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althea

Interview with ALTHEA

Althea is a progressive metal quintet from Milan in Italy. The band defines their mission as “developing a free-of-schemes progressive metal rock,” and fans of the genre will have an opportunity to hear that on their upcoming release titled “Memories Have No Name.” I talked with the band about the album and more, and here is what they had to say.

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

Great… we getting closer to another year end and closer and closer to the release of MHNN. We are really excited about it!

Speaking of new music, you have an album coming out in January. What can people expect from “Memories Have No Name”?

A journey into the inner self, an entertainment experience. MHNN is an album made of 1 song divided in 16 chapters, with a lot of introspective sections and a lot of different sounds.

From the musical perspective, it is of course a progressive rock/metal with dark atmosphere, tons of sonic layers but still with a lot of melody.

What was it like working on the album?

It was awesome! We had amazing times and a lot of fun. It was also a lot stressful. For this album we followed a new approach to our music and we recorded the album by ourselves in our home studio. We then moved to MoonHouse studios in Milan with Danilo Di Lorenzo for mixing and mastering phases. Given this, we had a lot of additional work to be done on our own but the result is very satisfying.

memories-have-no-name_cover

Are there any touring plans in support to “Memories Have No Name”?

We are in the middle of the organization of the promotional activities, including trying to book as many live shows as possible. You know, the album is quite complex from a sonic point of view and it’s not the easiest album to bring live – we are working on it and we would like also to bring some visual accompanying to the music. Let’s see you far we can go!

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

We would really like to bring our music as far as possible, without geographical limits. We would probably be very curious to see the reaction of fans in countries like India, China, etc, where it’s not very common to see progressive acts. But we really love playing everywhere!

Who and what inspires you the most?

Our inspiration comes from a huge variety of sources and in the past years we’ve been listening to a lot of different stuff. Currently we are exploring more experimental and industrial sounds. To say a name, we can easily go for Nine Inch Nails now, or some solo work from Richard Barbieri as well.

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

Yes, of course. As said before we’ve grown up with different influences and with different favorite artists. Each one of us have different musical taste from avant-garde metal to alternative/indie rock passing through more extreme metal acts and traditional prog rock and all of our musical background in some way influences our songwriting and style. A very big common point in all our listening is for sure melody, and you can easily hear how this is reflected in our work as well.

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?

Thank you for you time, it’s always a pleasure. We would like to take to opportunity to invite the fans to listen to MHNN as a single song, all in a raw. It’s something we really care of, and we would like the listener to have a journey experience, rather than skipping from one song to the other. Also, please always buy original music and support emerging acts!

We hope to see you soon!

Links:

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elarcos

Review: Elarcos – Tecnocracia

Introducing Elarcos, a progressive metal group from Montevideo, Uruguay, boasting some truly unique fusion influences.

The band was brought to life in 2009, and although they have been around for quite a few years now, they recently debuted with their full-length album, Tecnocracia, released on October 1st, 2016.

tecnocracia

What can I say? Well, it was definitely worth the wait. Throughout the years, the band didn’t sit around rolling their thumbs. Instead, they refined their sound and came up with a truly unique concept, putting lots of thoughts into their arrangements and more importantly, creating music that transcend genre definitions, while being united by a common thread. The artwork of the sleeve and the title the band chose for the album, “Tecnocracia” is a very poignat commentary to the way the world is headed with technology, but the concept is not just about the aesthetics and the idea. The music is also affected by it, with an industrial overtone acting like a glue that brings verything together. While some of the tracks pack a lot of punch in a fairly standard song format (the first few songs are all under the 5 minute mark), songs such as the title tracks add to the truly unique spirit of this release making for a formidable sonic journey that serves as the true heart of this record.

Elarcos set out to debut with a truly masterful record, where they set out to showcase their writing skills, as well as their musical mastery in full display.

Links:

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Shepherds of Cassini

Review: Shepherds of Cassini – Helios Forsaken

Generally our ears are accustomed to hear music that mostly originates from European countries or North America, especially when it comes to artists that play progressive rock/metal. Shepherds of Cassini are breaking that “rule” and reach out from very far New Zealand. The quartet is making music that could be described as post-progressive rock/metal with addition of space rock. The biggest trademark of this young group is usage of violin in their music. Although they certainly are not the first band with this instrument in the mix, Shepherds’ violin player Felix Lun makes the band’s sound incredibly rich and delicious.

 

The band released two albums so far. Their self-tiled album was released in 2013, and the other one is actually this year’s release titled “Helios Forsaken.” This recording is a must-hear album of 2015, as it comes with a strong structure and plenty of untried elements. Their songs are pretty lengthy, but no matter of that the band is capable of taking you into their world by spellbounding sound which doesn’t make you feel bored in any moment.

 

Shepherds of Cassini - Helios Forsaken
With “Helios Forsake” Shepherds of Cassini show that they pay a lot of attention to instrumentation. However, they also succeed in creating outstanding great vocal segments, courtesy of Brendan Zwan, wrapping up the predominant instrumental soundscapes. Usage of unconventional instruments is a big plus, and helps “Helios Forsaken” to stand out.

 

As an absolute favourite of this six-track release, I would single out the title track. It deserves to be named after the album (or the opposite). This piece is a bit darker than the other songs on the album, and it features a good unison of clean and growl vocals that I mentioned earlier.

 

Something fresh and innovative comes together with something we already love. And its name is Shepherds of Cassini.

 

 

Links:

https://shepherdsofcassini.bandcamp.com

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Jonas Lindberg & The Other Side

Jonas Lindberg & The Other Side is a Swedish Progressive rock/AOR project started in Stockholm 2012 by bassplayer, songwriter and producer Jonas Lindberg.

The band is now actual with a new CD called “The Other Side”, released thru Jonas’s own label ModeMusic in 2013. The music is all new material written and produced by Jonas himself and has been influenced by many bands in the progressive genre like “The Flower Kings”, ”Spock’s Beard” and “Toto”. Some people has described the band’s sound as being “a crossing between Pink
Floyd, Sting and Genesis”.

It all started back in 2008 when a first EP “In Secret Pace” was recorded by Jonas as an exam-project at the School of Music in Piteå, Sweden. The first EP featured a large lineup of musicians, and when it was released in 2012 time came to record a new one. This time Jonas felt the need to do it with a 5 piece band and the bandname ”Jonas Lindberg & The Other Side” didn’t surface until 2013 when the new CD was released. The Other Side features a group of friends and very talented musicians, all of them having a proffessional career and playing alongside some of the biggest musical acts in Sweden.

The Other Side is available at the band’s website and as download at all the online music stores as iTunes, Spotify and Bandcamp!

http://www.lindbergmusic.com/

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Humble Grumble

Crazed jazzy and avant-proggy Belgian ensemble Humble Grumble seem “Zappa-esque” in their meld of anything-goes music and sometimes outrageous, sometimes incongruously dark lyrics, but the roots of the band are on the somewhat folkier side. Hungarian singer/guitarist Gabor “Humble” Vörös wandered around Europe before settling in the Ghent, Belgium area in 1993. He participated in a number of musical projects, including a somewhat oddball folk-rock outfit named Dearest Companion, also featuring multi-instrumentalist Tom Theuns. Vörös (on guitar and vocals) and Theuns (on bass) formed Humble Grumble in 1996, and a quintet version of the group toured Switzerland and Germany and recorded a pair of demos that year, The Golden Pile and The Tom and Gabor Special. (Singer/guitarist David Bovée was another member of Dearest Companion, and Bovée later went on to form Think of One, whose debut disc, 1998′s Juggernaut, featured appearances by Humble Grumble‘s musicians.) Theuns would soon depart the group, however, to form Ambrozijn with violinist Wouter Van Den Abeele, and Humble Grumble largely became a vehicle for realizing whatever ideas might spring from Vörös‘ imagination.

After the privately released Dreamwavepatterns in 2000 and Rockstar in 2004, Humble Grumble issued 30 Years Kolinda on the Pan Records label in 2005. Vörös had become enamored of the music of Hungarian folk outfit Kolinda, and embarked on the 30 Years Kolinda project and album after meeting group mainstay Peter Dabasi in Budapest. To mark Kolinda‘s 30th anniversary, Vörös invited Dabasi to perform live with Humble Grumble, and, aside from one track, the associated 30 Years Kolinda album featured Dabasi compositions exclusively. The album also marked the arrival of several musicians who would remain key members of Humble Grumble in the future: saxophonist Pol Mareen, clarinetist Pedro Guridi, and bassist Jouni Isoherranen.

Several years would pass between the release of 2005′s 30 Years Kolinda and Humble Grumble‘s next album, The Face of Humble Grumble, which arrived in 2008 on the Cocktail Soul Productions label and featured re-recordings of material from Dreamwavepatterns and Rockstar. In addition to Vörös, Mareen, Guridi, and Isoherranen, the musicians on The Face of Humble Grumble also included Pieter Claus on marimba, Jonathan Callens on drums, and a pair of singers, Megan Quill and Franciska Roose, who good-naturedly harmonized with decidedly quirky frontman Vörös. From that point forward, Humble Grumble would settle into a lineup of guitar/vocals, saxophone, clarinet, marimba/vibraphone, bass, and drums, plus female vocal chorus and other guests.

Meanwhile, to the south in Milan, Italy, producer Marcello Marinone and friends at the AltrOck label were taking notice of Humble Grumble, and ultimately concluded that the group would fit in well with the imprint’s avant-prog artist roster. Providing the group with its widest distribution yet, AltrOck released the ambitious yet crazily offbeat Flanders Fields CD in 2011; the album featured Vörös, Mareen, Guridi, Isoherranen, Claus, and Callens, plus Quill and Lisa Jordens (replacing Roose) among a slew of 11 guest musicians, most of them vocalists. Two years later, Humble Grumble returned with their second AltrOck release, Guzzle It Up!, featuring the same basic core lineup plus guests; singer Quill was now deemed a full bandmember but Jordens had departed, with Liesbeth Verlaet joining Quill in the band’s female vocal duo (with matching nautical motif miniskirts and over-the-knee socks), and Joren Cautaers was the group’s new vibraphonist, although Pieter Claus took a “guest” marimba solo on one track.

Official website: http://www.humblegrumble.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/humblegrumble

Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/humblegrumble

LastFm: http://www.last.fm/music/Humble+Grumble

Reverbnation: http://www.reverbnation.com/humblegrumble

Purevolume: http://www.purevolume.com/HumbleGrumble

Twitter: https://twitter.com/humblegrumble

Download Store: https://www.facebook.com/humblegrumble/app_256579511063777