Rokubota wrote:I'm glad they're still alive.
Schaffer hasn't written a killer and fresh riff in decades, he is done as a songwriter IMO and there's nothing really inspired in his music anymore. ATITM had some good songs but terrible production, ATEOT had Wheel Of Time and a better production but that's it.
I want a killer album but it's very unlikely this late in their career. Those iconic songs are very hard to do. Fiddler was the last time Hansi was truly inspired IMO.
I have to strongly disagree with you on this. I do feel that apart from the Gettysburg trilogy and a few songs from the Something Wicked albums, most of IE's material was quite mediocre between Horror Show and Dystopia. But Dystopia on the other hand is IMO by far IE's best album since Something Wicked This Way Comes and it almost ranks as high as Night of the Stormrider, Burnt Offerings, The Dark Saga and SWTWC in my books. Dystopia is refreshingly different, but also it ties in nicely with the themes introduced in Something Wicked storylines, even though in Something Wicked the point-of-view to this dystopian imaginary (or whatever I shall call it, I hope you get what I'm trying to say here
) was quite fantasy-based, whereas Dystopia looks at similar themes from more scifi-like and realistic viewpoints. As much as I love Matt Barlows voice (I had the honour to hear the second-to-last gig with him as IE's vocalist), I clearly see that the restrictions which Barlows return imposed on the band would've just slowly strangled the whole band. In retrospective it would've been better to let Ripper handle the worst IE album ever, The Crucible of Man, and then skip straight to Block as a vocalist. For some reason I've had The Plagues of Babylon in my shelf for over six months now but I've still not listened to it once. I don't actually know why, but thus I can't offer any opinion on it.
But as this forum is about BG and not IE, I have to say that I similarly rank AtEoT as BG's fourth best album, and in my opinion it's only surpassed by IftOS, NiME and ANatO. Actually I recognize the same thing bestpike already said: AtEoT is really strong as a complete album, and it means both that there are absolutely no bad, no mediocre or even no "just-goodish" songs on the album, but somehow I also feel that it misses the absolute killers and highpoints, which are present in most BG albums. The exception being, apart from AtEoT, IftOS which is just packed with such terrific songs from first to last, that none of them outshine each other. That is also why AtEoT does not rank in my personal top-3 of BG albums, the albums is very strong indeed, but it's not quite enough to lift it to the paramount heights of IftOS.
Still it's a huge improvent when compared to ATitM, which, I have to confess, was a bit of a disapointment to me. ATitM is in no way a bad album (it's not possible for a BG album to be "bad", that would be blasphemous
) but for me it ranks to the bottom of the scale together with BoF and FtB, and I consider it "just" a good album. It does contain some very good tracks and actually, as it is propably the record I listen to the least from all BG albums, every time I decide to give it a spin, I'm actually suprised how good the album actually is. It's just that after the three miracles of IftOS, NiME and ANatO, ATitM was a bit of a letdown and thus that slight disapointment still shadows my opinion on the poor album still
I'm being unfair towards ATitM!
Therefore, as ATitM was a bit of a letdown and AtEoT came as a pleasent surprise to me, I once again have high hopes for the upcoming album. And thusfar nothing has given me reason to doubt that the band wouldn't be able to rival AtEoT in quality of the songs.
As to the discussion about Machados artworks, I too do hope that the band would consider using a different artist in the future. His artworks are nice, but as others have said, they have this mass-produced vibe on them. In my opinion, even if someone would describe his artworks as "easily marketable", I'd actually argue that nowadays he is so overused that all his works just blend into this indistinguishable mess of endless covers. No cover and no band stand apart from each other and the consumer would never be able to guess which artists album cover he or she would be looking at if there wasn't a logo printed on top of the artwork. How can you successfully market a product, if all the products you're trying to sell look exactly the same? I still have my doubts about the petition though. I'm thinking it's propably not the best way to try to influence the band. Maybe we could insted try it the postive way, let's say get everybody to buy a few more shirts and flags with Marschalls artwork on them and press the merchandise-retailers to reprint old shirts?
And then during the upcoming tour everybody in the audience would be wearing a shirt with Marschalls artwork instead of the newer ones!