Queensrÿche - Queensrÿche (2013)  ©2013 Century Media Records
I have to be honest. After the catastrophe that was 'Dedicated to Chaos', I had basically all but given up on a band that I had a huge passion for for many years. Fast forward to 2013 and new vocalist Todd La Torre. The band have returned in many ways to the sound that fans have been asking for. This is the Queensrÿche that I remember. The writing is very good with many atmospheric elements restored as they used to be.  It may be a bit short, but it's all quality. I am really looking forward to where the band goes next as my faith is now restored. This one comes highly Recommended!
Psychothermia - Fall to the Rising Sun  ©2013 Psychothermia LLC
Formerly know as Canobliss, Psychothermia return with the bands first full length album since the change. The band released an e.p. that wet the appetitie of fans. Some of those songs ended up on this latest slab. Canobliss is a heavy more modern tinged band that aren't afraid to take risk. Lighting one's self on fire for a video is definitely taking risk. The music is really consistent and heavy throughout. At time I was thinking Rage Against the Machine due to similarity in places with vocals. The band show continued growth and have released a good record once again for more modern fans. Good stuff!
Alice in Chains - The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here   ©2013 Capitol Records
'The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here' marks the return of one of the grunge movements best acts and the second with new vocalist William DuVall. The album gets going with a classic Alice in Chains sound. Slow, dark, chugging rhythms. This sets the tone for most of the album. Towards the middle of the album it has a bit of a lull where it starts feeling routine in a way. The album does however pick back up and provides the listener with a decent listen. It's a minor dip in quality when compared to 'Black Gives Way to Blue', but still a fairly decent record. If you are a fan, you'll probably already have this.
Red - Release the Panic   ©2013 Provident Label Group
Became a huge fan of this band a few years ago. Normally, I would be drawn more to the melodic and atmospheric stuff this band does. This record was quite different for me. What drew me in was the flat out rockers, and there are quite a few. The melodic stuff on this record as usual is quite good, but I keep going back to the heavier stuff. It is also worth mentioning the videos. If you haven't been following these, you really ought to. There is a continuing cinematic element that keeps it interesting and add even more dimension to what these guys do. This is a pretty complete album!
Oliva - Raise the Curtain   ©2013 AFM Records
The first official solo release from Jon Oliva is upon us. What makes this release special is it basically wraps up the last of the material that Jon and Criss worked on together. It's all out there now. Of Jon's releases post-Savatage, this is the most Savatage sounding in my opinion. It has that haunting depth that Savatage was known for. It's not his heaviest work as there is alot of moody mid tempo stuff, but the overall feel of this album would no doubt make Criss proud. Jon has relied on this type of material for awhile and it will be interesting to see where he goes next musically. Maybe more Savatage?