Category Archives: Reviews

Fake Heroes

Review: Fake Heroes – Clouds

Fake Heroes is a progressive metal band from Pescara, Italy that released its new record entitled Clouds in September 2015. Fake Heroes have plenty of musical elements to offer.

A wide spectre of influences ranging from the likes such Steven Wilson, TesseracT, Karnivool, Dream Theater puts this guys right in the top of the new forces of the genre. Fake Heroes’ music is catchy and supported by a lot of choruses that appear in almost every song.

The band is able to groove and brings in a good diversity in their songs, while being focused on one big concept that is clearly visible. Due to the fact that Fake Heroes works with stylistic elements that appear on several songs, the whole record seems to be composed with a huge pot of ideas in the background. The band probably made a big effort to emphasis the album’s concept, and slowly painted the structure of their newest record.

Clouds

Clouds is exactly what fans of progressive metal would like to listen to. Some parts remind of TesseracT, with their progressive drumming and groovy djent guitars, while the vocals are catchy, striking a variety of well composed vocal lines. The whole record feels enormously round and self-contained. Some parts of the record are heavier and even sometimes it sounds more like rock than a metal album. All in all, it is to mention that the diversity on this record is pretty good. The balance between a heavy metal record and a melodic rock record is very decent on Clouds, while it will intrigue both sides and so provides a big mass-appeal to the audience.

Atmospheres

Review: Atmospheres – The Departure

Atmosphere was formed in 2012 by guitarist and composer Stef Exelmans, and for such a short time the band has come far. There is a band here with perfect clean vocals, djenty guitars and atmospheric (see what I did here?) melodies—all of that wrapped up with instant time changes. Anything that your ears are ready to accept can be found here. If you find most of today’s prog metal boring, Atmospheres do something that is new and interesting by fusing what we already know with something unconventional.

The Departure

Comparing with the previous album, “The Departure” builds up on the self-titled album by focusing more on explorations of the ambient side of the music spectre. It’s clearly visible that the band gained a lot of experience over the course of time, and that improvement is also shown through the accessibility of the material on “The Departure.”

Lyrically, the new recording brings a lot more; it has an attitude. The album art is simple, minimalistic, and it tells you “just listen to me, I am not here to make a show, I am who I am.”

Atmospheres are as good as your favourite Belgian chocolate.

Buy this great album from Bandcamp.

Deep Stare

Review: Deep Stare – Triplet EP

Czech Republic is like a treasure house for progressive metal lovers. They have a lot of great bands already. And almost constantly new great band comes to the scene. Deep Stare is one of these progressive metal bands shaped that is just starting their, hopefully, long-lasting career. This trio makes instrumental music, although one of the tracks from their recently released EP “Triplet” includes spoken-word parts.

Deep Stare - Triplet

The band was formed in 2013, and the members have been working together in other projects and bands (most notably ClayFeeders), what makes Deep Stare more experienced in the music business when you compare with other young bands. Last two years Deep Stare had a very hectic schedule. 2014 brought them lots of gigs in Germany and Czech Republic, they have gained more experience by supporting big bands and by playing plenty of concerts. In the meantime the band completed work on the debut EP, which was released in May 2015.

“Triplet” has three songs in total. First and the last pieces are completely instrumental. And they summarise what instrumental prog metal should sound like. The band rarely relies on what other influential groups have been doing for years, and they focused on creating material that stands on its own.

The first song is called “Eternal Sense,” and guitar riffs, drumming and the overall melody fit well together, although I might say that adding vocals over these instrumental parts would make it far more interesting. “Words of Wisdom’” starts with a great Gimouresque solo guitar— tasty, slow, calm, and familiar to your ears. The song keeps on in the direction of the EP itself in a proggy way after the mentioned solo.

If you are constantly looking for new bands, check out Deep Stare from Prague. They have created a release that hints that they can deliver something good in the future.

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.