What I've been listening to-
Megadeth - Dystopia
The band released their 15th album this past January and is the first since 2004 and 2007 to not feature their longtime drummer Shawn Drover and guitarist Chris Broderick. Interestingly enough, the two announced their departure last November and formed a new band altogether. Nonetheless, the album is a fiercely aggressive album with tons of riffs and some might say that it's a return to form by the band after their last album Super Collider. Boosted by killer tracks like Lying in State, The Threat Is Real and Fatal Illusion, the album hosts some atypical tracks you wouldn't normally associate with the band. Tracks like the sole instrumental track Conquer or Die! features plenty of acoustic guitars from new guitarist Kiko Loureiro then rips into a full-blown metal barrage. A very solid album by the band overall.
Dream Theater - The Astonishing
There's a lot of music to listen to with Dream Theater's 13th album The Astonishing; it may even be too much for one single play through all at once. With over a little two hours of material, the band's second concept album features a wide range of styles matched by masterful song writing by guitarist John Petrucci and keyboardist Jordan Rudess with strong lead vocals by James LaBrie. Considering the storyline and the need for many different characters, LaBrie plowed through and delivered a great performance. Songs like Three Days, The Path That Divides and Moment of Betrayal are some of the standout tracks. It will definitely take a few more listens by me to get the full experience.
Trivium - Silence in the Snow
I'm not that big of a fan for screaming/harsh vocals so to hear that Trivium finally did an album without any harsh vocals certainly stirred my interest. Released in October 2015, this album is the band's seventh release. It seems like the band is trying to move away from their traditional niche sound and more towards a deliberate, "popular" sound that was usually devoid from their previous releases. The title track, Blind Leading the Blind and The Ghost That's Haunting You still have crunching riffs but at a more relaxed pace.
Iron Maiden - The Book of Souls
After five years from their last album, Iron Maiden released their 16th and first double album back in September. The original release date and subsequent tour were delayed so singer Bruce Dickinson can recuperate from a small battle of cancer but the band is currently on tour supporting the album. Not straying from the band's signature post-2000 sound, the album has plenty of songs that herald as "classic" Maiden including Speed of Light, the title track and The Red and the Black. The album's last track runs at slightly over 18 minutes and can be referred to as a cinematic powerhouse. Another standout track is Tears of a Clown, whom bassist Steve Harris wrote it about Robin Williams' depression and suicide in 2014. The album is great by Maiden's standards and I think it's amazing that Dickinson did his vocals before receiving his cancer treatment.