Just when you thought things might be slowing down, we get a flood of new songs from albums I'm anticipating, so that means we have to find the time to squeeze in early thoughts on what they mean for the future. Let's go:
Ghost - Rats
With "Meliora", Ghost finally found their true selves. They made an album that was metal, that was accessible, that was all things to all people, and contained the best songs they had yet written. They crossed over into the mainstream, a rare feat, which means this album is going to be one of the most scrutinized of the entire year. This first single is.... clearly not as good as "Cirice".
That song was like a cannon blasting off next to your ear, while this one is more of a standard Ghost song. We get the echoing vocals, the simple riffs that occasionally find a great groove, and moments of darkly hooky brilliance. The section leading out of the second and third chorus is the best part, doing everything Ghost should. This one isn't amazing, but Ghost's lineup woes don't seem to have impacted them much. That's a relief.
Letters From The Fire - Comfort You
This band grew on me. I liked their first album when I first heard it, but it inched up in my esteem with more time. They also underwent a change, with a new singer taking over. This first taste shows a different attitude for the band, shifting into a more take-charge, ass-kicking group. As a single, it does exactly what it's supposed to. It concisely reminds you that they can rock, their new singer fits right in, and they can write some good songs. Hopefully some of the emotional approach from the first album will be somewhere in the track listing, but this is a good start.
Trillium - Time To Shine
Amanda Somerville doesn't always get talked about, since she often is a guest, rather than the star. This is her vehicle, and the first album from it was a very good effort with a few true standout songs. This song tells me already that album number two should be a fine continuation. Trillium's music is dark and ethereal, with Amanda's voice dominating, as it should. She is a fantastic singer, and always stands out as being someone just a little bit different.
This song is everything I could want from Trillium. It has the right sound, and Amanda's melodies are smooth in floating over the metal. As a taste, it definitely whets my appetite. I'm very much looking forward to hearing what else Trillium has in store for us.
Seventh Wonder - Victorious
Here's a popular/unpopular opinion; Seventh Wonder is a better vehicle for Tommy Karevic than Kamelot. The latter might be the bigger band, but the former is the more interesting one. Having just heard a Kamelot record that I'm having trouble remembering individual moments from, this came at just the right time to prove my point. This is what prog metal is all about, combining the tricky times and rhythms with Tommy's gloriously pop melodies. It's bright, shiny, and signals a warning to the rest of the prog metal community. Seventh Wonder is doing this music as well as anyone does, and this song leads me to think they've delivered another great record.