New at Sonic Cathedral: Review of the Jessica Prouty Band’s “Set Me Free”

JPB Set Me Free cover

Before I fell in love with metal music, I was a pop-rock girl. Part of me still has a soft spot for that genre of music, although I can’t stand most of the cookie-cutter garbage that’s overplayed on the radio these days. However, if one band has the potential to lure me back to the radio just so I could hear their songs, it would be the Jessica Prouty Band. This young quartet from Boston, Massachusetts (three of whom attend the prestigious Berklee College of Music) has cooked up a delicious and energetic blend of Southern rock, blues, pop, metal, and punk. With electric performances by all band members, including frontwoman Jessica Prouty, JPB’s upcoming third album Set Me Free will be a must-have for fans of female-fronted rock music.

Click here to read my review of the Jessica Prouty Band’s Set Me Free.

Below is a lyric video for the title track to Set Me Free. JPB struck a gold mine by choosing this song as the album’s lead-off single. It’s fun, gritty, and incredibly catchy. Not to mention it comes with one of the best crescendos I’ve heard in a long time! What do you think?

Coming Soon: The posting blitz is done for a little while. So it’s a matter of what I finish first: 5,000 more words in my novel-in-progress so I can post the next edition of “Chronicling The Craft”; or my next CD review, which will cover Hydria’s new studio album Freakshow.

Five Years at Sonic Cathedral – A Retrospective, Part 4: Artists #5 through #1

We’ve reached the end of the Sonic Cathedral Retrospective countdown! I’ve been listing my 20 favorite artists that I’ve covered in my five years of writing at the Sonic Cathedral WebZine. And today, it’s time to reveal the top five – including the artist I chose for #1!

First, in case you’ve missed the previous installments, here they are:

Part 1: Artists #20 through #16

Part 2: Artists #15 through #11

Part 3: Artists #10 through #6

So if we left off at #6, that means we’ll start tonight with…

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Five Years at Sonic Cathedral – A Retrospective, Part 3: Artists #10 through #6

Finally getting around to the next part of my retrospective! We’re halfway through the countdown of my 20 favorite artists that I’ve covered at Sonic Cathedral over the past 5 years. If you’ve missed the first two installments, now’s a great time to catch up:

Part 1: Artists #20 through #16

Part 2: Artists #15 through #11

Which means that today I’ll reveal the first half of my top 10. 😉 And remember that you can catch the daily version of the countdown at my official Facebook page.

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Five Years at Sonic Cathedral – A Retrospective, Part 2: Artists #15 through #11

As you may already know, I’m celebrating 5 years of writing for Sonic Cathedral by counting down my 20 favorite artists covered at the SC WebZine. I revealed Artists #20 through #16 last week. Today, it’s time to reveal #15 through #11. So let’s continue!

By the way, a big apology that the artist photos in the previous SC Retrospective article. I’m not sure what happened in the uploading process, since they were all of decent size to begin with.

NOTE: If you’d prefer to catch the daily version of the countdown, please visit and “like” my official Facebook page.

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New at Sonic Cathedral: Review of Second Empire’s Self-Titled Debut EP

Second Empire EP cover

Second Empire may only be 2 years old as a band, but they’ve already made an impact in their local metal scene of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. And now they hope to win over a global audience with their self-titled debut EP. In only five songs, Second Empire showcases the many faces of symphonic metal, from catchy and dynamic with a power metal edge (“Everlasting”), to a sweeping melancholy ballad (“Sorrow My Savior”), to a haunting rollercoaster ride (“Paradox Nightmare”). The range may in fact be too broad; I felt that the music could use more focus at times. Despite my criticisms, though, I found Second Empire to be a whimsical release that shows three must-have qualities that should help Second Empire in the long run: creativity, talent, and potential.

Click here to read my review of Second Empire’s self-titled debut EP.

Here’s Second Empire’s music video for “The Valley Beneath,” one of the songs from the EP. This track is more of a melodic alternative rocker than symphonic metal, so it’s not indicative of what the other tracks sound like. But it’s got a nice groove, and the guitarists’ backing vocals complement Alex Lindsay Roth’s voice well. To hear more songs from Second Empire, check out the band’s ReverbNation page.

Coming Soon: Tomorrow night I’ll reveal Artists #15 through #11 in my Sonic Cathedral 5-Year Retrospective Countdown!

5 Years At Sonic Cathedral: A Retrospective – My 20 Favorite Artists I’ve Covered To Date (#20 through #16)

It’s been quiet here lately, only because things have been hectic in my offline life. But now that things are calming down, I can start catching up with the blog. And today is the start of a celebration. Why? This August marks five years that I’ve been a staff writer at Sonic Cathedral!  🙂

To celebrate this milestone, I’m counting down my 20 favorite artists that I’ve covered since I joined SC. The countdown has been underway on my Facebook page for a few days now. Now it’s time to catch up with the blog audience.

Today I’ll reveal Artists #20 through #16. Here we go! Continue reading

Review of Agharti’s “Change” Now at Sonic Cathedral

Agharti Change

Agharti may be a relatively young band, but their music already shows great promise. The Croatian band’s upcoming debut album, Change, introduces listeners to a melodic alternative style that’s accessible, dynamic, and thematically balanced between personal experiences and social observations. Other defining elements include a wide array of keyboard / synthesizer sounds (including violin-like complements that could pass for the real instrument) and dual vocals (male and female) on some songs that’s reminiscent of Lacuna Coil. This is one of the few instances where, in my opinion, an up-and-coming band’s first release deserves the hype invented by its record label. So I’ve decided to call Change “one of the best ‘femme metal’ surprises of 2013.”

Click here to read my review of Agharti’s Change.

Here’s a video montage of Agharti promo photos set to “Lost,” one of the songs from Change. “Lost” is an adrenaline-filled track with hurtling rhythms, bobbing keys, and “tag-team” style vocals during the chorus that make it one of the album’s highlights.

Coming Soon: Soul-Lit’s Summer issue, which includes one of my newest poems, should be published online any day now. I’ll share the link as soon as it’s available. As for my projects, I’m continuing to work on my fantasy novel (and recently passed 13,000 words!), and I already have my next review ready for Sonic Cathedral. Speaking of Sonic Cathedral, next month marks my fifth anniversary as a staff writer there! I’m planning to celebrate with retrospects here and at my Facebook page. So stay tuned!

Quick Update

It’s been a while since I’ve posted an update of some kind on here. So here’s a summary of what I’ve been up to.

The Open Mic & Potluck Extravaganza at Grub Street on July 12th was so much fun! It was great to hear a wide range of works, from poetry to excerpts from novels and short stories – even parts of a published essay about living in a Guatemalan village for a year. (That last one was eye-opening and entertaining, and probably my favorite of the night.) It was also good to get people’s feedback on the two (new) poems I read. Now I can’t wait to return to Grub Street next weekend for a workshop on character development in novel-writing.

Unfortunately, due to a change in plans, I’m no longer able to attend tonight’s Open Mic Night at the Catbird Cafe in Weymouth. I am tentatively targeting a September date to return there and will let you know when I’m more certain about it.

The Summer 2013 issue of Soul-Lit, which features my poem “Elegy,” should be coming out very soon. I’ll share the link with you as soon as it’s available!

Music-wise, my review of Agharti’s debut album Change should be online at Sonic Cathedral any day now. In the meantime, I have finished a review of Second Empire’s self-titled EP and will start writing soon about The Jessica Prouty Band’s upcoming third album Set Me Free. I actually caught a JPB show in my hometown a few days ago, and really enjoyed it! Fun, energetic hard rock with a blues base. JPB played several original songs as well as covers of Led Zeppelin, Joan Jett, Evanescence, Blink-182, and Paramore. If you like some or all of those bands, chances are you’ll enjoy The Jessica Prouty Band.

Still making progress on the book, too! At this rate, the next “Chronicling The Craft” article will probably go online sometime in August. It’s tough to fit in time for it with a full-time job and other commitments (both writing and outside of writing). But so far, I’m happy with the pace as well as the progress I’ve made so far.

Finally, just a reminder that you can also follow me on FacebookClick here to visit and “like” my page, where you can read about my writing projects, upcoming events, and lots more in the realms of music, writing, and literature.

Have a good weekend!

~ Sara

Review of Edenbridge’s “The Bonding” Now at Sonic Cathedral

Edenbridge -The Bonding Cover PRINT

Edenbridge have been quiet over the past two years, and for good reason. Members of the Austrian symphonic power metal band endured personal hardships during that time, leading to the delay in recording new music. But as the saying goes, “good things come out of bad situations.” Edenbridge’s eighth studio album, The Bonding, weaves tales of pain, loss, and revelation into the band’s signature mix of majesty and mysticism. In my opinion, The Bonding is much stronger than Edebridge’s previous effort, 2010’s Solitaire, especially with the live orchestra. As I said in my review of The Bonding, you’ll hear “not only the band’s signature majesty, but also catharsis and hope.” 

Click here to read my review of Edenbridge’s The Bonding.

Here’s the official music video for “Alight A New Tomorrow,” the first single from The Bonding. It shows Edenbridge’s commercial side without compromising their music’s ethereality or the orchestra’s bombast. And I guarantee this song will be stuck in your head before you know it.

 

Coming Soon: It might be a quiet here for a few days. I will have a couple open mic appearances to announce soon. As for projects, my review of Agharti’s debut album Change is underway, and two other reviews (new released by Baliset and Second Empire) are also on my to-do list. Between working on those, my book, and poetry, who knows what will be ready first? 😉

New at Sonic Cathedral: Review of Misth’s “Rise Of A New Day”

Misth Rise Of A New Day cover

I’ll come right out and say it: Misth’s Rise Of A New Day will be at or near the top of my favorite albums list for 2013. This Swedish progressive hard rock band combines the talents of Mercury Fan’s musicians with the force-to-be-reckoned-with voice of Maria Rådsten (One More Time). And their debut album mixes elements of hard rock, classic rock, heavy metal, and progressive rock/metal to create a homogenous collective of 10 songs that are fun, emotive, and timeless. I actually go so far as to call Rise Of A New Day ” the “femme metal” revelation of the year.” But I’m sure you’d like to read more specifics than that, right?

Click here to read my review of Misth’s Rise Of A New Day.

And here’s the music video for the album’s title track. The mix of styles and Maria’s incredible voice grabbed me right away and convinced me to further investigate Misth’s music. There’s also a strong symphonic influence in the keyboards – something you don’t hear anywhere else on Rise Of A New Day, but that’s fine. It makes the song unique and compliments its bombastic tone.

Coming Soon: My review of Edenbridge’s eighth album The Bonding – and the next installment of “Chronicling The Craft”!