Tag Archives: Featured

PuzzleWood

Interview with PUZZLEWOOD

PuzzleWood from Moscow are a three-piece who back in November released their full-length debut “Gates of Loki.” The band classifies their work as “post-prog,” and I believe that it really is a fitting genre tag for what you can find on the album.

Guitarist and singer Anton Legatov spoke for Progstravaganza about the album.

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

Could be better, could be worse, much worse actually. So I’m fine.

What can people expect from “Gates of Loki”?

They can expect something unusual. Something they are unaccostomed to. I perfectly understand, that every musician says things like that about his project, but in this case it is the objective truth…At least I think so. Gates of Loki is not the album, that is easy to understand. It is necessary to dive into it, spend your time and pay some attention. But I’m sure, that the result will be satisfying for an attentive listener.

Gates of Loki
What was it like working on the album?

As usual – local branch of Hell of Earth. Writing an album is hard, recording it — much harder. Especially considering the conditions we had during our work. Though, it is pleasant, that from such a disorganised and greviously senseless chaos, something interesting was born.

Are there any touring plans in support to “Gates of Loki”?

Presently there are no such plans, because we don’t have people ready to organise such tour. If someone appears, we’ll gladly go on tour even to the Antarctic. We like giving live shows very much.

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

All of them. I sincerely believe, that the musician’s core is to be a traveller, a bard. To wander around the world and play his music and sing his songs. This is what I consider the destiny of those, who chooses the Music to be his craft. Whether we are invited to Europe, USA, Canada or Japan – it doesn’t really matter. We’ll gladly perform anywhere and it’ll be a great honor for us.

Who and what inspires you the most?

Everything. I always say, that we don’t write the music. The Music writes itself and we are doing our best to deliver it the way we percieve its desire to exist. That is why it’s not for us to decide when it comes to us willing to be written.

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

It may seem surprising, but I almost don’t listen Prog or Post-Prog. And in general I don’t listen to Rock music much. Often people compare us with Purcupine Tree or TOOL, but I must confess, I haven’t listened to any track of those two bands. Even now. I was on the concert of Steven Wilson once, but he was playing the material from his new album at that time, not the Purcupine’s. I have a lot of different music in my playlist, but mostly I’m old-fashioned. Very rarely I listen to music, written after the 1995. I listen to a lot of ethnic music, lots of jazz, blues of late 70s and middle of 80s. And, of course, the academic music. It is a must.

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?

Thanks for your interest and attention to what we do. It is very good to know that politics and international issues don’t create prejudice and barriers for the art and love to music.

“Gates of Loki” is out now; order it from Bandcamp. Follow PuzzleWood on Facebook.

The Seathmaw Project

Interview with THE SEATHMAW PROJECT

The Seathmaw Project is Geovanni Munoz, an one-man melodic death metal band from Dallas. In December, he released his third studio album “Inexistence,” and he spoke for Progstravaganza about it, his influences, and other genres.

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

Life is good, it can always be better but it’s good.

Speaking of new music, you have an album. What can people expect from “Inexistence”?

For the longtime listeners it’s more of the same just more refined, balanced, and sharp.  For the new listeners they can expect a bit of an unorthodox approach to metal.  Typically you get a band that gives you one genre or sub-genre and that’s it, there’s a handful of bands that blend a couple of styles every now and then. Then there’s The Seathmaw Project,  you get a lot of different sub-genres thrown at you and there’s no telling what’s coming next.  The song can start like a thrash metal song and you think it’s going to remain that way but it can merge into a break-beat style, then slap you in the face with some black metal and before you know it you’re leaving the song with a stoner rock style.  It’s bananas!

The Seathmaw Project - Inexistence

What was it like working on the album?

It’s pretty chill, this album kinda just wrote itself.  Since I have full control of everything the only person I have to argue with is myself,  and that leads nowhere so its a simple process.

Are there any touring plans in support to “Inexistence”?

That’s the dream, unfortunately not the reality at the moment, the drawback to being the sole creator of the music is there’s no one around to take the music from the studio to the stage.  The live band would ideally be a five piece, maybe one day.

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

With my previous band Inbryo we toured across the US, and that was fun but that was our backyard. I would love to tour Norway just cause of the amazing metal that has come from there.  Italy would be cool too, and a lot of the sales from my albums seem to come from France, so I’m thinking that be a cool experience to play to my fans in France.

Who and what inspires you the most?

James Hetfield inspires me and lets me know that metal never dies, dude is still cranking out the riffs like a mofo, that’s the coolest most inspiring person in metal today in my opinion.  What keeps me going is the future, what songs I will create, will I learn to sing? the unknown is a great inspiration.

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

Oh man, great question.  I listen to a wide range of music: Indie Rock, Pop, Pop Rock, Speed Metal, Thrash Metal, Death metal, Black Metal, Symphonic Metal, Goth Metal, Industrial, NuMetal, Melodic Death Metal, Hardcore, Hip-Hop, Traditional Mexican… I could go on for days, I think it’s important to listen to as many genres as you can handle, I’m a music head, I love music.  I think I draw from all of them for sure, a little bit of everything in the stew. My starting band was Metallica so Thrash Metal runs through my veins, I love speed more than anything in all of music, a good fast song regardless of style of music just gets me going.

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 guys for giving me a platform to speak on. To all new and old school fans that have been there from the beginning, thank you, good things are coming, these 3 albums are just the beginning.

“Inexistence” is available from Bandcamp.

Lunar logo

Review: Lunar – Theogony

Sacramento’s Progressive Death Metal newcomers, Lunar, delivered a debut album “Theogony” in November via Divebomb Records. Where listening to this might have you perusing your music collection afterwards for more of the same. The album itself is a satisfying and worthwhile addition to any playlist. Submit to the awesome and let these youngsters’ killing fields slay your senses.

Theogony

Fans of the tried and tested Opeth-influenced sound will find familiar themes to their liking, executed with finesse, while ripping your own speaker cabs a new hole. “Theogony” is definitely no flower show. Contained within this carefully planned victory bed is a clamor of exotic screams and rumbling drumwork, placed within carnivorous riffage. All of these factors groove within thunderous foundations that lure you deeper with every hook as the album progresses.

The journey through “Theogony” is saturated with unholy light that makes monstrous solos and cacophonous riffs appear to further seduce those dangerous enough to approach its ominous perimeter. Uncompromising and intense Lunar promise a dark and intangible odyssey through their song titles, making good on pledge with the entrancingly moribund peaks that excite the imagination while their gallant stride captures your body and entices you to windmill.

Links:

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Barry Weinberg

Review: Barry Weinberg – Samsarana

Samsarana, the debut album credited to the name of South Florida-based composer Barry Weinberg, is an early treat of 2018. Samsarana is one of those rare musical efforts that manage to sound like very little else. With derivative acts a dime a dozen on the current music scene, listening to such an album can be an exhilarating experience.

Unabashedly eclectic, Samsarana can be described as a ‘protest album’, and with very good reason. However, it is first and foremost a collection of inspired, thought-provoking compositions performed by a talented musician. When such talent is assembled and put together, the results may often be a tad underwhelming – especially when musicians forget that they are at the service of the music, and not the other way round.

Barry Weinberg - Samsarana Thankfully, this is not the case with Samsarana. The impressive cohesion between all the instruments involved results in fifteen tracks that display a remarkably original approach, even when external influences can be detected. While listening to the album for the first time, the closest comparison that came into my mind was with the sound encompassing everything from the late ‘70s to the early ‘90s. In contrast with the majority of prog albums released in the past years, Samsarana is based on relatively short compositions — and, indeed, half of the tracks are songs with a more or less ‘conventional’ verse-chorus-verse structure. The album might even be seen as a lesson on how to produce music that does not rely on 30-minute epics or convoluted concept stories in order to be progressive.

A masterful blend of mainstream sensibilities, socially-aware lyrics, intriguing atmospheres and stunning instrumental and vocal performances, this is a unique album that is warmly recommended to progressive music fans.

Samsarana is out on January 25th; pre-order the album here.

Gökböri

Review: Gökböri – Erlik

As much as I have attempted to explore it, I cannot say that I have been able to decipher — much less appreciate — the trend of thrash metal. There have certainly been bands in the style that I have greatly enjoyed, but as a whole, I cannot understand its fixation with speed and soloing over what I perceive to be musicality, not to mention the fact that so many of the bands seem content to mirror the existing sounds of the style. On that note, I see a world of potential when the aggression of thrash is melded with more progressive sensibilities. Voivod pulled it off beautifully, and now Gökböri is taking these genres and going somewhere interesting with it. True enough, Gökböri’s second album “Erlik” is not revolutionizing the sounds of the genre by any degree, but the band’s greater depth in their composition makes them one of the best bands on the current scene.

Gökböri - Erlik

From the album artwork alone, I get the feeling that Gökböri is taking after more classic thrash outfits. The music generally follows suit with this, although there is certainly a drawn influence from the more straightforward acts like Slayer and Exodus. The music is fast and furious for the most part, relying on riffs that immerse themselves in technical finesse as well as a rawer aggression that I sense often in the style. Balancing this out though is a dynamic, not only from heaviness to softer moments, but also in tempo. Often, the band will go from a blistering foray of furious soloing and likeminded rhythms, and then break down into something more atmospheric and doomy. The fast parts are admittedly fairly generic from an instrumental standpoint, but the fact that these compositions are given more than one-gear speed is enough to make Gökböri stand apart from most in my books.

Gökböri’s “Erlik” is a very good album, taking the best parts of thrash metal and making an album that is both intelligent and a hell of a lot of fun.

The Image You Claim

Review: The Image You Claim – Painted Visions

Ventura County, California’s The Image You Claim debuted in October with a full-length titled Painted Visions.

Painted Visions is a slow burner, sounding good on its first listen but unfolding into its full potential on the second or third play. Launching with Medusa – an epic introduction with a bit atmospheric tone – The Image You Claim immediately introduce their duality: combining chugging technical metal with dark, prophetic vocals one moment and angst ridden screams the next. This dichotomy of sound continues as the swirling opening of Demented leads into a song that captures the band’s more melodic side before Divine Unkind.

The Image You Claim - Painted Visions

As the album continues echoes of other tech icons, including Devin Townsend, Meshuggah and Periphery, surface but the band balance this range of influences with skill to create a sound that is all their own. The music is technical but not clinical with songs constructed out of riffs, solos and breakdowns that are more than just fancy guitar work and confusing time signatures. There are a good handful of catchy hooks with heart too, especially towards the latter half of the release.

The Image You Claim is a band who are forming a legacy and this is the album that will start them on their journey.

The album is available here.

The Image You Claim

Interview with THE IMAGE YOU CLAIM

The Image You Claim is a newcoming progressive metalcore six-piece from California, and “Painted Visions” is their debut album released back in October last year.

Singer Justin Olsen looks back at the songwriting process of the album, touring, inspiration. Read the interview after the break.

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

Life has been pretty alright, we have just been taking a well deserved hiatus for the holidays after our first batch of shows. We are back to the grindstone now, planning some new content as well as writing some new tracks.

Speaking of new music, you have an album. What can people expect from “Painted Visions”?

Painted Visions is a really unique and emotional record. I feel like it really encapsulates our style but also gives us room for evolution.

What was it like working on the album?

It was quite an experience. It was my first time in the studio recording. It improved my vocals and warm up routines as well as giving me important insight on the whole process. Chris handled a lot of the mixing and mastering, but Julian and I played a part in revision and nitpicked the hell out of it until it was ready to ship. It was really fun writing, composing and recording and i look forward to doing it again soon.

The Image You Claim - Painted Visions

Are there any touring plans in support to “Painted Visions”?

You know, the band has been throwing around the idea of like, a west coast tour since the album released, but we have had a tough time finding prog bands in our area to tour with. Not only that, we have just been dialing in tone, getting things right, and making sure things are reliable as possible equipment wise. We have had some adventures with FOH sound, and we want to make sure everything is as straightforward and professional as possible, but if there are any progressive metal or djent bands in the SoCal area, hit us up!

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

It would be awesome to tour the US, the UK, and Australia in the future. The metal scene is growing day by day and i would love to have the opportunity to travel around and broaden our fanbase.

Who and what inspires you the most?

My biggest inspiration personally is Donovan Melero of Hail the Sun, and Sianvar. both he and Jordan Dreyer of La Dispute inform a lot of my writing. It helps me think of alternate ways to structure, metaphorize, and use a unique syntax to write songs, It really helps in progressive metal with all the crazy riffs and time signature changes. Donovan’s performance really made me reevaluate how i was using my voice, so tonally it could be  cleaner and less forced without losing that sort of emotion. I’m still working on all that though, and i have a lot of room for improvement haha.

Chris, our guitarist and writer of the instrumentals for Painted Visions, is inspired by bands like Periphery, Animals as Leaders, and suchlike, but i feel like he has a “voice” of his own. His style is super distinct.

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

I listen to almost anything and everything (with the exception of country). I have to say it really does. Chris and I are studio-centric (I guess that’s what you would call it) and it helps inform sound design, technique and composition. You can hear in my writing that I listen to a lot of post-hardcore stuff, as well as math rock. I also listen to a lot of Jazz, Rap, Indie, Electronic, ect. All of our horizons are broad, and our minds open, so that helps immensely, both in terms of sound and knowledge.

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?

I would like to say that we really appreciate every single person that supports us. Listen and enjoy but also don’t be afraid to talk to us. Hit us up on social media, give us some input on our videos on how we could improve, or even just to tell us you enjoyed it. Thank you guys for giving us this opportunity.

Links:

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Heyoka's Mirror

Interview: HEYOKA’s MIRROR

Heyoka’s Mirror is a progressive metal trio from Canada who has just released its debut EP “Loss of Contact with Reality.” Over the course of my time writing for this and other websites, I’ve come into many interesting and unique acts. I can certainly say that Heyoka’s Mirror are creating a very interesting progressive metal, which is often mixed with other different styles such as classic Power / Heavy Metal, Modern Metal and Opera.

The three dudes in Heyoka’s Mirror — Andrew Balboa, Omar Sultan and Bayan Sharafi — answered my questionnaire about the EP, touring, and more.

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

HM: Life is good and life is cold right now. Today (Dec. 30th) is -27C but it feels -40C with the wind chill. So yeah… But life is great right now!

Speaking of new music, you have an EP. What can people expect from “Loss of Contact with Reality”?

Bayan: People can expect a musical adventure.

Andrew: We’ve had a few reviews from other magazines and everyone is getting pretty confused hahaha. People love it but they say they have never heard anything like this before. So….. expect something new.

Omar: Even if you don’t like heavy music or prog music.. try it! This will be a great introduction for you.

Heyoka's Mirror - Loss of Contact with Reality

What was it like working on the EP?

Andrew: It was fun! It took nine months to write the three songs, and recording took ten months. We all have full time jobs so, finding the time to write and record was a bit challenging. But the overall process was really fun!

Are there any touring plans in support to “Loss of Contact with Reality”?

Omar: We would like something short to start… Three or five cities, nothing big because our main focus right now is to record the full album.

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

HM: Japan, Germany, Brazil, Russia and the States of course!

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

Omar: Hard rock! I grew up listening to hard rock and that’s the reason why I started playing when I was 16. It made my playing very musical.

Bayan: Funk! A lot of 80’s and 90’s music like Tom Jones and The Bee Gees. And it has changed the way I feel groove.

Andrew: I listen to a lot of jazz, classical… everything! Even J-Pop! … Japanese pop is beautifully composed.

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?

Omar: Get the EP, listen to it with headphones. find the time to really pay attention to it, give it a chance and you’ll love it!

Andrew: I think that you have to listen to it a few times, you can’t just listen to it once; if you do, you’ll think it’s just another “wanna be prog album”. Listen to it a few times and you’ll discover really interesting things.

Bayan: Follow us on Instagram and Facebook for cool and fun updates every Saturday!

HM: Thank you very much for interviewing us!

“Loss of Contact with Reality” is available as digital download and CD directly from the band, here.

Zombie Strippers from Hell

Interview with ZOMBIE STRIPPERS FROM HELL

Zombie Strippers From Hell is Dr. Satan and Mark Twain, and they are my new favorite band. You will probably think “how come that someone with such band name and pseudonyms can even be real or serious about music,” but the fact is that the duo makes some pretty dope music. Hear it yourself.

So, Dr. Satan and Mark Twain completed work on their debut album entitled “Tales From the OtherSide,” with drums recorded by Decapitated’s Michal Lysejko, and it was released on December 1st.

Doctor and Twain talked with me about the album, and more.

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

Everything is great, we have some holidays now so everyone have some time to spend with family, friends etc etc. nowadays lack of time can hurt our relationships so every free time we like to spend with our beloved.

Tales from the Other Side

Speaking of new music, you have an album. What can people expect from “Tales from the Other Side”?

It’s our full-length debiut and it shows our musical diversity – we like mixing up some tunes and for us its really important to put every tune we like in our music with freedom of creation. So if You like all kinds of heavy music you will enjoy it.

What was it like working on the album?

It was great but very stressful time. We did all the preproduction stuff at our home DeepOne Studio in Pszczyna – so at the “real” studio (HugeStudio) we was prepared enough to make things nice and smoothly. Bartosz Góra (our engineer & producer & friend) knows us very well so we put all tracks very fast. Michal Lysejko is so talented and skillful drummer so working with Him was a pleasure and joy. The hardest way for us because we did everything by ourselves, was to create our sound – but we were challenging ourselves very hard so the mixing was the longest part and the most nervous. From one side we were like schoolboys in the new school with our music and our knowledge about whole process but from the other side we had strong consciousness about who we are and where we want to be. And Michal pushed us really hard but now You can hear the results – we are very happy with them.

Zombie Strippers From Hell

Are there any touring plans in support to “Tales from the Other Side”?

Now we’re in the middle of preparing new lineup cause we had some troubles in the past. We’re looking for talented guys to play with us and maybe in the near future You’ll see the Zombie Strippers from Hell live with new material.

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

First of all, because we don’t have any contract and other commitments when the time will come we want to do some concerts in Poland. We have some good friends waiting for us, to see us live on the  stage. Then, who knows what will happen?

Who and what inspires you the most?

Lyrically Howard Philip Lovecraft and his work; horror b-movies and cult classic like Friday the 13th; Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Halloween… Musically everything from classic punk like Misfits; old school heavy metal (Iron Maiden, Helloween) to new modern classic like Slipknot, Killswitch Engage, Machine Head… We listen to very different music – both of us have some very opposite beloved bands but we’re open minded and that’s most important for us when we create our own music.

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

Yeah, Mark Twain listen a lot of Dream Theater and Mr. Petrucci has a real impact on him. And Disco from ’90s is a perfect fit for us when we’re dancing :)

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?

Yeah – read the Lovecraft, listen to Zombie Strippers from Hell and enjoy Your life!

Links:

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