So here we come to one of the best debut albums of 2015. Vederkast from Tromso in Norway delivered an outstanding full-length debut with “Northern Gothic.” Such a great release doesn’t come without experience, and the band members confirmed that they have been part of stylistically different bands and projects over the years. Having said that, “Northern Gothic” feels indeed as a release that borrows from many different styles which together form a powerful entity.
The album is comprised of nine songs in total, which successfully blend together melodic and heavy. “Skirmish” sets the album on track with heavy hitting of drummer Magnus Tornensis and grandiose singing of Paul-Rene Aronson, who also handles bass duties.
There is some really lush, melodic fare on display here, such as the swinging “Malison,” complete with layers of alluring guitars of Finn Fodstad and Sindre Bakland, and clean vocals, while always impressive rhythm section of Aronson and Tornensis drive the more aggressive pieces “Into The Unknown” and “Forget Me Not.” Each one of these pieces mesh nimble progressive metal with hard and stoner rock, and the interplay between these four musicians is astonishing.
“Northern Gothic” is at times aggressive, at times melodic, but where the band really shines is the mixture of the two with addition of atmospheric and poignant arrangements, giving the album variety and allowing each song on the record to expand fully. For an album that brings a listener to their world, this is an excellent career opener.
“Northern Gothic” is available from Bandcamp. Follow Vederkast on Facebook for future updates.
Fields of God is the third studio album from Croatian experimental band ZAYN. The band employs wide spectre of elements in their music, and if you are a fan of bands such like Cult of Luna, Enslaved, Isis, Tool, and more, I kid you not, you will make a room in your heart for this album.
Fields of God consists of modern day, relentless, in-your-face sludge riffs, and pounding rhythm section. The drums by Alen Rozman really shine through over the thrashing, heart-pounding tracks with insane sound quality and wicked speed that are easily to focal point in many of the songs.
ZAYN add this ear-popping and near hypnotic distortion to their heaviness which really adds character to the album. Although there are no vocals, the band makes up for it by a mind blowing performance.
The strong points in Fields of God is its ridiculous drumming technique and the way they make it not so repetitive on each track by playing around with wild and diverse intros and outros. Their heavy take on the already heavy genres is what makes this record a very pleasant discovery.
ZAYN currently writing songs for their next album, and if judging by this one, we can expect something really good. They also plan a small tour in 2016, so if they come near you, make sure to check them out.
Fields of God is available on Bandcamp. You can follow the band on Facebook here.
Multi-instrumentalist from Arizona, Lanes Laire sets his musical direction towards progressive rock with his solo project and album “Resurrection of Black.” The influence of rock stalwarts such as Beatles, Pink Floyd and Rush are there—Lanes takes the best from this classic artists and adds up own structures, making a perfect mixture of familiar and unknown.
“Resurrection of Black” brings eight songs in total, and it runs the gamut of elements from the rock’s rich history. That variety, Lanes’ influences and experience help “Resurrection of Black” to come up as a powerful release. Overall, the sound of the album is very calm and warm, but there are parts when the tempo gets hot and it drives songs through the classic rock waters. To put it simply, Lanes’ sound can be described as progressive rock with classic rock influences. His guitar solos can also be described simple—they are great. Those guitars are adding the flavour of classic rock to his prog side, making his soloing even more striking. Especially on the closing track, “Justifiable Condemnation” Lares provides an outstanding work. Laire follows in the steps of the prime guru David Gilmour.
There are billions of rock albums in the world. “Resurrection of Black” is one of them. It may not bring something new, but it also doesn’t try to impair the meaning of the rock music that we know. Lanes remains true to oldies and suited them well for 2015, what is not something we experience often these days. It is always nice to try something new with the vintage flavour. You gotta try it too.
Buy “Resurrection of Black” from Lanes Laire’s shop here.
Atlanta based death/black metal band, Darkening is a project of composer, producer and drummer Jeff Carter. Darkening is one of those bands who know very well how to merge “soft” elements with dark music without killing its meaning with melodic death metal influences and ambient guitars accompanied with growls.
Darkening recently released their debut album titled “Augür.” The record feels like a medium that hides the feeling of loneliness in its forsaken sound. Not only the music, but also lyrics and artwork help to feel the darkness. Simply it can be told that the name of the band feels right.
There are nine tracks in total on “Augür.” It kicks off with a nice instrumental intro. In some parts of the album vocals are done in a death metal way, but drumming is more characteristic for the black metal genre.
“Augur” is not just a raw album. It also has its emotional side. This album perhaps summarises a part of one’s life. That is why I found it different and gave this album a spin. Check out this record if you are looking for a release that is aggressive, dark but also emotional.
Buy “Augür” from Bandcamp here. Follow Darkening on Facebook.
Orymus is a hard rock/heavy metal band from Switzerland influenced largely by progressive rock. These experienced musicians from Bern play together for over ten years and they released two full-length albums so far. Their debut “Escape to Reality” was released in 2013, and this year they returned with “Miracles.”
Comparing these two releases, it’s evident that the band grew up and became more cohesive. With “Miracles” they are going more than thirty years back, where the roots of rock and metal are. “Miracles” is a tribute to the best of that era, the band stay truthful to their sound wrapped up in new attire and are ready to rock more than ever.
The album that was released this past March is quite a short for today’s standards with its approximately 40 minutes and ten tracks. Its sound is something that our ears are accustomed to. Every person who has interest in rock and metal music has come into this kind of sound at least once. Singer Daniel Brönnimman is a perfect fit for singing Orymus’ songs. His vocals for Orymus is like a chocolate cake that accompanies coffee. From the very fist moments of the album until the finishing melody guitar solos are striking, and accompanied with stunning vocals by Brönnimann they make “Miracles” an enjoyable experience. It’s been a long since I heard such a refreshing release coming from this genre, and though vintage in its nature “Miracles” does bring a lot of refreshment.
All of us started listening to music with likes such as Led Zeppelin, Whitesnake, Rainbow or Deep Purple. Orymus is influenced by these greats but with lots of elements developed by themselves. If you are a nostalgic person, it is the right time for you to give a try to this underrated Swiss band.
You can buy “Miracles” from Bandcamp. It would be good if you follow Orymus on Facebook too.
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.
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.
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.
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” 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.
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.
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 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.
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