Pearly Gates

Pearly Gates – Unchained EP

It makes perfect sense that Pearly Gates came together as a result of a planned hybridisation of Tool, Black Crowes, Porcupine Tree and Pink Floyd. This Finnish quintet are wholly infused with the same penchant for adventurous art introspection.

Pearly Gates tether themselves not only to the erratic expressionism of progressive rock, but touches of alternative / pop rock styled consciousness expansion as well. A bombastic affair, Pearly Gates are predominantly led by gracious singing of Jonne Nyberg, who also handles guitars, saxophone and harmonica.

Unchained EP

Their incisiveness and edgy tones cut the path for the excitable raw guitar work and ever unpredictable percussive collapse that follows. Despite its heady nature, a sense of playfulness is exhibited throughout the four-track release.

White the guys are certainly enjoying what they do and have fun, there is a determinism instilled wishing their songs that keeps them pulling to an eventual conclusion. It is a meaty listen that runs the sonic gamut from and to wide spectre of influences.

Dynamically charged and musically gifted, Pearly Gates plow through a colourful array of punchy grooves and extravagant melodies. But rarely do they get lost in the clouds thanks in part to the considerable weight of their low end focus and continual efforts to make their sound diverse. Abrasiveness emerging from heady indulgence rather than overpowering distortion is a refreshing change of pace.

It may not be a pick for everyone, but those who have record collections that include the mentioned groups are in for quite a treat.

Unchained” is available from Bandcamp. Follow the band on Facebook here.


Review: Turbulence – Disequilibrium

Turbulence are a Lebanese progressive metal band and “Disequilibrium” is their debut album. This is progressive metal that sounds not too far removed from a modern version of 90’s progressive metal with a bit more of distorted guitar and melody. The music has a similar feeling and immersive quality, only updated for the present day. The songs are easily assimilated, with honey-dipped melodies and top quality prog metal riffing seemingly on demand.


Although this is the band’s debut, the performance is exquisite and their songwriting skills are highly developed and advanced. This is an album that is put together extremely well. The interplay between vocals, guitars and keyboards is well-judged and everything fits together flawlessly.

“Modern” progressive metal doesn’t always sound this professional, slick and polished, but there is still an edge here and a depth to the songs. Turbulence know what they are doing, and this is shown throughout the music.

Disequilibrium” is truly an enjoyable album.

“Disequilibrium” is available now from iTunes. You can follow Turbulence on Facebook here.


Review: Drummond – Getting Comfortable EP

Drummond is a guitarist from New York who just released his debut EP titled “Getting Comfortable.” His music is largely based on progressive rock/metal and jazz fusion. For a debut release, “Getting Comfortable” sounds very professional and imaginative, it’s is a release that has a lot to offer.

Getting Comfortable

“Getting Comfortable” is almost completely an instrumental recording. It includes four songs that are centered around the mixture of jazz fusion and progressive rock, but there are also some other influences that add up to the overall taste. The EP seems to be balanced very well between the progressive and fusion parts, but the transitions between the two feel rather smooth than forced.

“Getting Comfortable” is mainly guitar-focused release, and Drummond does his job flawlessly. The closing song “Ecotone” also features Sithu Aye on guitar, who brings refreshment to the EP’s sound. The same song features Sara Donnellan on vocals who brings depth and breaks the “monotony” of an otherwise fully instrumental track.

Fans of jazz fusion and instrumental progressive rock will enjoy this record, and it’s one of 2015’s best newcoming releases. Give it a try without hesitation.

You can get “Getting Comfortable” from Bandcamp.

Deep Stare

Interview: Michal Popelar of Deep Stare

Deep Stare is a new band formed by the former members of the progressive metal band ClayFeeders. The band recently released their debut EP called “Triplet,” and guitarist Michal Popelar answered our questions.

Hi, Michal. Let’s start by discussing “Triplet.” Tell me about its creative process. Where was the EP recorded, and how much time did it take for you to complete it?

The EP was recorded in Biotech Studio in the Czech Republic. The instruments were recorded in less than three days and the mixing and mastering were done by an audio engineer. From the first moment in the studio to the resulting material, it took us less than three weeks. In comparison to the composing itself and all the preparations, it was a rush. We had some technical problems with our car while going to the studio, there was a problem with a new amplifier and lots of other small inconveniences. In fact, we had to solve a lot of things around rather than the recording itself, which had never happened to us before although we have already been to different studios a couple of times. Finally, we handled everything and I think that it had a positive rather than a negative influence on the result. We didn’t have time to deal with some micro-inaccuracies and we left many things unaltered, the way they had been recorded. Nothing was corrected and that’s why these recordings sound a bit more lively.

Deep Stare - Triplet

Do you write primarily on the guitar?

Primarily yes. All the main melodies and backgrounds are composed on guitar or bass guitar.

Do you tend to follow any pre-defined patterns when composing a piece?

Of course, there are some principles which we respect when composing but we try not to be bound by anything and do everything intuitively, the way we feel it. We are all influenced by some musicians or bands to a certain degree. We can always see it somewhere. However, our aim is to create always somthing new. We play instrumental music only but we work as a real band. We replace singing by music trying to make it sound interesting and not like a bunch of notes without any idea.

Many guitar players started out on piano and then moved to guitar. Maybe it’s easier to make the transition once you’ve played piano. What is your view on it?

I can’t judge it myself. I started with the violin which I played for seven years. Step by step, I moved to guitar and stayed with it. For me, the transition was quite easy. I have kept many violin habits until now.

Which guitars, amps, and effects did you use on “Triplet”?

I didn’t come with anything new except the amplifier. It was a safe bet. A lot of amplifiers, effects, guitars are usually taken to the studio and the best combinations suitable for individual parts are gradually chosen. I recorded everything live on Mesa Boogie Mark V. But for the same songs, I use the preamplifiers Rocktron Prophesy and Marshall 9100. Except acoustic parts, everything was done on Ibanez RG550 EX. I’ve got this guitar adjusted by Mr Jurkovic in the Czech Republic. His guitars were used for example by Billy Gibbons, Erica Clapton or Jeff Beck. To record the acoustic parts, I use my favourite guitare Nashville whose front board is already cracked. But it sounds great, even better than some famous guitar brands which are several times more expensive.

How do you balance the importance of songwriting with the importance of soloing?

We consider our songs to be a big solo of everyone of us, even in accompanying music parts. I don’t think I’m a soloist myself so it’s not a problem for me to perceive music as an entity. In fact, we accompany each other mutually all the time.

Michal Popelar

How do you see your music evolving?

This is a question for the people who listen to our music, for those who have known us and our music for a longer time. In my opinion, we gradually move somewhere else. The biggest change for us was to start playing instrumental music only because we used to have singing before. We were really afraid of it and had certain prejudice too. But it turned out to be a good decision, I think we are going the right way. We like it a lot and when performing we always have a positive feedback, which is the most important thing for us – to enjoy it, be positive about it and move that positive energy to people.

What are you looking forward to?

We are looking forward to our next album, concerts and everything related to it. Music and our band especially are, for all of us, a number one priority so we go through it all with a lot of emotions. It’s not only a band, it’s our second family.



Interview: Daniel Brönnimann of ORYMUS

Orymus from Switzerland released their second album “Miracles” in March. Singer Daniel Brönnimann talked with us about it.

Orymus released their second album recently. Are you satisfied how “Miracles” turned out?

What kind of musician would I be to answer “no” to this question? Let’s put it that way: I was unbelievably satisfied during the writing process because I felt that the songs are going to be kick ass. I was also totally satisfied during the recordings ‘cause our producer Yann Rouiller (NAZARETH, CORE 22) pushed us to the limits and massively influenced the great sound you will hear on MIRACLES. I was more than satisfied when I had the first CD in my hand – the artwork, the sound, the concept, everything just wonderfully fits together. And if I am still satisfied now, I have no idea – I haven’t listened to MIRACLES since many months. But we did a great job on this record, I am more than proud on it.


How did the songwriting process for “Miracles” go?

Actually the same as for our first full-length studio album ESCAPE TO REALITY back in 2013. At first, we clearly defined the body of the album – decided which kind of expression or atmosphere each specific song should transmit. This is exactly the reason why we are releasing full albums and not EPs or singles. Our sound is an experience, which should not be judged upon one song but only as a whole. It needs background, embedding. And well, afterwards I spent many days and weeks writing up these songs, presented them to the band, we practiced them “live” – eventually even performed some of them to test the audience’s reaction – and then recorded it.

What were the hardest moments during the creative and production process of “Miracles”?

As far as I remember, everything went quite smoothly. Orymus is a really good team – we rarely have any problems and we’re all on kind of the same wavelength. We’re good friends since more than 10 years and I think that this is the recipe of our music. The hardest moment for me is always after the album is released. For the audience, all the songs are new and totally thrilling. In contrast, the band has just spent their last 1.5 years on these 10 songs. Probably that’s also one of the reasons why I immediately started writing new songs after releasing Miracles – I am constantly looking for more.


How would you describe the sound of this album?

The sound is vivid, raw but at the same time perfected. There are 10 songs on the album and probably 10 different sounds but still the whole album leaves behind a unified impression. That’s one of the reasons why MIRACLES is not getting boring – there’s a lot of inspiration in it and a lot of things to explore for the listener. This time, we played with large choirs to create epic moments. Let’s see what we’ll come up with in the next album – I already got some good ideas! ;-)

What are drawbacks and benefits of self-releasing an album?

By self-releasing, one is his own master. We were able to design our albums exactly as we wanted them. There is no one taking influence and no top-down decisions against the band. Drawbacks are the visibility and the money… what else! The real question in our digital world is whether it’s actually worth to release full-length albums or rather stick to singles or small EPs. But as I said, the sound of Orymus needs a lot of space, which only an album can offer.

“Miracles” is a fresh release, but are you working on anything new already?

Hell yes! As I said, I am constantly hungry for more. Once an album is finished, I would immediately start thinking about the next steps. I am afraid, I cannot lose any details but after ESCAPE TO REALITY and MIRACLES, this will be the 3rd pillar of world domination. Thanks for the interview!

“Miracles” is out now and available from Bandcamp. Like Orymus on Facebook here.


Interview with PROSPECTIVE

Italian prog metal/djent band Prospective have come up with the release of their debut EP “Chronosphere” in March. In the interview below the band speaks about the EP, future and more.

How would you described your debut EP titled “Chronosphere”?

We guess Chronosphere is a mix of anger, melody and groove. The songs are very metal but also lovely! Syncopated grooves are also a main event in the ep.

What kind of gear did you use to record ”Chronosphere”?

Our EP is completely D.I.Y., we recorded everything in Flavio’s little room. We used a Line 6 toneport UX1 to record guitars, bass and voice. Guitars were dialed in pod farm, bass was D.I. and in Cubase we made the tone, voice was recorded with a classic SM58. For the drums we used Superior Drummer.

Prospective - Chronosphere

I wonder what inspired the story behind the “Increase” songs?

The first part is about a dream, the second is about 2 people toghether in space (or some sort of dream) trying to escape.

As a very young band, do you think there are things that need to be improved in music business to encourage new starting bands and artists? What are these things?

At the moment, for our genre, the music industry “is on the internet”. There are a lots of great bands and not-so-great bands out there, the trick is to have luck and to play something that no one ever did. Nothing has to be improved in the music industry in this sense, because is all about the people’s taste.

Prospective live

What are you guys up to these days?

In these days we will playing at a Metal-Fest in our town Bologna and we’re also pre-producing the last songs for our upcoming album.

Where do you see Prospective 10 years later from now?

We hope on tour with some great bands. We know a lot of young bands here in Bologna and Italy in general, maybe one day we will tour with them, it would be awesome!

Buy “Chronosphere” from Bandcamp, and follow Prospective on Facebook.


Interview with DRUMMOND

Drummond is a young guitarist from New York who recently released his debut EP titled “Getting Comfortable.” It is a very interesting and eclectic piece of work, and it features contributions from guitarists Sithy Aye and Alex Frondelli. The EP is available from Bandcamp, so check it out and give some monies.

Drumm answered our questions.

Hi, Drummond. Let’s start by discussing “Getting Comfortable.” Tell me about its creative process.

Getting Comfortable took a while to write in its entirety. There were months where I locked myself in my room and just wrote all day, but then there were days where I just didn’t even think about it too. If I stayed in my room all day Id have probably gone insane, so I had to have those off days!

Getting Comfortable

Where was the EP recorded, and how much time did it take for you to complete it?

The EP was recorded all over the place. I was kind of testing the waters, seeing what production methods I liked, seeing what the pros and cons were from person to person so that I could learn from my experiences when I record my next EP. The first song was recorded in Brooklyn, the second two were recorded in Long Island, and the last track was recorded in Purchase New York. Because I was jumping around a lot it took about 3 years to finish up everything.

Do you write primarily on the guitar?

I do write primarily on guitar, yeah.

Do you tend to follow any pre-defined patterns when composing a piece?

I try not to, only because I don’t want my compositions to be too predictable, but a tool I find myself always coming back to is my loop pedal. Maybe that dictates how I write and maybe not in the best way, but I come up with a lot of ideas from just jamming out with it.

Many guitar players started out on piano and then moved to guitar. Maybe it’s easier to make the transition once you’ve played piano. What is your view on it?

As someone who started on guitar, I’d always wished I had started on piano. The piano is an amazing learning tool, and if you learn the instrument, you view theoretical concepts differently than if you are just a guitar player. All the notes are laid out in front of you, it’s really a great learning tool aside from sounding beautiful too!


Which guitars, amps, and effects did you use on “Getting Comfortable”?

I used two guitars to record the entire album, my .strandberg* Boden OS 6, and my Ibanez prestige 5470. I went direct in to record a lot of the album, so we ended up using a lot of amp simulators, but the sound I was going for was something similar to the Peavy Classic 30, id always loved the sound of that amp, and then after I recorded the album I went out and bought one!

How do you balance the importance of songwriting with the importance of soloing?

That’s actually something I have worked really hard to try to balance. There is a fine line when it comes to soloing. If you solo too much it’s seen as wankery, too little and you lose the opportunity to really develop a section. I don’t really have a rule of thumb when It comes to soloing, but I think if the music calls for a solo, then you’re going to need a solo there, you cant just throw them in wherever you want, that isn’t the most musical approach.

How do you see your music evolving?

Well I’ve started composing for more instruments like string sections, choir, brass sections, and I think those would really add a different color to my music if implemented in my originals. I think that’s the closest goal of mine when it comes to evolving my sound a little bit.

What are you looking forward to?

I’m looking forward to playing music with great musicians and creating something hopefully everyone can enjoy!

Buy “Getting Comfortable” from Bandcamp and support Drumm to make more great music.

Split Bearing

Review: Split Bearing – Welcome to the Present

Split Bearing is a progressive metal band from Czech Republic. The band has been active since 2002, and although they experienced a few line-up changes thy recorded two full-length records so far.

Their most recent offering is 2014’s album “Welcome to the Present.” Featuring nine songs, “Welcome to the Present” is a progressive metal album to the full extent. Perfect clean vocals hit straight along with the strong guitar work. Singer Petr Duliskovic carries an almost identical resemblance to the voice of young James LaBrie. This similarity washes your ears with more of familiar progressive metal sound. It’s stripped-down just like the old prog used to be.

Welcome to the Present

Songs on “Welcome to the Present” are between 6-7 minutes long. Both lyrically and melodically the album keeps its levels pretty high.

The opening “Shattered” is an absolute highlight and it seems that other tracks are a bit shadowed by this piece. Not that other songs are bad, quite the opposite. It’s just that the band choose to open the record with their best piece, what I think is a bad move when it comes to marketing.

Split Bearing are obviously influenced a lot by Dream Theater. In every melody and rhythm these influences are easy to notice. If you are a fan of Dream Theater’s older material, this album may be a pleasant experience.

Buy “Welcome to the Present” from Bandcamp, and follow the band on Facebook for more news.


Review: Prospective – Chronosphere EP

Prospective from Bologna send a warm progressive metal breeze with lots of djent particles in the air. This five-piece band came up recently with their debut EP titled “Chronosphere,” and though I cannot tell that they made something new this release is fairly good launcher for the start of their career.


The almost 30 minutes long “Chronosphere” includes six songs brings mixture of clean and grow vocals with tons of progressive metal melodies wrapped around aggressive riffs. This format is presented throughout the release, starting with the opening “Karma’s Lesson,” and finishing with “Chronos Speaks.”

Feelings stuck between emotion and aggression are something that “Chronosphere” is made of, both lyrically and musically.

All in all, for an unexperienced, new coming band to the scene, Prospective made a good deal with “Chronosphere.” Fans of progressive djenty metal will be satisfied. The follow-up to this release will be crucial, and if the band manages to deliver a release that stands up to standards, we are talking about something possibly huge.

Get “Chronosphere” by Prospective from Bandcamp. Follow the band on Facebook for news and more.

AnovA on the Progstravaganza compilation

Progstravaganza Questionnaire: AnovA

An international progressive metal project AnovA has appeared on Progstravaganza: Landmarks XX compilation in August 2014, and they answered the standard Progstravaganza questionnaire.

How did you come to do what you do?

Anova: Originally we were all making songs by ourselves and uploading them onto SoundCloud, Luke then got in contact with me and asked to collaborate, so we did and made a few songs together, Luke then found David and they collaborated to also, we all had a similar taste in music (pretty much anything) and natural progression saw that all three of us grouped together to create something.

What is your first musical memory?

Yoshi: I was 13 years old at junior high school. My friend let me borrow an album of X Japan, I was so shocked because it was something so much more than what I expected “music” to be.

I am certain that I would not be here if it wasn’t for listening to X Japan.

Luke: my first musical memory is not a good one I’m afraid, I was 14 and I bought my first 2 singles, Dizzy Rascal – Fix Up Look Sharp and Evanescence – Going Under, I clearly hadn’t developed a musical taste at the moment in time.

David: I remember visiting a family friends’ house and he had a pristine black drum kit in his basement that he let me play. In my head, I was a total rockstar even though I was probably playing nonsense. He let me take home a pair of drum sticks that I drove my family crazy with just beating on various things around the house.

Where do you draw your inspiration from?

Yoshi: I don’t know exactly but it suddenly pops inside my head. I feel remarkable when I am inspired by something, for example, taking a shower.

Luke: This question can have multiple answers and it all depends on the moment in time, but the biggest inspiration personally, and I think this is where me and David understand each other more than ever, is video games, my entire life rotates around videos games, and I am obsessed with video game sound tracks and stories.

David: Inspiration can be drawn from anywhere. As I got a little bit older, I chose to not limit myself and allow inspiration to come in any form. I’m typically inspired by other artists. I think most musicians are inspired by the music they listen to, but I also take inspiration from things like my own life experience, world history, even movies and video games.

What message does the song on our Progstravaganza compilation carry?

Yoshi: Ask David!

Luke: Yeah I think David’s the man for that question.

David: Not sure about the overall message of the song, but the purpose of the song is to listen to it as loud as possible and enjoy. Or not, your call.

Do you tend to follow any pre-defined patterns when composing a piece?

Yoshi: It depends on the song; I think it is sometimes enhanced and sometimes more beneficial if I don’t follow a set trend or rule.

Luke: NEVER! It’s not a conscious thing I do but I tend to write music very organically, I let the piece flow, sometimes I start with drums, synth, guitar, bass or orchestral stuff, sometimes I’ll write the song in sections, sometimes I write out all the guitar, sometimes I’ll tab out all the sections first, sometimes it free time it.

No, not really. All of the members of AnovA are on different continents and we all have our own various methods for songwriting and structure. I think the one constant is the overall concept for the album and then we are each subject to our own pre-defined songwriting patterns.

What is your method of songwriting?

Yoshi: I always start by making drum patterns and synthesized sections, then making a structure, tempo and key of the song. After that I will add guitar, bass, and vocals to it.

Some may feel this method is strange but personally I find it’s very effective for trying to create new music.

Luke: Don’t really know.

David: I think I like to take a “gardening” method of songwriting. I know what I want to end up with, say for example, if you were gardening and you knew what you were planting, but you might not know the end result because there are too many variables that can affect the outcome. I take this approach with songwriting. I think I generally know what I want the song to end up sounding like and then I mold the song to that sound allowing for variable change.

How do you see your music evolving?

Yoshi: I’m not sure.

Luke: I think our music is evolving in the obvious sense i.e. we are developing as musicians so we are able to become more technical if we wish, or more relaxed, we definitely feel that we don’t have anything to prove to anyone so we tend to write whatever we want, I think this is where I am at anyway, the issue with this however is as I said I “think” this is how we are evolving, it is not an obvious thing, however the one place I do see us evolving is as friends, all three of us are 1000’s of miles away from each other (literally) and when we all first met it was a beautiful thing, we all hugged as if we were all old friends, it was the purest moment I think we have had as a band, our relationship is absolutely !! continuing to evolve.

David: It has always been AnovA’s goal to write the best possible music. I think we continue to evolve because we continue to strive towards that goal. I’m not sure what AnovA’s music will evolve into, but I know that at the core lies the want and need to write fresh and original music.

What advice would you give to other musicians, trying to make inspired music and get it out in the world?

Yoshi: I think keeping balance with what you want to express and what listener wants is important.

Luke: This is where I actually disagree with yosh-man, you see there are 2 types of people in the world playing guitar, musicians and artists, I think the best advice I could give is to discover which one you want to be and which one you are, and to write whatever the hell you want to write.

David: My advice would be to write music that makes you happy and to be proud of every accomplishment, whether its big or small. I was totally floored to find out that our album was being pirated. Yay, for small victories!

What are you looking forward to?

Yoshi: Making our next album!

Luke: Absolutely the next album.

David: I’m looking forward to the future of music and technology. AnovA would not have been a possibility 10-15 years ago because we live on different corners of the planet. But now with Skype, Facebook, DropBox and other social media outlets, we are able to exchange music, thoughts, and ideas via a network connection. Maybe 20 years from now we’ll be able to compose songs just by thinking them.

Do you think that Progstravaganza compilation series is good way to showcase the potential of many unheard bands on the already overcrowded scene?

Yoshi: I feel that there are too many songs and bands on the album and am worried that the listener may not realize the concept of the album.

Luke: I think it is a brilliant idea, but to avoid an overcrowded scene the compilation has accidently became overcrowded, perhaps a compilation more often with less bands?

David: I think that any medium that gets unheard bands out into the airwaves is a good thing. Like they say, “No publicity is bad publicity.”

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