Author Topic: Katt's Top 50 Albums v. I bless the rains down in Africa [#1]  (Read 17551 times)

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Offline Kattelox

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You're so corny. Go shuck yourself  :lol
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Offline TAC

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would have thought the same thing but seeing the OP was TAC i immediately thought Maiden or DT related
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Offline Grappler

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I love Eminem.  Don't own any of his music, bit his way with words and rhyming is amazing.  Definitely the most talented rapper of the last 20 years.  Without Me is such an awesome song.

"So the F-C-C won't let me be or let me be me so let me see
They tried to shut me down on M-T-V
But it feels so empty without me"

Offline Sacul

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I think I've seen a few people here mention Kendrick Lamar is actually really good.  I haven't checked him out but I could see that being cool.
The album that Katt mentioned is amazing and got me into hip-hop - it's so diverse musically, cinematic in mood, and both fun and tragic lyrically.

Offline Kattelox

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Yeah, To Pimp A Butterfly is incredible. The track For Sale? is one of my favorites.

I love Eminem.  Don't own any of his music, bit his way with words and rhyming is amazing.  Definitely the most talented rapper of the last 20 years.  Without Me is such an awesome song.

"So the F-C-C won't let me be or let me be me so let me see
They tried to shut me down on M-T-V
But it feels so empty without me"

His rhyming ability is so good. His Chloraseptic remix verse taking aim at all the haters is so fucking good.

Also, everybody needs to listen to Eminem's words remixed as a Talking Heads song. Could be the greatest thing ever.
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Offline Kattelox

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24.
POWER QUEST
NEVERWORLD

Melodic Power Metal

released October 22nd, 2003 via Now & Then Records



1. Neverworld (Power Quest, Part II) [8:59]
2. Temple of Fire [4:08]
3. Edge of Time [5:51]
4. Sacred Land [5:27]
5. When I'm Gone [6:26]
6. For Evermore [6:43]
7. Well of Souls [6:17]
8. Into the Light [5:12]
9. Lost Without You [10:43]

NEVERWORLD is

Steve Williams (Keyboards / Backing vocals)
Steve Scott (Bass / Backing vocals)
Alessio Garavello (Lead vocals)
André Bargmann (Drums)
Andrea Martongelli (Guitars / Backing vocals)

WITH

Sabine Edelsbacher (Vocals on 9)
Clive Nolan (Backing vocals)
Richard West (Keyboard solo on 2)
Karl Groom (Lead guitars on 6)
Julie Laughton (Cello / Flute)
Sam Totman (Additional guitars)

There are various schools of thought on what is the best stylistic approach to power metal. For me, Power Quest leans heavily into one of the best subgenres of power metal, the kind that's generally written by keyboardists (as this album is) – heavy influence from keyboards and synthesizer patches, strong positive chord progressions and happy melodies, and choruses dripping with sugar, spice, and everything nice.

It's melodic power metal at its core, but a cheeky bastard would call it Super Nintendo Van Halen Metal. The keyboards on a few songs sound like juiced up versions of Van Halen's “Jump” - like “Edge of Time” and “For Evermore” - but it's a distinct sound. The strong 80s influence coats this album like a thin film. I suppose it's pretty reminiscent of old school video game sounds which is a huge turnoff to a lot of people, but to me, I love it, it's just a really pleasant sonic texture. Same goes for that really bright grand piano patch you can hear on “When I'm Gone.” I LOVE that kind of sound.

Alessio Garavello is – par for the power metal course – a polarizing singer whose accent and nasally high notes will make or break the music for most people. I personally love it, but sometimes the high notes enter the squealing territory which is impressive but not always nice to hear. Overall I think he does an incredible job singing some extraordinarily high vocal parts, and because he sings them with so much power he's a big reason why Neverworld is considered a classic power metal album these days.

If there are some objective flaws to this album, it's the production for sure. It's not all it could be, and it sacrifices punch in the bottom end to make enough room for everything going on up in the stratosphere. It's not a huge negative to me, but it's an album that demands some equalizer tweaking to make the most of it.

In Summary: It's a shame that Power Quest has been on a rocky road for a little over a decade, since the core lineup of Steve Williams and the Italian guys ended, because this is a classic power metal album with just the right blend of musical sounds to help them stand out among the crowd. This came out towards the end of power metal's golden era and in my opinion is one of the last of its kind. I just haven't heard anything quite like this in the 12 years since I first heard this album. A good album is all about creating a pleasant sonic landscape for your ears to enjoy and although it's not for everyone this album's got a sound I crave like a junkie. You want so many strong melodies even the solos are infectious? Look no further.

Katt's Favorites: Neverworld, Temple of Fire, Edge of Time, For Evermore, Into the Light

Listen to “Neverworld” by Power Quest on Spotify
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Offline Puppies_On_Acid

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I haven't listened to this album, but I have heard Magic Never Dies and Sixth Dimension, which are both fun albums. I'll have to check this one out.
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Offline Kattelox

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I haven't listened to this album, but I have heard Magic Never Dies and Sixth Dimension, which are both fun albums. I'll have to check this one out.

You'll have fun with Neverworld for sure!
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Offline 425

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You sent the song Magic Never Dies from these guys in my roulette and I found it a bit too cheesy for my preference, but I may give this album a shot. I'm trying to listen to at least all the power metal from your list.
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Offline Stadler

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I think I played Power Quest on the Atari 2600.  Or was it the NES?  I forget. 

Offline Puppies_On_Acid

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I think I played Power Quest on the Atari 2600.  Or was it the NES?  I forget.
You mean the Power Glove!?

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Offline Kattelox

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Was kinda hoping more people would at least try Power Quest, that's a shame. Love the blend of 80s keyboards with happy power metal.

Uninteresting record #23 coming in hot.
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Offline TAC

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I feel like I have Power Quest somewhere in my music, but I can't seem to find it.

I'll check it out. Just haven't had the time yet.
would have thought the same thing but seeing the OP was TAC i immediately thought Maiden or DT related
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Offline Kattelox

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Katt's Top 50 Albums v. The dark lord finally returns to Eldergrave [#23]
« Reply #783 on: July 02, 2019, 08:41:38 AM »
23.
FAIRYLAND
THE FALL OF AN EMPIRE
Epic Symphonic Metal

released November 24th, 2006 via Napalm Records



1. Endgame (instrumental) [1:16]
2. The Fall of an Empire [5:55]
3. Lost in the Dark Lands [6:01]
4. Slaves Forlorn (instrumental) [1:11]
5. The Awakening [4:50]
6. Eldanie Uellë [5:21]
7. Clanner of the Light [6:01]
8. To the Havenrod (instrumental) [1:05]
9. The Walls of Laemnil [5:57]
10. Anmorkenta [6:01]
11. In Duna [5:02]
12. The Story Remains [10:38]
13. Look Into Lost Years [3:04]
14. Across the Endless Sea [5:31]

THE FALL OF AN EMPIRE is

Philippe Giordana (Keyboards / Backing vocals / All composition & songwriting)
Max Leclercq (Lead vocals)
Anthony Parker (Lead guitars)
Thomas Cesario (Bass / Rhythm and lead guitars)
Pierre-Emmanuel Desfray (Drums)

WITH

Sarah Layssac (Lead vocals on 11)
Flora Spinelli (Lead vocals on 13 / Female vocals on 6)

This album was written entirely by keyboardist Philippe Giordana, who is the mastermind behind the French band Fairyland, and it shows. Each album takes place within his fictional fantasy world and is a concept record, but you can get by without ever digesting much of the plot. The record is already gloriously cheesy and epic enough; the plot is like the handful of cheese you add in to thicken it up.

Each track is a small epic in its own right, drenched in a virtual orchestra synthesized by the keyboards. At times the synthetic horns sound obviously cheap and dated, but the composition is smart and sophisticated enough to redeem the occasional low quality sound, and in a strange way adds a bit of unique charm to the record. The layers are intricate and dance with each other in such a way it sounds as if each orchestral instrument is an equal member to the core band. The piano gives way to bells and plays with woodwinds as horns swell and cry behind them, choirs bolster verses in languages both real and fabricated, and the strings do everything from taking the lead with fiery motifs (“The Fall of an Empire,” “Lost in the Dark Lands”) to laying down intelligent rhythmic patterns (“Eldanie Uellë”). The piano gets many moments to shine including a gorgeous solo in “The Awakening”.

“In Duna” and “Look Into Lost Years” are two orchestral songs without any semblance of rock or metal; two black sheep on the album, but two of my favorites (then again, every song is my favorite here). The three interludes are entirely choral and symphonic, and the 10 minute epic is carried largely by more strings and piano. But it’s not all sugar and gumdrops – while the production isn’t as good as it could be, there are some genuinely heavy, fast moments and entire songs on this record. The title track, “Lost in the Dark Lands,” “Clanner of the Light,” “Anmorkenta,” “The Story Remains,” and “The Walls of Laemnil” all feature some combination of speedy riffing and drumming, mighty riffs, grand vocal choruses, and shreddy solos. Is it enough to satisfy pure metalheads? Probably not. But a pure metalhead probably isn’t even reading this, so…

In Summary: This is an incredibly difficult album to sell anyone unless they’re super into power/symphonic metal and/or all things fantasy. This is a record I would play over and over and over again while playing video games, especially World of Warcraft,  but I also play it at any time of day, while driving, working out, doing chores… It’s one of the most creative, powerful albums on my top 50 list with some undeniably beautiful composition. Best I can tell anyone is to just give it a shot and listen with an open mind. Try the favorites, they’re to die for.

Katt’s Favorites: Lost in the Dark Lands, The Awakening, Clanner of the Light, The Walls of Laemnil, The Story Remains

Listen to “The Fall of an Empire” by Fairyland on Spotify

***

Story synopsis from the album booklet:

Quote
Across the mountains...
Across the seas...
Across the skies and space...
Across time...

There was a land the gods named Osyrhia. On this land they rose 7 continents. On each of these continents, they put a king and to each king, they gave a stone... In its youth, this land was of incredible beauty. Its wealth and the wisdom of its inhabitants filled the Gods with contentment. So many wonders at reach could only call for envy. So came an evil being, whose heart was blinded by jealousy and selfishness. He was the first to brave the gentle Gods. But he was not alone... Eager for power, many followed him and soon tried by force to take over the wonders of Osyrhia. In time, this dark being was known from all as Cenos, "he who gathers" in the old language, and the bards still call him the "Traveller", as he could cross whole continents to bring death and desolation. As a wave of chaos swept over Osyrhia, the Gods held a council and together joined their forces to banish evil and bring the peace back to their people. The very souls of Cenos and his followers were locked for thousand years. In their wisdom, the Gods gave the seven continental stones their power, so their people could protect their land and keep the evil souls in their elder grave. And if Cenos could gather the wick, the stones would unify all of Osyrhia's inhabitants. Nothing could defeat the guardian stones' power of unity. It was then said that in time, a young human would get the power from the stones and guide all the people in their fight against darkness. So ended the days of wealth. A thousand years have now gone by, and evil slowly awakes. In his uneasy sleep, a young man makes a strange dream...

As the story goes: Following the events accounted in the "Of Wars In Osyrhia" chapter, the armies of the light fought bravely at the battle of Laemnil, but were soon outnumbered by the legions of Cenos. The bearers of the Guardian Stones were slain, and the Stones themselves hidden in the fallen citadel of Laemnil. The armies of Osyrhia were led to their final destinations in Kalia, Duna and Eldergrave, where they would meet what fate Cenos had planed for them...
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Offline Kattelox

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There are 3 non-metal albums in a row coming up soon, for those waiting for something different  :lol
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Offline jingle.boy

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I've got all three albums saved on Spotify.  Can't remember a thing about them other than they were all very enjoyable to listen to.  I'll fire this one up later today.

According to Wikipedia, they have a release pending this year?
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Offline Kattelox

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I've got all three albums saved on Spotify.  Can't remember a thing about them other than they were all very enjoyable to listen to.  I'll fire this one up later today.

According to Wikipedia, they have a release pending this year?

Glad you enjoyed them!! Yes, the fourth album Osyrhianta is coming out this fall, I've been waiting over 10 years now and it's my most anticipated album of the year. Score to a New Beginning came out just before I graduated high school!
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Offline pg1067

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I think that, in 9/10 bands, suggesting "Fairyland" as a band name for a metal band would get a person immediately kicked out of the band.
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Offline TAC

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There are 3 non-metal albums in a row coming up soon, for those waiting for something different  :lol

Starting with this one? :lol
would have thought the same thing but seeing the OP was TAC i immediately thought Maiden or DT related
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Offline Kattelox

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There are 3 non-metal albums in a row coming up soon, for those waiting for something different  :lol

Starting with this one? :lol

You're about as funny as a hemorrhoid you know that?  :biggrin:  :lol
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Offline Stadler

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Was kinda hoping more people would at least try Power Quest, that's a shame. Love the blend of 80s keyboards with happy power metal.

Uninteresting record #23 coming in hot.

Brother, I'm making jokes, because that's what I do.  But I've got about four albums I'm going to try to check out over the 4th holiday and Power Quest is one of them.    I can't speak for anyone else, but still very interested in the list, even if most of it (BECAUSE most of it?) is new to me. 

Offline Kattelox

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Was kinda hoping more people would at least try Power Quest, that's a shame. Love the blend of 80s keyboards with happy power metal.

Uninteresting record #23 coming in hot.

Brother, I'm making jokes, because that's what I do.  But I've got about four albums I'm going to try to check out over the 4th holiday and Power Quest is one of them.    I can't speak for anyone else, but still very interested in the list, even if most of it (BECAUSE most of it?) is new to me.

Oh I'm not offended if that's what you're wondering  :lol I just don't want to bore people. I think it's cool you're interested despite not knowing much of what's on the table here.
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Offline cramx3

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I've been away all weekend (3 day weekend for me) and back to work now which is busy so I haven't checked into this thread at all or checked anything out lately.  Probably not going to be able to just yet either.  I haven't even heard of the last two bands before.

Offline Stadler

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Was kinda hoping more people would at least try Power Quest, that's a shame. Love the blend of 80s keyboards with happy power metal.

Uninteresting record #23 coming in hot.

Brother, I'm making jokes, because that's what I do.  But I've got about four albums I'm going to try to check out over the 4th holiday and Power Quest is one of them.    I can't speak for anyone else, but still very interested in the list, even if most of it (BECAUSE most of it?) is new to me.

Oh I'm not offended if that's what you're wondering  :lol I just don't want to bore people. I think it's cool you're interested despite not knowing much of what's on the table here.

Well, I keep getting these songs in my roulettes, and there's just SO MUCH MUSIC out there, it's impossible to keep up.  But Ayreon, Power Quest, Evergrey, and a couple others from your list (I don't have my list in front of me) are going to get a little of Stadler's time.  Hopefully it'll pay off.

Offline Kattelox

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You can skip Neveryay.
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Offline wolfking

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I own only 1 Fairyland album.  Dunno the name, it's not this one but it's really good.

Offline Kattelox

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I own only 1 Fairyland album.  Dunno the name, it's not this one but it's really good.

I'm going to assume it's Score to a New Beginning, their last one. That is an incredible record.
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Katt's Top 50 Albums v. I know I can't stay by your side forever [#22]
« Reply #797 on: July 03, 2019, 01:31:41 PM »
22.
STRATOVARIUS
VISIONS
Power Metal

released April 28th, 1997 via T&T Records



1. The Kiss of Judas [5:49]
2. Black Diamond [5:39]
3. Forever Free [6:00]
4. Before the Winter [6:07]
5. Legions [5:43]
6. The Abyss of Your Eyes [5:38]
7. Holy Light (instrumental) [5:45]
8. Paradise [4:27]
9. Coming Home [5:36]
10. Visions (Southern Cross) [10:15]

VISIONS is

Timo Tolkki (Guitars / Backing vocals)
Timo Kotipelto (Lead vocals)
Jari Kainulainen (Bass)
Jens Johansson (Keyboards)
Jörg Michael (Drums)

WITH

Kimmo Blom (Backing vocals)
Marko Vaara (Backing vocals)
Richard Johnson (Backing vocals)
James M. Johnson (Narration on 10)

FINLAND!!!!

This album is so iconic to power metal that I have almost never heard negative criticism of this album from anyone even remotely interested in metal of this style. It is generally considered the fan favorite album, almost universally considered Stratovarius’s best album, and is arguably the most important record of their career.

Several of the songs on this album have become staples in the band’s live set over the last 22 years. “The Kiss of Judas” opens the album perfectly as a midtempo rocker with a crunchy riff and a big loud drum beat you can easily bob your head to. “Black Diamond” is one of the band’s most iconic songs featuring an incredible harpsichord motif and one of the finest keyboard-guitar dueling solos in the entire genre, Malmsteen-esque in nature but distinctly Stratovarius in the melodic phrasings and progressions (Jens Johansson, keyboards, was Malmsteen’s keyboardist for a time in the 80s). “Forever Free” embodies everything about Timo Tolkki’s positive lyricism despite sounding like a derivative of “Tomorrow” from their previous album. “Paradise” is a song about mankind’s effect on the planet with one of their finest choruses. “Coming Home” might be the fan favorite ballad, although it’s not personally mine, and “Visions” is a monumental epic with some impressive high notes from Timo Kotipelto.

The rest of the album ebbs and flows, and my mileage varies with these tracks. “The Abyss of Your Eyes” is a nice groovy rocker which you wouldn’t totally expect on a power metal record, and “Before the Winter” is a sappy ballad. “Legions” is the token song a lot of bands write about their fans, in this case the fan clubs that once made up the Legions of the Twilight in the 90s. “Holy Light” is a typical Timo Tolkki instrumental that follows a template that I personally think gets old rather quickly but in and of itself it is a pretty good neoclassical instrumental piece – just a bit too long.

The title track is where, up to this point in Stratovarius’s career, Timo Tolkki really began to solidify his hippie, tree-hugging ideology, complete with quotes from Nostradamus. God bless Timo Kotipelto and his singing on this song, it’s crazy how good he was in his prime. Although Timo Tolkki did 99% of the songwriting on this record (and most of the others) it’s this lineup that was able to put out consistently amazing record after record, this being their second.

In Summary: Black Diamond was one of the first metal songs I ever heard, not just power metal, and if I’m being honest with myself I think it’s one of the best songs I have ever heard. It embodies everything that’s amazing about power metal, a genuine life-changing song when I heard it. Visions really put Stratovarius on the map and came out right at the onset of the golden age of power metal. Sonata Arctica and many other power metal bands probably would not have existed without this record, or at least would not have created magical power metal in this style without it. Give it a try.

Katt’s Favorites: The Kiss of Judas (music video), Black Diamond (music video), Forever Free, Paradise, Visions (Southern Cross)

You can listen to Stratovarius on Spotify here but you can’t listen to most of Visions because Stratovarius/their label seems to switch out their catalog every few months on the damn service so w/e
« Last Edit: July 03, 2019, 01:39:22 PM by Kattelox »
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Offline wolfking

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I own only 1 Fairyland album.  Dunno the name, it's not this one but it's really good.

I'm going to assume it's Score to a New Beginning, their last one. That is an incredible record.

Yep, that's the one.

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Re: Katt's Top 50 Albums v. I know I can't stay by your side forever [#22]
« Reply #799 on: July 03, 2019, 03:09:10 PM »
Visions.  What a fucking masterpiece of an album.

Offline jingle.boy

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Re: Katt's Top 50 Albums v. I know I can't stay by your side forever [#22]
« Reply #800 on: July 04, 2019, 05:47:18 AM »
Listening to a full-album rip on YT right now.  Could be purchase-worth (damn Spotify!)
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Re: Katt's Top 50 Albums v. I know I can't stay by your side forever [#22]
« Reply #801 on: July 04, 2019, 06:12:03 AM »
Could be purchase-worth (damn Spotify!)

Could be??  :lol

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Re: Katt's Top 50 Albums v. I know I can't stay by your side forever [#22]
« Reply #802 on: July 04, 2019, 06:41:11 AM »
YES!   Visions was pretty much my introduction to European power metal in 1998 or 1999.  I was already way into Iced Earth and the heavier American style, but I had never heard the melodic, fast paced, happy style common in Europe.

Kiss of Judas knocked me off of my feet and remains my favorite song of theirs.  Every single song on this record is fantastic and I still play the hell out of it 20 years later.  What an incredible album!

Offline Kattelox

  • Son of a Shepherd and Head of Urban Rangers
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Re: Katt's Top 50 Albums v. I know I can't stay by your side forever [#22]
« Reply #803 on: July 04, 2019, 09:00:51 AM »
 :biggrin: glad to see love for Visions. Chad... buy it!!
DOWN, LOWER, BELOW, AT THE BOTTOM, WHERE THE TRAIN OBSERVES YOU
RYM | Last.FM | Top 50 Albums

Offline wolfking

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Re: Katt's Top 50 Albums v. I know I can't stay by your side forever [#22]
« Reply #804 on: July 04, 2019, 03:53:13 PM »
There is nothing dud or what I would call filler on this album.  It's fucking quality.