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Thread: Band loyalty vs. diminishing returns

  1. #51
    Quote Originally Posted by Lopez View Post
    I'm that way with the Strawbs, Spirit, the Sir Douglas Quintet, and the Byrds. I've been burned by all except for Sir Doug, but I keep at it. Fortunately, there's precious little being currently released by all but the Strawbs.

    Check out Settlement, the latest from the Strawbs. I think it is pretty good. The previous album The Ferryman's Curse is pretty good too.
    Welcome to PE. If you want to watch old men argue about old musicians, you've come to the right place!

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  2. #52
    Really interesting thread with a lot of perspectives. Iíve thought about this topic a lot.

    Generally speaking, Iím in the ďbuy everythingĒ camp.

    I spent $40 on the latest Yes release and genuinely like it.

    $20 for the latest PFM? Sounds good to me.

    Are these albums as good as what came before? Probably not, but they are good, and (Iíll admit) nostalgia is powerful.

    Iíve got another thirty or so years on this planet. Iíll have time to listen to all these albums fully at some point. Rather grab it now before itís OOP (a dreaded word in Club Polmico).
    I want to dynamite your mind with love tonight.

  3. #53
    Quote Originally Posted by polmico View Post
    Really interesting thread with a lot of perspectives. I’ve thought about this topic a lot.

    Generally speaking, I’m in the “buy everything” camp.

    I spent $40 on the latest Yes release and genuinely like it.

    $20 for the latest PFM? Sounds good to me.

    Are these albums as good as what came before? Probably not, but they are good, and (I’ll admit) nostalgia is powerful.

    I’ve got another thirty or so years on this planet. I’ll have time to listen to all these albums fully at some point. Rather grab it now before it’s OOP (a dreaded word in Club Polmico).
    You too? HaHa.. I've used that line with my wife for years.. "I'll never see this one again.. I should get it now.".. In truth if you look at my vinyl collection (over 1000) I only occasionally listen to it anymore.. but with that said.. if I'm in a record store and I see a "clean" cover of something I already own.. often I'll pick it up.. I still have this fantasy of covering one of my walls in my garage/workshop with framed albums.. will I ever get to it? Who knows.. for years I collected albums the way I collected books.. and only this past summer I literally gave away about 500 books.. maybe my vinyl collection will get donated to a nephew of mine who only recently started collecting vinyl..

  4. #54
    Quote Originally Posted by Progbear View Post
    Pekka Pohjola. He has never released a truly bad album.
    You are right on that one, though I have to admit there are more bands that in my opinion never have released a bad album, although they are not always prog.

    I still buy every Bap-album and Wolfgang Niedecken solo.
    Kayak is another autobuy for me, they never disappoint me.
    Kraan ditto, though I have to admit I'm less fond of their pre WiederhŲren albums.

  5. #55
    Quote Originally Posted by Lebofsky View Post
    There are tons of musicians and bands who only improve as they age.

    This aging-into-producing-out-of-touch-garbage phenomenon seems particularly localized to classic prog bands. Or maybe they're the most painful examples.

    As I age, along with many of my peers still in the biz, I find there's an endless well of inspiration and trying to do new things in new ways. The only difference is you kinda don't want to lift heavy gear after a certain point. Which is fine - you can stick with lighter instruments, or find younger people to help out. Doesn't mean you have to stop being creative or weird or whatever. And if you do want to compose pop-ish music, that's great too as long as you're keeping up with the latest trends (which admittedly does gets harder as you get older, but not impossible).

    - Matt
    I tend to agree with that. I don't know why, but I've sometimes had the idea that it's the energy that has left those bands, because the members get older. Non-prog bands, that are perhaps more based on songwriting, might improve on that and because that is the main attraction and it is something that can be improved by learning the tricks of the trade, which takes time, so as time passes they can get better.

  6. #56
    I have three stories around this theme.

    The first is how much my approach to buying music has changed with the advances in technology. I've been lurking more than posting on here since alt.music.progressive. Back in the usenet days, I bought a used CD from someone in Korea solely based on the text review. It became one of my all-time favorite albums - Triple Aspect from a band called Legend. Today, we're Facebook friends with the founder of the band, Steve Paine, although we've never met in person. I've bought their later releases and never been disappointed. As years went on, I was able to find samples of new releases online to help decide what was worth purchasing. I, too, find limited time to listen.

    Some bands I return to in order to see whether their growth direction has aligned with my current tastes. I got into symphonic metal about 15 years ago, particularly with bands that had operatically trained female vocalists. So I had 2 CDs from Nightwish, and saw them right after their first singer, Tarja, left. When I heard that Troy Donockley had joined about a decade later, I went back for more just as Floor Jansen joined. Their next release, Endless Forms Most Beautiful, became another all-time favorite. They have the kind of creativity, and artistic freedom, that I'll support in coming years.

    Then with other bands, it's more like what David Byrne had to say a few years ago. When they grow as artists, going off in new directions, it's lovely to explore whether my tastes have evolved in the same direction. Going from usenet to audio samples, then to YouTube, and now many are on Tidal (hi-def streaming audio that pays artists better than the bigger streaming outlets). I'll buy some because I want to support the artist regardless. I'll give a listen to many others before deciding to purchase.

    Part of me misses the days of NEARFest vendor tables and buying a dozen or more CDs that I'd only heard a little bit about. Part of me still checks out the long-time favorite bands to see what they are up to these days. Part of me loves the fact that I can explore so much more today than ever before - and in high-quality audio. Overall, I keep looking forward, finding new bands and new music, more often than automatically buying a band that I have enjoyed for decades.

  7. #57
    Member Lopez's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Downbytheriver View Post
    Check out Settlement, the latest from the Strawbs. I think it is pretty good. The previous album The Ferryman's Curse is pretty good too.
    I have the The Ferryman's Curse and like it very much. Settlement is on my Christmas list to Santa Claus, which I sent to my daughter in England.
    Lou

    Awarded the Krusty Brand Seal of Approval. It's not just good, it's good enough.

  8. #58
    Quote Originally Posted by chalkpie View Post
    I would trade thousands of my CDs for a new Cardiacs album. That's sort of on-topic right?
    When I listened to new Cardiacs albums I frequently thought "not sure about this one.." but they never failed to be fantastic. My only guaranteed autobuy artists now are Cardiacs (little chance of spending my money here) and Mike Keneally who never fail with the quality

  9. #59
    Quote Originally Posted by boilk View Post
    Randomly scrolling through facebook, I recently saw a post wherein the new Yes album was under discussion and somebody basically said that he was "guilty" of continuing to buy Yes albums, even though he knows they aren't that good, but he does it anyways. He just can't stop himself.

    This got me to thinking about something. How many people stick with a band and continue to buy their output, even though their best stuff may be long behind them. Or perhaps they just made a radical change in direction, that is not to a listener's taste. Do you still support a band in this case and if so, for what reason? Love of the musicians that made so much great music you feel obliged to continue buying their albums? Maybe you loved the band's music so much, that even a release half as good as their 'classic period' say, is still enough?
    Sometimes, a band you like is releasing weaker albums than in their heyday, but you still like what they are doing, or like it somewhat. But when there's a complete disconnect with their new music...? My go-to example is Rush, who I love, but three albums I found little to enjoy in (Counterparts to Vapor Trails) is what it took to stop me from automatically getting each new album.

    Quote Originally Posted by boilk View Post
    Maybe it just feels like a comfortable pair of shoes?
    There's an element to that, but I think that downplays what can be going on. Our perception of music depends on what we've heard before. If you've listened to a billion Yes albums before, or a billion Rush albums or whatever, you are going to hear a new album differently because your brain understands how Steve Howe (or Geddy Lee or whoever) writes a piece of music. That might give a new album an edge for you that you don't get from listening to an entirely new band.
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  10. #60
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    I might have ended up in that situation with Rush, but for obvious reasons that chapter has now closed, and I'm pretty happy with their overall legacy. (Clockwork Angels was a very satisfying album for them to bow out on, personally speaking.) I'd still be interested in any retrospective live albums, but these are drying up, as are the 40th anniversary reissues. The band have moved on and so have I.

    My loyalty purchases these days, are less to do with individual bands and more to do with a single label - Kscope. I made the decision ten years ago to automatically purchase each new release from the label, as I was enjoying the roster of artists and the quality of the physical releases (good packaging, artwork, bonus material at reasonable cost).

    That really broadened my musical horizons, pushing me into new territories that I might otherwise have ignored by sticking to individual bands. And it's been a lot of fun to receive each new cd through the post, unwrapping it and only then discovering what music I was about to hear. (I ignored social media samples and teasers, so that I could enjoy each album "cold").

    Interestingly, in the last couple of years, the label has diversified its roster further, having lost the likes of Steven Wilson and Anathema to other labels. Perhaps in the case of Wilson, that freed up the label's budget to allow it to sign more smaller acts? I also like how the label is also signing "heritage artists" (eg Ozric Tentacles), and giving them a new lease of life by funding new music from them, as well as reissuing out of print albums.

    The only downside to that loyalty is that for all those years, all those purchases, and all those blog reviews, the label is largely aloof when it comes to engaging with fans. It's very guilty of dropping posts on Facebook and inviting fans to respond, but then largely ignoring said posts - basically using it as a lazy dumping ground for promotion purposes. It's a shame, because they're not a major label, and they have an opportunity to nurture a community, especially if they're expecting fans to spread news of releases. I've seen lots of genuinely interesting questions posted by fans, but all ignored.

    But then I've moved on slightly as well - the label's acts are no longer my main focus, so although I still buy the albums and enjoy them, I no longer feel compelled to promote them. It's not a schism by any means, but there comes a point where I recognise that my loyalty to the label is now diminished, much like friends moving on - no ill will, and good memories, but a need for change. And my hours are now better spent enjoying other artists in depth, with Kscope simply now a sideline.

  11. #61
    Quote Originally Posted by Downbytheriver View Post
    I am guilty of that. Although I finally with Steve Hacketts latest release decided enough was enough. I felt like I was buying the same album over and over again. I listened to his latest on Amazon Music and thought to myself how cliched his music has become. I knew I would never listen again. Sad, his first few albums were wonderful.
    In the old days, I was buying CDs unheard all the time, so band/musician loyalty mattered a lot more. It was a guide to help determine what to buy. Nowadays, it's very different. One can frequently listen to a whole album on streaming. That changes everything: it means I am less deciding on "I like what the musicians on this release have done previously" and more on "I like this". That's good for acts new to me!
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  12. #62
    Quote Originally Posted by Zeuhlmate View Post
    Never did, never will.

    Why buy an album you will never listen to?
    I'm definitely going to listen to an album I buy... but whether I'm going to listen to it lots over time... How do you know in advance? In the old days, we had to buy albums unheard. Even now, if an album is available on streaming, albums can take a while to make themselves known to the listener. I'm willing to put my faith in musicians I trust and buy that album, and sit with that album.* That seems entirely natural and sensible.

    The original question was, as I see it, about what happens when/as that faith erodes.

    * I'm doing fine financially. The commitment of my time to listen to an album several times to get to know it is possibly bigger than the monetary cost of buying it. I could afford to buy 5 times as many albums, but I'd not have the time to get to know them.
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  13. #63
    Quote Originally Posted by Valen View Post
    That really broadened my musical horizons, pushing me into new territories that I might otherwise have ignored
    I think that's an important point. What you like isn't fixed. It changes as you listen to different things. I think a "try anything under this rule" approach (be about a particular musician's work or a label or a source of recommendations) can be a good thing because it makes you listen to different things, it makes you like different things. Equally, I'll sometimes impulsively buy something because it's worth throwing some randomness into what I'm hearing.

    It shouldn't be "I like this, so I will buy it". It can be "I will buy this, so I will focus on it and come to like it".
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  14. #64
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    Quote Originally Posted by Valen View Post
    I might have ended up in that situation with Rush, but for obvious reasons that chapter has now closed, and I'm pretty happy with their overall legacy. (Clockwork Angels was a very satisfying album for them to bow out on, personally speaking.) I'd still be interested in any retrospective live albums, but these are drying up, as are the 40th anniversary reissues. The band have moved on and so have I.

    My loyalty purchases these days, are less to do with individual bands and more to do with a single label - Kscope. I made the decision ten years ago to automatically purchase each new release from the label, as I was enjoying the roster of artists and the quality of the physical releases (good packaging, artwork, bonus material at reasonable cost).

    That really broadened my musical horizons, pushing me into new territories that I might otherwise have ignored by sticking to individual bands. And it's been a lot of fun to receive each new cd through the post, unwrapping it and only then discovering what music I was about to hear. (I ignored social media samples and teasers, so that I could enjoy each album "cold").

    Interestingly, in the last couple of years, the label has diversified its roster further, having lost the likes of Steven Wilson and Anathema to other labels. Perhaps in the case of Wilson, that freed up the label's budget to allow it to sign more smaller acts? I also like how the label is also signing "heritage artists" (eg Ozric Tentacles), and giving them a new lease of life by funding new music from them, as well as reissuing out of print albums.

    The only downside to that loyalty is that for all those years, all those purchases, and all those blog reviews, the label is largely aloof when it comes to engaging with fans. It's very guilty of dropping posts on Facebook and inviting fans to respond, but then largely ignoring said posts - basically using it as a lazy dumping ground for promotion purposes. It's a shame, because they're not a major label, and they have an opportunity to nurture a community, especially if they're expecting fans to spread news of releases. I've seen lots of genuinely interesting questions posted by fans, but all ignored.

    But then I've moved on slightly as well - the label's acts are no longer my main focus, so although I still buy the albums and enjoy them, I no longer feel compelled to promote them. It's not a schism by any means, but there comes a point where I recognise that my loyalty to the label is now diminished, much like friends moving on - no ill will, and good memories, but a need for change. And my hours are now better spent enjoying other artists in depth, with Kscope simply now a sideline.
    An interesting approach, I fear that I would end up with too many unliked and unplayed cd's though, I've had enough of those anyway. By the way, Anathema's last album was still on K Scope, they hadn't moved to another label although sadly the band is no more, bankrupted by the lockdowns. I've heard though that Danny Cavanagh has a new solo album on its way and possibly another project too.

  15. #65
    My loyalty purchases these days, are less to do with individual bands and more to do with a single label - Kscope.
    This used to be me with ECM. To a degree it still is.
    I'm not lazy. I just work so fast I'm always done.

  16. #66
    Member wiz_d_kidd's Avatar
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    I'm reminded of a incident with my late grandfather...

    Years ago I bought him a gift basket of food that had different meats and cheeses and crackers. He put one of the summer sausages in his fridge, which was vintage 1950's and barely kept food below 50 deg F. Well, the sausage, not surprisingly, went bad. When I asked him about it, he said... "I had to force myself to eat a little bit of it every day until it was gone. It wouldn't be right to throw it away because part of it might still be good". Ugh!

    I have to wonder if those that auto-buy a bad album force themselves to listen to a little bit every day hoping that there might be some good in it?

  17. #67
    Occipital Provocatee Plasmatopia's Avatar
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    Over the holiday weekend I ran across a Facebook post that was asking if people could distinguish between Coke and Pepsi. The vast and overwhelming majority insisted they could tell, with many people expressing vehemently their love or hate for one or the other. Unfortunately studies say otherwise (in college we proved that over 90% of our psych class couldn't tell the difference between Coke, New Coke, and Pepsi in a blind test) which left me thinking brand loyalty and factors that operate on a primal level like the color and design of the label probably influence taste as much as anything.

    I can't see why music would be any different.
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  18. #68
    Occipital Provocatee Plasmatopia's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wiz_d_kidd View Post
    I'm reminded of a incident with my late grandfather...

    Years ago I bought him a gift basket of food that had different meats and cheeses and crackers. He put one of the summer sausages in his fridge, which was vintage 1950's and barely kept food below 50 deg F. Well, the sausage, not surprisingly, went bad. When I asked him about it, he said... "I had to force myself to eat a little bit of it every day until it was gone. It wouldn't be right to throw it away because part of it might still be good". Ugh!

    I have to wonder if those that auto-buy a bad album force themselves to listen to a little bit every day hoping that there might be some good in it?
    That's awesome! Got a chuckle out of that story.
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  19. #69
    Greetings,

    My take is pretty simple:

    1. In the old days, when you couldn't really hear the majority of a new album if you wanted to buy it anywhere near its time of release: If I love the artist's work and have every reason to believe the new release will be worth owning, I'd generally buy it and hope for the best.

    2. Today, when virtually all new albums can be heard (mostly in full) in advance via Bandcamp, Spotify, or YouTube: I'll have a listen and only buy if I think the music is worthy.

    Though it may seem a bit cold, I don't put focus on band loyalty--especially if I don't know the artist(s) in question personally. In my opinion, there are way too many bands who are just continuing the business long after their inspiration waned--and I have no interest in wasting my time or money on any corresponding inferior output and would also feel badly about subsidizing such drivel.

    Cheers,


    Alan

  20. #70
    That's Mr. to you, Sir!! Trane's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bondegezou View Post
    * I'm doing fine financially. The commitment of my time to listen to an album several times to get to know it is possibly bigger than the monetary cost of buying it. I could afford to buy 5 times as many albums, but I'd not have the time to get to know them.
    that's also a reason why I am careful about buying something despite being able to afford with a problem. But do I need it?

    Quote Originally Posted by wiz_d_kidd View Post
    I have to wonder if those that auto-buy a bad album force themselves to listen to a little bit every day hoping that there might be some good in it?
    My younger brother was a bit like that. He'd keep playing the albums he didn't fancy much, in hope of getting to like it better.
    As if he couldn't stand admitting he'd made a mistake in buying it.
    I used to semi-joke that he'd play the albums he didn't like more often than the ones he liked)

    Quote Originally Posted by AdventAlan View Post
    1. In the old days, when you couldn't really hear the majority of a new album if you wanted to buy it anywhere near its time of release: If I love the artist's work and have every reason to believe the new release will be worth owning, I'd generally buy it and hope for the best.
    2. Today, when virtually all new albums can be heard (mostly in full) in advance via Bandcamp, Spotify, or YouTube: I'll have a listen and only buy if I think the music is worthy.
    Mmmhhh!!!. I had the chance of having to really cool record store owners (one new and the other used) who played the albums and guided me as to the better albums or even telling me to avoid that one. Then in Europe, even still today, most independant record shop owners still let you listen and sample the albums on their deck with headphones on the side of the counter. You can zap thru the tracks as much as you want, take a little more time, etc...
    my music collection increased tenfolds when I switched from drug-addicts to complete nutcases.

  21. #71
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    I remember back in the 90's when the latest wave of prog rock was taking off I was into buying everything by everyone, just on the strength of a review and many side projects too - by the keyboardist of x and the guitarist of y etc etc. That soon led me to a ton of cd's which I ultimately sold, in fact in the last few years I've been getting rid of more cd's than I've been buying. I think I'm getting more fussy as the years move on, there's an increasing danger of 'I've heard it all before' so 'try before you buy' is definitely the way to go.

    One album which I should have bought this year but haven't yet got around to:


  22. #72
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    I guess to further explain what I said earlier -- I think part of my problem with the mindset of "diminishing returns" is it that is kind of causes the older fans to have an attitude of where they need to be the ones that need to "teach" other people what the "real" music is, because somehow the band has lost its way. This kind of turns off new fans though. I mean when I discovered Rush in the mid 90s as a teenager, I was impressed that a band that had been around for nearly 20 years at that point (ancient in rock band terms at that time!) could still sound as relevant now as they did. This was around the Counterparts era too, which I know I saw at least one person say was the era that as an older Rush fan, turned them off. A perfect example -- ones trash is anothers treasure.
    What did Fripp say? Oh yeah, move on. Thats kind of the approach I started to take. If something doesnt tickle my fancy or interest anymore. oh well, time to move on (or listen to the same record 20 more times, because that will never get bad right? ). Going back to Rush, when I got older (past 30, gasp!) I started to notice teens, much like teenage me in the 90s, also at Rush shows -- and I didnt care if their favorite and only album was Clockwork Angels, because hey, I may not love every note of CA but if it clues one person in to the genius of something I like very much, like Rush, then hey who am I to argue if its a "diminishing return" at that point?
    Eagles may soar, but weasels don't get sucked into jet engines.

  23. #73
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    Quote Originally Posted by ProgFamily View Post
    I have three stories around this theme.

    The first is how much my approach to buying music has changed with the advances in technology. I've been lurking more than posting on here since alt.music.progressive. Back in the usenet days, I bought a used CD from someone in Korea solely based on the text review. It became one of my all-time favorite albums - Triple Aspect from a band called Legend. Today, we're Facebook friends with the founder of the band, Steve Paine, although we've never met in person. I've bought their later releases and never been disappointed. As years went on, I was able to find samples of new releases online to help decide what was worth purchasing. I, too, find limited time to listen.
    Legend - I remember them. I bought a few of their albums back in the 1990s and used to e-mail one of the members for a bit. Had no idea they were still going. I seem to remember getting Second Sight and then Triple Aspect when it came out (I found a signed copy in a shop in Leeds and the guy from the band was surprised it had ended up in a shop and wanted to know where I'd got it from.)

    I thought they split up years ago. I haven't listened to them for years, and have never ripped the CDs into my library. Might have to find the CDs later and give them a listen!

  24. #74
    Quote Originally Posted by IMWeasel View Post
    I guess to further explain what I said earlier -- I think part of my problem with the mindset of "diminishing returns" is it that is kind of causes the older fans to have an attitude of where they need to be the ones that need to "teach" other people what the "real" music is, because somehow the band has lost its way. This kind of turns off new fans though. I mean when I discovered Rush in the mid 90s as a teenager, I was impressed that a band that had been around for nearly 20 years at that point (ancient in rock band terms at that time!) could still sound as relevant now as they did. This was around the Counterparts era too, which I know I saw at least one person say was the era that as an older Rush fan, turned them off. A perfect example -- ones trash is anothers treasure.
    What did Fripp say? Oh yeah, move on. Thats kind of the approach I started to take. If something doesnt tickle my fancy or interest anymore. oh well, time to move on (or listen to the same record 20 more times, because that will never get bad right? ). Going back to Rush, when I got older (past 30, gasp!) I started to notice teens, much like teenage me in the 90s, also at Rush shows -- and I didnt care if their favorite and only album was Clockwork Angels, because hey, I may not love every note of CA but if it clues one person in to the genius of something I like very much, like Rush, then hey who am I to argue if its a "diminishing return" at that point?
    "Diminishing returns" is subjective and purely personal. Almost all of the people who have posted here who have experienced "diminishing returns" have done exactly as Bobby suggested and have "moved on." Some continue to purchase albums despite a previewed drop in quality, which is also their prerogative.

    It is also well within anyone's prerogative to say "this or that album or period of a band was what finally turned me off," especially on a discussion site like this one, and especially in a context like this one. That is not "teaching other people what real music is," that's expressing an opinion. I'd agree with you that opinions like this should be expressed respectfully (which this one certainly was), but if making a statement like that "turns off a new fan," then I'm sorry, but I put the blame more on the new fan. "Moving on" doesn't mean you've foregone your right to comment on something, especially if you bought the record and gave it a legitimate shot, and "diminishing returns" for one person doesn't mean that's true for anyone else.

    Bill

  25. #75
    Quote Originally Posted by progmatist View Post
    Glass Hammer used to be autobuy for me. That changed when Dreaming City was a little too metal for my tastes. After they went full on prog metal on their latest, I said "I'll pass, thank you very much."
    If you don't like DC you probably wouldn't like Skallagrim. But we've not gone full on prog metal. I'm not even a fan of the genre. Can't stand the stuff!
    There's certainly heavier songs than on previous albums, but there's electronica and Berlin School electronic music too. The metal is inspired by Black Sabbath and Rush.
    Maybe you'll try it one day
    Steve

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