Tag Archives: progressive metal

Hybridism

EP Review: Hybridism – Hybridism

Debut releases are incredibly important for many reasons. It’s a risk for any label to release a debut album. It’s important for the band to nail their sound and deliver a product that will blow the minds of those whom listen to it. It’s also the first time people will be hearing the band for the first time and this is the sound they will remember. Fortunately, Hybridism’s self-titled debut EP is something that will benefit the band, more importantly the listener.

Hybridism-Hybridism

The four-piece from Belgium give us a technical, instrumental progressive metal sound that you will fall in love with. Incorporating an atmospheric sound within this fine tuned metal outing gives Hybridism a highly enjoyable and unique sound, making this a fun and over the top brutal listening experience.

Hybridism performs with ultra precise musicianship and technicality, these guys should be the front runners for your prog metal/djent needs in 2019. Guitars, bass and drum kicks are synchronized with triplets mixed in during the hectic technical riffing. Something is always going 200 mph on this record. The attention to detail and execution of the guitar playing is phenomenal. The guitar tone itself is incredibly heavy and audible. Bass tone is low and thick and it accentuates the guitar playing even more. Giving the overall theme and vibe of the EP a rich powerful sound. Song writing is exciting and powerful, giving off a long lasting appeal that will have me listening to it for a long long time.

Recommended songs of the EP are opening “Nova,” “Animal Has Led Us,” and “Anomalies.” The songs I didn’t mention are great as well but these few stand out with how effective and heavy the song writing is. Crunchy, deadly and psychotic. I love this release.

Grab the EP from Bandcamp. Follow Hybridism on Facebook and Instagram.

Tales of the Bugaboo

Review: Tales of the Bugaboo – Eating Children Disorder

I’ve been listening to this album for close to two weeks now, and only now do I feel qualified to analyse and review it, such is the depth of the music on offer here. Even after countless listens, sometimes something new jumps out. At first it may seem like a very difficult listen, but if you persevere, you’ll come to realize it’s nothing short of spectacular. Big call when it’s the debut album from a relatively unknown band from a country that always has something on display.

Eating Children Disorder

What this album has that sets it apart from the majority of ‘melodic’ and ‘technical’ death metal these days is the atmosphere it conjures up. “Eating Children Disorder” is a bleak, vitriolic and ugly album, with a brilliantly dark atmosphere, something which is often missing from death metal these days. Tales of the Bugaboo may have the technique and musicianship, but it’s not the primary focus here. The brooding riffs, the hard-edged, suffocating production, acidic vocals, compelling guitar solos and crushing drum barrage combine to produce a sound that’s like no other band.

Speaking of the riffs, there is some amazing guitar work here. It’s not particularly flashy, but it will get stuck in your head. There are a lot of riffs on this album, the songs are very linear and don’t repeat passages very often. You won’t get bored in a hurry. The tend to mix up, harsh, dissonant patterns with passages of eerie dark melodies, the tranquil moments provide a good contrast to the fury that tends to be unleashed shortly after. Backing up the guitar work is a stellar drum performance. Riki’s drumming is technical, interesting, not to mention fast as fuck! He doesn’t blast a whole lot, but tends to use furious double kick and awesome cymbal work to create immense walls of sound. His cymbal work tends to complement the riffs a lot, following the same patterns, it’s a technique I’ve not heard all that often and one I’ve grown to enjoy. Naza’s vocal performance is nothing short of outstanding. His frenzied howls are the perfect compliment to the savagery of the drumming and guitar work, and convey a real sense of hatred and anger, something that ridiculous gutturals and pig squeals can never do. He does mix it up too with more typical growls and lower pitches, but in pair with cleans, his voice is a killer combo. Freaky Fred’s bass playing is lively and precise, he is audible and easy-to-notice.

If you are tired of the amount of sterile, clinical technical metal bands and are looking for something with a killer dark atmosphere, full of real passion, how prog death metal should be, then give Tales of the Bugaboo a listen. It may take a while to appreciate, but I guarantee if you stick with it you will not be disappointed.

Asymmetric Universe - Band

Review: Asymmetric Universe – When Reality Disarticulates

Like the supercollider, Asymmetric Universe seek to smash two dissimilar things together and see what the results are. Naturally, and experiment by mad scientists and composers coming from the home of La Vecchia Signora (google it!) to combine jazz fusion and metal into one would of course create some explosive outcomes. Not to mention some pretty phenomenal musical pieces.

“When Reality Disarticulates” is a debut EP by Asymmetric Universe, and it’s here now and ready to take you to unparalleled heights. Look to the skies: that is where the trio is going to take you.

For a totally instrumental release, this thing is four tracks of expansive, experimental and wholly gripping fusion music. Take EP opener “Trees Houses Hills” for a fine example: starting off so minimally, guitars and cymbals meekly registering their presence in the room before their flamboyance bounds forth from them with a burst of self-confidence.

When Reality Disarticulates

If there is one enduring thing to take away from listening to this release, it’s that experimentation is the key to success: be it “Hermeneutic Shock’s” flowing, flying musical escapology, “Off the Beaten Track” Holdsworthian chemistry, or “The Clouds Passing By’s” otherworldly, ethereal ambience leading to space explorations. Everything on show here is made to play with the musical form and to evoke a response from your mind. And Asymmetric Universe’s music is what makes you want to explore.

My pick would have to be the third piece “Off the Beaten Track,” clocking in at some six and a half minutes. It’s frantic, for one thing: everyone is really laying down some serious licks on this, striving for the very best in their playing abilities and pulling it off with aplomb. Masterful work and a treasure for any fan of the indefinable yet oddly marvelous.

To say what Asymmetric Universe have done is prog is inaccurate; to say that it is metal is too vague. Rather, they have thrown into “When Reality Disarticulates” all their passions, excitements and inspirations and cooked up something that is beyond compare. This is music without boundaries, without barricades and without limits.

The EP is available from Bandcamp. Follow Asymmetric Universe on Facebook and Instagram.

Emanuele Bodo (band)

Album Review: Emanuele Bodo – Unsafe Places

The Italian guitarist and composer Emanıuele Bodo delivers a stunning guitar performance on his instrumental debut album “Unsafe Places”—an effort that sees the musician going as the album suggest to unsafe places, exploring fay beyond the progressive fusion genre. Although Bodo is most prominent on the record, the musician has gathered a full line-up featuring Carlo Ferri on bass, Davide Cristofoli on keyboards, and Mattia Garimanno on drums, who shine nothing less than the guitarist throughout the seven track release.

Emanuele Bodo - Unsafe Places

Even when Bodo is in the lead through various guitar solos, the rest of the band definitely are not shadow lurkers, but rather a constitutional part of “Unsafe Places.” I do like the fact that Bodo is keeping the album finely balanced between all instruments.

The jazz fusion / progressive metal combo is appealing and gets the juices flowing, especially when done as effectively as this. “Unsafe Places” is a surprisingly good debut by Emanuele Bodo, who obviously has what it takes in terms of chops and creativity. Let’s hope he keeps doing what he’s been doing.

Grab a copy of “Unsafe Places” from Bandcamp here, and follow Bodo on Facebook.

fayne-02

Review: Fayne – Journals

Hailing from Montreal, Fayne have been around since 2004. In the period from 204 until 2008 the band put out two EP releases, “You Took It All Away” (2004) and “Delivering the Final Blow” (2016), before they went on a hiatus in 2008. Five years later Fayne regrouped and in 2014 they launched their third EP “The Queen of Kings.” Last year Fayne returned with their debut full-length album entitled “Journals.”

Fayne play a brand of djent/progressive metal, combining ambient elements and delicately played clean layers over top of the stuttering and stabbing rhythms set in place by Meshuggah and SikTh. The difference is, the music feels much more lush and organic, setting themselves apart from the very mechanical sounding contemporaries who follow a similar formula. While the melodic djent thing isn’t new, Fayne manage to sound unique and fresh, thanks to the atmospheres and singing.

The vocal work, courtesy of Justin Furtado, on “Journals” is superb. The soaring vocal melodies and lyrics will definitely embed themselves in your memory. The screaming vocals are few and far between, but when they show up, they are in the right place.

Fayne - Journals

The guitar work is split between the dry and low polyrhythmic chugs and clean and melodic layering for ambiance. These two styles fit together in perfect harmony and create some wonderful soundscapes and textures. The bass is also very present in the mix, which is an added touch of brilliance. You can hear it slapping and popping along throughout the album, even taking a few moments here and there to be the focal point of the music from time to time. Listen to numbers like the opener “Grimspeak” or “Prototype”, and you’ll catch it. Oh, and the drumming is actually real, which is a nice change of pace for a genre that likes to program everything or play it through an electronic kit. This is one of the contributing factors for the EP not sounding like an overproduced machine.

As for the musical composition, “Journals” does feel like one song and flows through tracks logically when things take a change in pace or theme. Fayne can definitely demand the attention of the listener without having to drop a solo every few minutes. These guys know what they’re doing.

With the release of “Journals”, Fayne have moved out of the periphery (no pun intended) and into focus.

Links:

Bandcamp

Facebook

CHINE_PROMO_2018_FINAL

Review: Chine – Like Vultures

Chine is a Swedish progressive death metal band with elements borrowed from Swedish death metal and progressive metal. They are about to launch their new EP entitled “Like Vultures” on March 2nd. Both musically, and lyrically “Like Vultures” has its dark side but never forgets to be melodic from the beginning to the end.

CHINE - Like Vultures

Singer Tintin Andersen has a great voice especially when it comes to clean vocals. A thick voice, ready to sing any kind of high pitched parts in a song. Which brings the release its power. Passages between growl and clean vocals are very well designed and executed. And more importantly they sound very tasty.

There are four tracks on the EP. Another highlight here are great and imaginative guitar solos. They are carrying the songs on a closer level to progressive metal and display the band’s influences, which range from old Opeth, Between The Buried And Me and Dark Tranquility.

It is hard to say that Chine bring something new to the scene, but without hesitation it can be said they brought a tasteful release, very well composed and executed. It highly satisfies the expectations from a listener.

Links:

Website

Facebook

Salvation's End

Album Review: Salvation’s End – The Divine Wrath of Existence

Just when I thought all of the fresh talent in prog metal was hiding towards the more extreme side of the spectrum, I am introduced to this band, the Detroit, MI based Salvation’s End. Although I was expecting SE to fall into the same rut of Dream Theater or Symphony X that so many melodic prog metal bands do, the change of pace here is refreshing, and while not an entirely new breath of fresh air than what I have already heard in the style, Salvation’s End do plant themselves as one of the last vestiges of hope in a style that I personally think got tired over a decade ago.

Salvation's End - The Divine Wrath of Existence

My personal cynicisms for melodic prog metal aside, Salvation’s End are a truly impressive act, and the fact that I find myself so endeared to them with all things considered should be a testament to their strength as an act.

Musically, Salvation’s End’s music is heavy at times, but always melodic, and resists the temptation to become an overly technical wankfest a la Dream Theater. Instead, Salvation’s End bases their debut album, The Divine Wrath of Existence, around the long lost art of proper songwriting; their music uses sometimes complex musicianship, but it is always based in a tight composition, and this really grabs my attention. The vocals here are often the center of attention atop tasteful instrumentation, the atmosphere is kept somewhat melancholic throughout, and — coming as a surprise to someone that was expecting a metal album — tastefully mellow. Salvation’s End is instead heavy prog rock throughout most of this, although I would have to say that the vocals keep a metallic tinge to the music. The vocal delivery by Rob Lundgren on The Divine Wrath of Existence is something refreshing.

The songwriting here is generally the highlight of the release. Everything is beautifully produced and polished, but the sound stays organic; a sure sign of a successful studio job. The songwriting really caught my attention from the first listen onwards though opening “Death of Reason” and its follow-up “Languorem” are two of the most memorable tracks here, using some lively riffs to create a hook. The title track makes perfect use of those mid-to-high-register vocals that Lundgren does so well The highlight moments on The Divine Wrath of Existence are brilliant. The album is one of the most consistent releases I have heard since the beginning of the year. It gets me excited to see what else that the band has in store.

Get The Divine Wrath of Existence from Bandcamp.

Abhiruk Patowary

Interview: GAIA

Abhiruk Patowary is a young multi-instrumentalist from India, who is about to launch a debut album with his project GAIA. In an interview for our website Abhiruk lets us know about his musical beginnings, the album, his future plans…

Let’s start from your early music beginnings. How did your musical career begin? When did you start playing? Which groups have been your favorites? Please tell us something more about your early life.

I started playing piano around 9 years ago. I was playing Western classical music until a fine day I heard some kids in my school play metal and I became obsessed. Ever since it was my dream to form a metal band and write an album. After which I started to play drums which was one of my first steps of playing metal, then I learned bass and then finally guitar.

Opeth and Pantera were my gateway drug to metal and have been my influences. Apart from these two, for this particular bands modern metal bands like Killswitch Engage, Lamb of God, August Burns Red, Periphery, TesseracT, Skyharbor, were some of my influences.

As for my early life, I don’t think I can answer that since I’m too young to have an early life.

Abhiruk Patowary (GAIA)

How did you go about forming Gaia? Who was the most influential when the band started its musical journey?

I wanted to write groovy metal core stuff, but couldn’t find people to join me so I wrote the entire album on my own. Then I got Nathan from Intervals to play drums on five of the tracks. One particular thing that has been really influential is going to gigs and seeing bands both underground and international.

In the beginning, did you have some “fixed” tempo in composing songs or everything was a product of jamming, improvising?

All the basic structures were basically me noodling around the guitar for hours and recording it on my laptop.

How would you describe Gaia’s music on your own?

Gaia’s music is simple, groovy modern metal music. I think that’s the best how I can describe it.

GAIA - Aerial

Tell me about the writing and recording phases of your debut album Aerial.

After I get the basic structure done, I start to layer with other guitar sections and synth parts, then I track bass and finally the drums. Before tracking drums I roughly program it just to have an idea.

How do you see the metal scene in India? Can you recommend us some bands to check out?

Metal scene in India is growing rapidly and there are many potential bands which maybe be big names in the future. Some bands you can check out are Goddess Gaggged, Scribe, Acid Pit, Dymbur and Warwan.

Abhiruk Patowary

Do you consider yourselves a part of any specific cultural movement, however peripheral?

No I don’t really think so.

Are you also involved in any other projects or bands beside Gaia?

Yes. I also play bass for Acid Pit and drums for Paroxysm.

So, what comes next for Gaia?

Next step for Gaia is to go live, find musicians to join the band, which has been started and also start to write Gaia 2.

Follow GAIA on Facebook and Instagram.

Enceladus

Review: Enceladus – Arrival

Prog/Power metallers from Texas, Enceladus, have been around for a few years, and they have recently returned with their second album “Arrival.” Why the hell didn’t I know about them earlier? Now, thanks to the PR wire, I got a promo copy of the album which is a real t(h)reat.

The style that Enceladus plays is pretty standard, comparing somewhat with more traditionalist 80s metal throwbacks, yet they manage to sound different and fresh when compared with a lot of the other bands that attempt to play in this particular style.

Soikkam’s vocals are gravely and rough, standing at the very center of the counter-tenor wails of Rob Halford and the husky baritone of Blaze Bailey. During the choruses of such catchy anthems as “Distant Land” and “Blueprint” the vocal work almost punches past the rest of the arrangement. While he doesn’t soar into the higher stratosphere too often in the manner that most in the genre do, he more than compensates with sheer power.

Enceladus - Arrival

Although the voice alone gives this album a heavy yet melodic edge, the entire arrangement pounds the sonic threshold of the listener into submission. Whether its faster songs like or down tempo stomping machines, there is a consistent picture of a mighty fist slamming itself down on a stone table and commanding your undivided attention. Balancing out the simple yet aggressive riffs and backing instruments are flashy leads of guitarist Geo Roessler.

“Arrival” is a powerful statement from a band that is hungry to show what their abilities are, and according to this they have much more to offer. Grab this record, you’ll not regret.

Links:

Bandcamp

enceladusband.com

23 Acez

Review: 23 Acez – Embracing the Madness

Brilliant is not enough to describe the third outing from Belgium’s 23 Acez. From the first ripping atmospherics of “Re:” to the eerie closing moments of “Freefall,” the energies of Embracing the Madness will grasp you and not let go. As with their first two albums, 2011’s Crossroads and 2015’s Redemption Waves, 23 Acez has again chosen to take the concept album route.

Dark and heavy, every note, chord and vocal intonation are well planned and executed, with unforgettable results.

23 Acez - Embracing the Madness

Although singer’s unique sound alternates between rasp and crystal clear, his delivery on every track is passionate beyond doubt. Tom Tas provides outstanding guitar work. Rhythm section of Mundez (bass) and Louis van der Linden (drums) provide an often complex backdrop, which fits perfectly. Rarely does a disc come around that is as powerful as this.

Embracing the Madness is easily an early treat in these introductory months of 2018. How well will it fare — let’s find out. The album is available from iTunes.