Child. Second band gave him desire of creating his own music, based on wide open landscapes and atmosphere. First project's LP, titled "It all Starts from Pieces", was released last year, and second "Your Own Story" just couple of months ago. 

"It all Starts from Pieces" starts with a lovely guitar solo following by juicy riff. And this is what we gonna have for the next 40 minutes. Great riffs, beautiful melodies and amazing solos. Some tracks drift more into prog rock style, while other are post metal masterpieces. Trying to capture just one inspiration here is pointless, this music is everything we can put between rock and metal. Marcin wrote progressive stuff in the classic Floyd's meaning, season it with his death metal roots and distilled to get synthesised core of everything which is best in both genres. But the most amazing thing is how even is this album, how well balanced. All young prog metal bands think if you speed up tempo, and play absolutely every solo with tapping technique you gonna have a prog metal album. No! Marcin can play incredibly fast and he play really braking finger solos but he knows where to slow and calm down. Great melodies feeling with extremely heavy riffs. Very tasty stuff! LP was pressed in a black vinyl. Very neat press to be honest, heavy disc is cut very precise and mastering for this format was well made too. But the most breathtaking part of the release is its cover. Bridge and endless space on the sky. That's what we get here. Precision and space. 

"Your Own Story" is continuation of a same path Marcin took with first album but somehow it gets even more ambient, more calm and spacious. Don't get me wrong. He still knows how to play ground shaking guitar riffs. He still write beautiful melodies and make teenage guitarists cry into pillow with his solos. But I can feel more confidence behind this material, like he knows his idea of music works and he doesn't have to prove anything to anyone. Seven strings guitar brings so much body into this sounds! The feeling of balance is same. No fault here either. Another great album but it is definitely a next step in this journey.  Second LP has similar style cover but as the music again is even more dreamy and unreal. High quality matt paper, super neat release. Records itself is green with white splatters and it is a beauty indeed, sounds great too. Absolutely amazing album!  Must have for all post metal fans.

Marcin started working to gather some musicians and make live act group and that will be just great! Can't wait what this will bring. Astonishing concerts and new material? 


Black Moon Circle - Psychedelic Spacelord

This review suppose to be different. I planned to write about guitar techniques, about harmonies, melodies and other boring stuff. But I made my life bit more complicated week ago. Well in fairness I made that in September but it was last week when my wife brought to this world our second daughter. I'm busy, I don't sleep well and my back hurts. And that's how I finally understood this album...

Black Moon Circle are from Norway and since the beginning are dedicated to improvisation. They just sit and play music. We could discuss on how broken drums here lead violin solo through the title part of the album (title part, as there are no tracks here, it's one long jam session) or how hammond organs point accents in the other part. We won't. Album's name basically explains what we can expect from it. It's gonna be psychedelic. And very spacious. But somehow we can consider that piece in terms of ambient too. It's a recording of some process but also a trip. As band themselves said, it's all about the trip, the melodies, cool ideas and time they spend together.  It's all about the trip...

There is something magical in improvisation. Well Keith Jarrett is a master of it but he is there on his own. He got idea in his head and just play it. Its about one mind drifting away. When band is jamming there is multiple artists trying to find same path, follow same melody even though they never heard it before. And this is how melody rises from the chaos like a phoenix from the dust. It is somehow similar to looking after two babies. It's a try to control the chaos. But it is just a try. Nothing works, everything falls apart you slowly loose your mind. And then in one moment most ridiculous thing become best solution to calm the baby. It works just fine and all chaos turn into harmony! But in real life baby won't stay interested in one thing for long and that's when it all fall apart like a house of cards and you have to start from the beginning. That's why improvisation is so amazing and so interesting and unique. Black Moon Circle recorded this session in March 2017, violins and vocals were added later. But these are just details. Core of the music was improvised and it is simply stunning. Relaxing and disturbing in a same time. Spacious and psychedelically trippy. 

Psychedelic Spaclord was released as CD and as vinyl. Vinyl is coloured as red marble and looks fabulous. It is really well pressed and sounds good too. There is CD included in this release so you can easily compare both versions. I found vinyl softer which is only in plus for this album. We also got a gatefold with beautiful graphic inside. If you'd expect Spacelord's portrait on the cover you will be disappointed. It's at the back. Pointing at you. Wearing motorbike googles, so it seem he invites you for a motorbike trip. It's all about trip...


Ghost - Prequelle

On Instagram community it was one of the hottest premieres in a long time. Fourth Ghost's long play, Papa Emeritus III is gone, now it's time for Cardinal Copia... 
OK, let's start more from the beginning.

Ghost is a Swedish metal band, however "metal" is quite wide term here. It is anywhere between Black Sabbath and Kiss. What do we know about metal in general? It worships devil of course. So Ghost is as satanistic as it can be. But it's hard to treat it all very serious. Since the first releases they were quite enigmatic. No one knew who really is behind the project. All information we had was that it is sung by Papa Emeritus I and accompanied with Group of Nameless Ghouls. On second album we noticed Papa Emeritus I was replaced with Papa Emeritus II. On third album... well, yes, you guessed it. Band leader was masked and wore dark pope robes and coronet, Ghouls wore tuxedos and mouthless masks. In five years from debut "Opvs Eponymovs" to last "Meliora" band become large metal stars, playing tours across the globe, while still staying anonymous. And then something happened. Few former member sued Tobias Forge, head of the project,  for money of course. World get know the real name of Papa. Since the beginning music of Ghost was very melodic, with retro style heavy guitar riffs. As long as the debut was a bit rougher than following two records, we could say whole discography was very consistent. Something had to change now. Tobias said he won't stop and band will become even more theatrical. Few months ago on group's Facebook we could find few videos where we could see how Papa Nihil (new dark pope) was stepping away to give leadership to younger and more vital Cardinal Copia. Just before world premiere of fourth record Ghost hosted press conference where they displayed glass sarcophaguses  with dead bodies of all three Papas. And with the first day of June we got "Prequelle".

It is probably even more melodic then ever before. Some could say it's almost pop-ish? In a same time new songs are more progressive, with all orchestral parts, there are even two instrumental tracks! In some way it's less dark too. From the intro we got bunch of great, juicy riffs, full of energy. But with B side music slows down and even though it is very melodic it becomes melancholic. Amazing "Witch Image" turns into instrumental "Helvetesfonster" which turns into final "Life Eternal", the whole which left me with mouth wide open. Tobias did it again. He gave the world brilliant metal parody with absolutely beautiful music. I think that is the whole power of Ghost. Ridiculous story behind it, staying in role all the time, but it is all reinforced by best metal melodies ever written. Prequelle has the spirit of previous pieces and even though it's more progressive and modern it still reminds me of these wonderful times when rock and roll turned slowly into heavy metal. It is a heritage of Black Sabbath, Kiss, Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin and Manowar! 

Ghost always knew how to please fans who buy records. Every album had few variants of vinyl, which are now quite expensive. First single "Elisabeth" was released on 7" only and some versions  of it are going up to €1000. "Prequelle" on the premiere day was announced in over 30 variants including limited colorful vinyl, CDs, cassettes and even 8trackers! I got limited to 5000 copies red translucent with black smoke vinyl record. This version also has same red 7" with two tracks including Pet Shop Boys cover "It's a sin" (sic!) and a poster, but most importantly it is so far the only version with lenticular 3D cover! I'd love to show you the picture of it but I just can't snap it with one lens. I just can't! You have to believe me it looks absolutely stunning. Record sounds really good however I've seen some complaints on it. Well, at the end of the day it was pressed in 5000 copies, some of them will be made with wore matrix plates. This version would be the perfect one of only it would be in a gatefold but when you make so many variants you just can't make one as ultimate! Still though, straight to the top of my fav records of all times!