jonas-linberg-the-other-side

Review: Jonas Lindberg & The Other Side – Pathfinder

Jonas Lindberg has been active with his project Jonas Lindberg & The Other Side for a few years now. On September 1st, this seven-piece group from Sweden’s capital Stockholm released their full-length debut titled “Pathfinder.”

The album is placed deep into the amotspheric, melodic side of progressive rock with influences from the ‘70s, the ‘80s and some contemporary ones. The band adds plethora experimental, pop-rock, and ambient elements to their music. They will surely bring some of the big progressive rock bands of the ‘70s and ‘80s on your mind that is not a bad thing at all.

pathfinder

One can feel that Jonas Lindberg & The Other Side play it safe, and that in the end their music is not “forward thinking” or “progressive.” But that’s because the group as an entity is an apt craftsman, and they know how well to make a song sounds catchy, but still complex enough. There are tons of great moments on the album that contribute to the final outcome, which brings nostalgia and innovation together. This prog rock music is easy to digest, but hard to predict

The musicianship is very strong and the production is warm. “Pathfinder” doesn’t reinvent the wheel, but it is more than a decent album. There is a lot to explore here, and it’s waiting for you.

Links:

lindbergmusic.com

Facebook

Perception

Interview with PERCEPTION

Over the last couple of years, since I’ve been writing about albums, I’ve had quite a few opportunities to listen some really great records. One such record, precisely an EP titled “Collapse” by UK metallers Perception was recently given to me, and I’ve been listening it from front to back quite a lot.

In the interview below, the band members tell us about this stunning piece of music, so make sure to press the play button below and indulge yourself.

Alright, first thing is first. Before we dive into all the music stuff, how’s life?

Life’s pretty good right now, Collapse has had a great reaction and we’re super appreciative for that. We’re currently having some beers and talking over plans for the next 6 months.

Speaking of new music, you have an EP. What can people expect from “Collapse”?

Some songs are more melodic, whilst some songs are straight up heavy, the EP really varies across the board and it shows our writing process evolving over a space of 2 years.

Perception - Collapse

What was it like working on the EP?

It was quite a long process. We finished writing the EP about December 2014 but we had to postpone its recording & release because of line-up changes. But in hindsight I think it worked out for the better.

Are there any touring plans in support to “Collapse”?

Yes. I hate to be boring but we can’t reveal anything just yet but we’re in talks with some really cool up and coming UK bands.

While we are on the subject of touring, what countries would you love to tour?

Germany, Czech Republic, Hungary, Japan and maybe the USA, so long as Trump doesn’t become president.

Who and what inspires you the most?

Tom Searle. RIP.

Perception

What other genres of music do you listen to? Have any of the other genres you listen to had any impact on your playing?

Al – Aside from metal, I’m a massive hip-hop fan, artists like Kendrick Lamar, J-Cole and Dr Dre are some of my go to artists in the genre. Some of my favourite releases metal wise over the last year includes bands like Silent Planet, they’re killing it currently. My everyday listening can vary massively though, from Kendrick all the way to Justin Bieber (sorry not sorry).

As far as influence on my playing, allot of funk bassist push me to make my playing as groovy as possible. But still keep it appropriate for the music we play. Also Dirty Loops bass player is fucking sick. If you don’t know who they are, go check them out right now.
My musical taste is a bit of mess if I’m honest.

Will – enjoying a bit of Mars Volta and Porcupine Tree at the moment. Also loving a bit of Creeper too and Normandie (check both of them out). In the past I’ve been a big fan of alt-rock and indie i.e. Arctic Monkeys, Foals and Foo Fighters.

Paddy – Massive Ellie Goulding fan (Pre-Delirium, wasn’t a fan), so a lot of her. There’s also this weird indie (ish) band called Agent Fresco who Simon (UK-Tech Fest organiser) showed me and I’m still rocking their latest album ‘Destrier’. Pink Floyd’s Animals and Oh Wonder’s self-titled. All these things definitely effect my playing, perhaps not in the way you might expect, but it does.

Ben – My music music taste varies massively. Im currently well into The King Blues after seeing them at Reading, big on those chilled vibes. As a vocalist I appreciate good singer/songwriters but it varies from Michael Buble to Genesis, to soundtrack music, to nails! Listening to all these different styles has a massive effect on my writing and performance as it opens my mind up so much!

I really appreciate you giving us your time today. Is there anything else you would like to tell us and the fans before we wrap things up?

Shove our EP in your ears ‘cause it’s so bad it’s good.

Links:

Bandcamp

Facebook

YouTube

Twitter

LOTL

Interview with LETTERS OF THE LOST

Letters of the Lost is a metal band hailing from the hot Miami, and same as the weather in the southeasternmost U.S. state the metal this quintet serves is nothing less hot.

So about how much their metal is hot, and the band’s recently released “Walk With Us” EP, I talked with the guys.

How do you feel now that “Walk With Us” has been unleashed?

It’s a mix between excitement and relief, honestly. It’s been a very eye-opening experience that has taught us a lot about ourselves, both as a group, and as musicians. Now, it’s all about making it count, so expect our name to slowly and slithery, creep onto the radar.

Are you satisfied with feedback you received so far for the new EP?

It’s been a very rewarding feeling from all of the hard work over the past two years. Our fans have been supporting & sharing it online, and we have received some amazing messages of their favorite songs.

What was recording process like for “Walk With Us”?

It was a great experience altogether. Tracking at Arcsound Studios in Miami took us about nine weeks, going in just on weekends to knock the songs out. It was a very smooth process, all of the staff members there knew exactly what kind of record we wanted to produce, so they were very easy to work with. Andrew took the biggest beating, having to track his drums 3 times per song, so he was like a pool of pudding by the time he finished.

Walk with Us

How do you feel about the EP’s production?

Anyone can tell you that there are always crazy, unexpected things happening when conceiving an album, or any project for that matter. We are five young guys with, an incredibly unhealthy passion for music, that had a vision and not a lot of funds to make it happen. Nonetheless, we have made it happen, and now it’s up to the listeners to give us their feedback, and hopefully, their support.

What inspired “Walk With Us”?

Musically, we wanted to delve deeper into that sound the band was creating as a two-piece, and stray away from the cliches as much as possible. Lyrically, a lot of the EP circles around social interactions and relationships, whereas a couple of them also hit close to home. “Kenospia” for example, is our single and a song that was written with a name in mind. The name in question can be decided on by the listener.

LOTL live

After two EP’s, I believe the time has come for Letters of the Lost to release a full-length. What are your plans on that?

Well, allow us to clarify very quickly; “Merkio” was just a demo, this is our first EP. As of right now, we are planning on spending the majority of 2017 touring, to promote our EP, and spending the time we have at home to write out the rest of the tracks for our LP. We are planning to go back into the studio in 2018 to record and release it.

What does the future hold for Letters of the Lost?

Lots of touring, lots and lots of grinding to make things happen, as well as a music video. Later on, we will enter the studio for an LP, and oh boy, that will be sooner, rather than later

Is there anything else you would like to add?

Of course! To all of the readers, thank you for spending these past couple minutes of your lives checking out a band you’ve never heard of. But, now that you’ve heard of us, stick around and join this journey we have overtaken.

Links:

Facebook

Twitter

YouTube

Instagram

The Shadow Principle - Oblivion

Interview: THE SHADOW PRINCIPLE

LA rock quartet, The Shadow Principle, has been around for a few years now, and they released two albums: “Golden State” (2012) and “Oblivion,” released in July this year.

The band successfully creates music that largely relies on punk, alternative rock and progressive rock. In 2015, The Shadow Principle introduced a new singer, Nohl Takahashi, whose performance on “Oblivion” is absolutely stunning.

Takahashi and bassist Dave Tomkins spoke for Progstravaganza about their new record.

All right, first things first. Before we dive into all the music stuff, how’s life? 

BOTH: Great! Thanks for asking.

You have a new album. What can people expect from “Oblivion”?

DAVE: Good songs, good performances, and lots of energy. Check out our new video for “When the Sun Appears” on YouTube to get a taste of what’s in store.

NOHL: People can expect a pure, heartfelt rock record. I feel they should take time to enjoy the lyrics secondary to the amazing musical performances on this record to receive the messages.

What was it like working on the album?

DAVE: I’m quite happy with the results, but I found the album difficult to make. For me, if a song doesn’t feel fresh, unique, exciting, or if it doesn’t really attract me lyrically, harmonically, and/or melodically, I’m just not satisfied. And I’ll keep working at it and working at it until it finally feels “right.” For some reason, that happened a lot during the two-year period we spent preparing the material on “Oblivion.” We worked so hard to make all these songs the best they could be, and we did so knowing we wanted to this record to be different from our last one, “Golden State.

NOHL: It was a great learning experience, and at the same time it raised everyone’s performance bar to a new level.

The Shadow Principle

Are there any touring plans in support to “Oblivion”?

NOHL: We are currently supporting the record on a local basis only.  Should we hear good news from elsewhere, we definitely will be the first to jump on a plane and entertain the masses.

While we are on the subject of touring, what countries would you love to tour?

DAVE: Well, the Germans seem to like us: I would love to play there. Honestly, mounting a European tour is a life-long dream of mine. Touring Japan sounds like a blast, too, as does visiting South American countries with loads of rock fans.

Who and what inspire you the most?

DAVE: Musically speaking? Well, I’m a big fan of David Bowie’s songwriting, and Pete Townshend’s—and more recently of Steven Wilson’s. I love Beck’s acoustic-based stuff, too. And the guys in Interpol craft some pretty awesome songs. When it comes to bass, I’m all about the hall-of-famers: Chris Squire, John Entwhistle, Tony Levin, Geddy Lee, Jaco, of course, Alphonso Johnson, and Stanley Clarke. It doesn’t get better than those guys. Other music that has inspired me recently? Certainly Refused’s latest album “Freedom“—especially “Servants of Death” and “Elektra.” And I love Bowie’s “Blackstar,” but I can’t listen to it all the way through without getting incredibly bummed that he’s no longer with us. I also think Beck’s “Morning Phase,” TV on the Radio’s “Seeds,” and Radiohead’s “A Moon Shaped Pool” are all brilliant. All this music inspires me to write better songs, play better bass, and to remain open and curious about what great rock music can accomplish.

NOHL: The sense of self and the constant drive to be present in the world of illusion is truly what inspires me the most as an individual. I don’t believe in heroes nor in wearing their symbols—I’m here to make my own.

What other genres of music do you listen to? Have any of the other genres you listen to had any impact on your playing?

DAVE: As I mentioned above, I’m all over the map in terms of genre. Electronic music, ambient music, Progressive music, 70s glam rock, punk, post-punk, folk, even contemporary Top 40 has an impact on how I write and play. I try to absorb as much as possible from everything I hear.

NOHL: All genres—period. All genres have unique sonic perceptions, so all must be appreciated in my opinion.

I really appreciate you giving us your time today. Is there anything else you would like to tell us and the fans before we wrap things up?

DAVE: Please follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram so that we can keep you updated on our activities. And do check out the new record! You’ll find it on iTunes, Amazon, and Bandcamp. Also, if you dig us, tell your friends. Share a link to our stuff on social media. I can’t overstate the importance of those little gestures in this day and age. We’d love to keep making music for you—help us do so by spreading the word!

NOHL: Please do say “hi” to us on Facebook and feel free to contact us anytime. We would love to hear back from people if they felt inspired, or if a song had joined them in a process in life. We hope to see you at a show someday!

The Shadow Principle’s “Oblivion” is out now. Get it from Bandcamp.

Tilted Axes

Review: Tilted Axes – Music for Mobile Electric Guitars

New York-located experimental rock ensemble Tilted Axes released their full-length studio debut in July this year. On Music for Mobile Electric Guitars, this 15-piece expedition (according to album credits) led by guitarist Patrick Grant crafts energetic and tuneful experimental rock numbers that contain interludes of vast variety of different subgenres.

The dynamic rockers that sometimes shift into more vulnerable musings show off a band, or should we call it an orchestra, that can assuredly play a range of musical styles. The up-tempo rocker “Shapes 1” blends the best of the rock and pop genres. It’s an appealing, anthemic tune from start to finish that rolls along with optimistic determination.

Music for Mobile Electric Guitars

“Circulation in G Maybe” shakes with a calmer vibe, dealing with post and indie sides of rock. The jagged guitar line and pushy bass line and drum beat propel the song forward, while guitarists emote in a deeper, darker tone. In a twist on the traditional structure, a dreamier and slower paced ambience floats in briefly near song’s end.

“Theme Variation” could be described as everything opposed to the previous number; it’s far more fast and edgy, but it also dwells through the dreamy aspect. Heavy rock guitars and slamming drums interrupt the reverie, churning in a tumultuous mix. Just as suddenly, another transient lull appears, fades, and is replaced by a burst of alt-rock sonics.

A menacing groove, prominent bass line, and agitated drum beat run through “Techno Tilt.” There is much more than this on Music for Mobile Electric Guitars, which counts 17 tracks in total, and it waits to be discovered. Grab this album if you are all for a new adventures when it comes to music, and it will surely give you a lot to absorb.

Grab this fine piece of music from Bandcamp. Stay in touch with Tilted Axes via the band’s official website and Facebook.

The Shadow Principle - Oblivion

Review: The Shadow Principle – Oblivion

Post-punk is often regarded as a genre that has a lot of similar sounding bands, especially when it comes to vocals. LA’s The Shadow Principle do play to the post-punk sound pretty tightly but on their new, second album Oblivion, they also take the time to raise their music beyond the confines of that sound. How far they go beyond those confines is subjective but they do find something for everyone.

The album opens on the epic sprawl of “Minutae,” which cuts from a big beginning to fast-paced verse filled with light guitar flourishes that at times sound so flowing. The song’s guitar solo, awesomely performed by Reza Moosavi, takes the song out on a great note. The bass, courtesy of Dave Tomkins, on “When the Sun Appears” gives a nice secondary riff that outdoes the guitar at times. Vocals of Nohl Takahashi are a huge addition to the song’s energy and anthem-feeling vibe.

Byzantium” has a much more mysterious opening than the earlier tracks thanks to a great echoing atmospheric line at the beginning. The riffs that drive “Dead Walking” give it an opening well above many on the record.

Oblivion may not be a game-changer but it gives The Shadow Principle ground to stand on and a great example of their sound and talent. Even if you’re not a fan of post-punk with different influences you can get behind a track like “When the Sun Appears.The Shadow Principle play to their genre well while trying to explore other ideas within that sound.

Buy Oblivion here.

Excellion

Review: Excellion – Unsean

Mexican metallers Excellion return this August 6th with a brand new EP titled “Unsean.” The release brings five songs, what is quite a nice amount of music to dig into.

“Unsean” kicks off with excellent “Unsean pt. I – In Search of Infinity” in which the band showcases all their skills and directions the music tends to go. The sound you hear will undoubtedly remind you of likes such Ihsahn, Tool, Killswitch Engage and Pain of Salvation, with enough of originality what is the reason to give this EP enough time and patience.

Unsean

What plays a significant role in the music of Excellion are massive riffs, twisted harmonic changes and powerful rhythm section which grabs forth continuously. Drums that are often in shift, and especially, vocal that ranges from absolutely everything in rock and metal, parry very well to the rest of the team. Stylistically “Unsean” is very multi-faceted, but in the same time very compact and feels like an entity.

Follows “Unlucky Charms” which brings something more energetic and wilder face of the band. In “The Courier” Excellion demonstrates their arranging skills, while interestingly titled “Diablo Jr.” comes with an interesting arrangement and a lot of complex parts that feel rather simple in the context of the song. This piece features guest appearance from the Arcadia Libre’s guitarist Jose Macario.

The EP closes with a bit nostalgic and ethereal “Unsean pt. II – The Heart of the Sapphire,” which also brings tons of mood and intensity changes, and which leaves an incomplete feeling for wanting to hear more. Is this intentional or not will be answered some other time.

“Unsean” shows that this is not a release that brings hits, it’s not a radio sensation, and it’s not something that is going to have millions of views and become viral. At the end, the music is what matters and Excellion has a lot of unused potential which will, hopefully, result in something greater in the future.

Stay in touch with Excellion on Facebook.

Oak

Review: Oak – Lighthouse

The music of Oak is mainly inspired by the early albums of Porcupine Tree, Pink Floyd, and Sigur Rós. Although I hardly hear other influences or a small change in style on the band’s debut album, the small herd of fans of the band enjoy the sound of Oak over and over again. Maybe I suffer from the same disease because I cherish everything they have done on “Lighthouse.” Sigbjørn Reiakvam, Øystein Sootholtet, Simen Valldal Johannessen and Ole Michael Bjørndal present nothing new that could be considered to be innovative let alone shocking or groundbreaking.

Oak - Lighthouse

However, I guess musicians don’t have to be groundbreaking as long as an album contains beautiful music, even if one already knows what kind of music one can expect. Well, I’m not going to tell you what you can expect on Lighthouse. As I mentioned before there’s nothing new under the sun, so people who are familiar with Oak know what is to be expected; they can buy this album without listening to it first. They know that beautiful guitar passages and mellow keyboard parts are all over the place!

Lighthouse is highly recommended to everyone who looks for a melancholic music that bites and is infectious.

Visit Oak on Facebook for more info.

Vitruvius

Review: Vitruvius – Above The Silvered Sky

There are symphonic metal bands, power metal bands, progressive metal bands, classically influenced and trained metal musicians. Then there are bands that know how to take all those elements and disciplines and perfectly balance them into their own unique sound. This is what Mexico City’s own Vitruvius have done on their second full-length Above The Silvered Sky.  Founded in 2007, Vitruvius have gone through several line-up changes over the course of almost ten years, but the current and the most steady line-up features Dulce Robles on vocals, Oskar Villarreal on guitars and bass, and Ronnie Rodriguez on drums.

Above the Silvered Sky

It was sharing stages and hours of rehearsals that gave the band that unique quality to forge their own sound that would manifest itself into one of the strongest albums I have heard in 2016 so far. It was if they have taken a concerto orchestra and transcribed it on to heavy guitars, bass, drums and vocals. Not like an opera but like a supporting multi piece instrumental orchestra in the supporting act of a musical.

Although the tracks seem short in length at times, the listener still has a epic listening experience through various time signatures and change progressions. There is always a hook or unpredictable harmony or melody around the corner of every track on the album. The harmonies are executed with clarity and the instrumental melodies compliment those harmonies with grace and poise. The rhythm sections are insane and tight in some places. Vitruvius is definitely a band for fans of symphonic, melodic, progressive metal with influences of jazz fusion.

Vitruvius online:

Bandcamp

Facebook

Too High To Say Hello

Review: Kiss Kiss King Kong – Too High To Say Hello

Norway’s power trio Kiss Kiss King Kong assault listeners’ ears with highly energetic and sporadic bursts of brilliant dynamics on “To High To Say Hello.” Colorful, complex, and superbly catchy, the band’s debut album is an exceptional collection of hyperactive post-rock and noisy flights of fancy, with momentous musicianship infectious hooks scattered throughout. This album is adventurous, imaginative, and surprising. In fact, it’s the most fearless and unique album I’ve heard this year, although it’s a release from 2015.

The opening “Intro the Night” kickstarts “Too High To Say Hello” like an auditory coma. On “668: Neighbour To The Beast,” the music jolts with a start/stop frenzy that’s too tremendous to ignore. The guitarist provides an impassioned melody for each wildly creative rhythmic shift, which vary between hectic, tranquil, and atmospheric. Best of all, this song proves to be one of the most inventive and unforeseen tracks I’ve heard all year. The psyched-out guitar work is seductive, and the instrumentation on this tune veers more towards psychedelic swing than anything progressive. It bleeds into the equally exciting rock’n’roll banter “Rock All Night” and its follow-up “On A High,” making for completely unexpected stylistic shifts.

Further on, “Bordell California” lives up to the zany awesomeness of its title. It’s luscious, multifarious, and wholly confident — considering it is the longest piece on the record. It is perhaps the most experimental piece on the album, and definitely one of the biggest highlights of “Too High To Say Hello.

Post-punk trails on short “Jet Age” further contribute to the album’s overall multicolourness. The closing “Rewind” is an elegant piece with soaring vocals and tasteful melody.

Too High To Say Hello” is so inimitable. Rarely have I been so impressed with the sheer nonconformity of an album. Then again, it’s equally rare to find a modern band who strives so hard to set itself apart from the pack. Without a doubt, this one is special.

Grab a copy of “Too High To Say Hello” from iTunes. Like Kiss Kiss King Kong on Facebook.

News, Interviews & Reviews from the Metal World and Beyond