Category Archives: Reviews

Orion Tango - Orion Tango - Orion Tango

Review: Orion Tango – Orion Tango

Five tracks and almost fifty minutes of music is what you get with the debut album from Philadelphia bass experimental outfit Orion Tango. The band members, Tim Motzer (guitars), Barry Meehan (bass) and Jeremy Carlsted (drums), have played together in various projects already, but this is their first time together in a power trio format.

Orion Tango - Orion Tango - cover

The band members are skilled musicians who understand being in a band that largely relies on improvisation. The guitar and electronic textures are astonishing; the drums are usually heavy and grasped with the prowess of a master craftsman, great tone and very vibrant, sometimes leading the songs through complex instrumental workouts. The same can be said of the bass. Barry Meehan often delivers a fuzzy tone, giving the tunes a heavy bottom end when there is a need for that. Usually the main issue with this kind of albums is with melody, because it often gets lost in the predominant experimentation, but Orion Tango answers that challenge flawlessly. These three gentlemen are to be commended for making challenging music completely outside the box.

Find Your Happy Place” opens the album under a nodding groove; the trio gives the soundscape an almost unsettling atmospheric feel. The song comes along with energetic motives and gentler, almost ambient atmospheres. “SuperGun” is when all hell breaks loose as heavy drum beats and greasy bass take the piece in completely free form regions. The band often takes different directions with psychedelic guitar and space rock atmospherics. Orion Tango take the extraordinary to another level. On the seventeen minute epic “Gravity Knife,” Orion Tango engages into another improvisational affair with equal amounts of heavy eccentrics and space rock multi-coulourness.

If you are a fan of experimental music, Orion Tango’s self-titled debut release is definitely an album that you’ll find enjoyable.

Buy it here.

Daar

Review: Daar – One-Way Expedition

The use of technology such as smartphones, computers and Internet mostly, perhaps have negative effects on many things, including music. But on the other side, there are also positive impacts especially when it comes to unknown or new bands. Some of them are really talented, and although without experience, this talent is bringing them to more advanced levels. Some countries are opening the ways for talent more than the others. Serbia, I think is one of those countries for which it’s hard to rise to prominence in many aspects, including music, yet Daar was born there.

Daar - One Way Expedition

The roots of this band, hailing from the city of Kragujevac, go long way back to the ’90s. Passionate for the progressive rock music, these guys jammed together but due to unfortunate events the band’s work had to be terminated. But their love towards music prevailed, and the guys formed a new band and named it Daar. The current formation of the band was formed in 2011, and in 2012 they started to work on what has become their debut album “One-Way Expedition,” which was released earlier this year.

A great instrumental piece of progressive rock accompanied with guitar work that is very creative, imaginative guitar solos and ethnic motives. This is the music that forces any limits, and that is something that must be admired. Especially for a genre like progressive rock where the music has to be innovative. Ethnic touches in the music of this band take the prog rock to new heights. This is best documented on the fourth track “Scars,” and the closing, title song. The latter elaborates on the band’s creativity of matching ethnic motives with flying guitar solos.

This five-track release is a very refreshing album. If you are tired of listening to the progressive rock that’s struck and repeats itself, make sure to check this album out. This is one of the must-hear records of 2015.

Vederkast

Review: Vederkast – Northern Gothic

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.

Vederkast - Northern Gothic

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.

Lanes Laire

Review: Lanes Laire – Resurrection of Black

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.

Lanes Laire - Resurrection of Black

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.

Jeff Carter

Review: Darkening – Augür

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.

Augür

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

Review: Orymus – Miracles

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.

Miracles
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.

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.

Turbulence

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.

Disequilibrium

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.

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.