All posts by Alex

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.

Drumm

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.

Links:

http://www.deepstare.eu

https://www.facebook.com/deepstareband

Orymus

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.

Miracles

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.

Orymus_small

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.

Prospective

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.

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.

Prospective

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.

Chronosphere

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.