Tag Archives: progressive metal

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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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.

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.

Prospective

Interview with PROSPECTIVE

Italian prog metal/djent band Prospective have come up with the release of their debut EP “Chronosphere” in March. In the interview below the band speaks about the EP, future and more.

How would you described your debut EP titled “Chronosphere”?

We guess Chronosphere is a mix of anger, melody and groove. The songs are very metal but also lovely! Syncopated grooves are also a main event in the ep.

What kind of gear did you use to record ”Chronosphere”?

Our EP is completely D.I.Y., we recorded everything in Flavio’s little room. We used a Line 6 toneport UX1 to record guitars, bass and voice. Guitars were dialed in pod farm, bass was D.I. and in Cubase we made the tone, voice was recorded with a classic SM58. For the drums we used Superior Drummer.

Prospective - Chronosphere

I wonder what inspired the story behind the “Increase” songs?

The first part is about a dream, the second is about 2 people toghether in space (or some sort of dream) trying to escape.

As a very young band, do you think there are things that need to be improved in music business to encourage new starting bands and artists? What are these things?

At the moment, for our genre, the music industry “is on the internet”. There are a lots of great bands and not-so-great bands out there, the trick is to have luck and to play something that no one ever did. Nothing has to be improved in the music industry in this sense, because is all about the people’s taste.

Prospective live

What are you guys up to these days?

In these days we will playing at a Metal-Fest in our town Bologna and we’re also pre-producing the last songs for our upcoming album.

Where do you see Prospective 10 years later from now?

We hope on tour with some great bands. We know a lot of young bands here in Bologna and Italy in general, maybe one day we will tour with them, it would be awesome!

Buy “Chronosphere” from Bandcamp, and follow Prospective on Facebook.

The Story of Progstravaganza: Fughu

Watch “The Story of Progstravaganza” Mini-Documentary Featuring FUGHU

Prog Sphere teamed up with Argentine progressive metal purveyors Fughu for a mini documentary discussing about progressive scene today, its future, bands and Progstravaganza. Watch the video below.

We have recently announced the first Progstravaganza CD edition, that will include many great features. First of all, besides the sampler in digipack, this compilation will include a printed version of the Progstravaganza magazine filled with interviews, reviews, specials, commentaries, and more. The smiler will be distributed through mail-order stores, labels and distributors all over the world. One of the bands off the sampler will get an opportunity to release an album through Prog Sphere. The selection of the band will be managed through a public poll, and the band that wins most votes will be the winner. Also, all bands-participants of the sampler will be promoted through Prog Sphere Promotions for the period of six months.

Artists interested in taking part on the physical edition of Progstravaganza compilation can e-mail Prog Sphere at info@prog-sphere.com

Progstravaganza XIX: Convergence

Progstravaganza XIX: Convergence Out Now

The nineteenth edition of Prog Sphere‘s Progstravaganza progressive rock & metal compilation series brings 39 bands. 38 bands are for the first time on the Progstravaganza compilation, as Eyot previously took part on Progstravaganza VI. Having said that, there are 430 bands in total that paraded through the Progstravaganza compilation series.

Progstravaganza XIX is titled Convergence, and the album art was once again done by amazing artist Chris van der Linden from LindenArtwork. Speaking about the sampler’s name and design, Chris said:

With the successful Progstravaganza sampler series nearing its 20th edition milestone, we thought it would be nice to call this edition Convergence. Things have been gradually come into form, getting better with each release. Prog Sphere and all the bands have continued to work hard to deliver something stellar with each new compilation, and I wanted to reflect that journey and grand feeling into the artwork. Something mysterious is going on, something big, pulling strong, drawing ever closer…”

As you noticed, we are nearing the 20th edition in the series, and we are thinking of doing something special for that occasion. The bands interested in taking part on Progstravaganza XX (to be titled later) can contact us at info@prog-sphere.com

But for now, let’s focus on Progstravaganza XIX and great 39 tunes it brings. Check them below and head over to our Bandcamp to grab this sampler.

Structural Disorder

Progstravaganza Questionnaire: Structural Disorder

Structural Disorder is a progressive metal group formed in Stockholm, Sweden in September 2011.

The band consists of Markus Tälth (guitar/vocals), Jóhannes West (electric accordion/vocals), Hjalmar Birgersson (guitar/vocals), Erik Arkö (bass/vocals) and Karl Björk (drums).

The band was featured on Progstravaganza XVII: Progression and here is what they had to say.

How did you come to do what you do?

Erik: The progressive genre felt like the ”natural choice” for us, mostly due to the fact that there are “no restrictions” to what you can and can’t do within the genre (At least in theory – sometimes I wonder how “progressive” the progressive genre is.) I guess the name and the very being of the genre has gone from being the definition of something that wants to expand the borders of music to being something that defines a certain sound and certain aspects of the music (The odd meters, the long songs, the jazz-influences etc.). And don’t get me wrong – I love the genre and the music, but this is something that has crossed my mind a few times.

What is your first musical memory?

Erik: For me, I think it’s either Jan Johansson (”Jazz på Svenska”) or Count Basie (The “Atomic”-album). The defining moment for me, that drew me in to metal though was the time when I saw the video for “Renegade” by HammerFall on TV.

Karl: I can’t really remember my first musical memory. But the moment that led to my musical path was the first time I heard “Kiss alive two” with the drumsolo on “God of thunder”. Which coincidentally was during the same time as we were learning the basics in drumset playing in school.

Hjalmar: I don’t actually remember this, but I have been told by a reliable source (my mom) that I was really into Paul Simon’s Graceland when I was two. Also, I do remember borrowing a mixtape of Electric Light Orchestra songs from my mom and listening to it repeatedly until there was literally only noise left on the tape.

Markus: I can’t really remember my first, but I do know that I got into metal when I was around eleven, with bands such as Dimmu Borgir and Marduk. Dimmu’s Puritanical album had just been released and my brother brought it home, and I got fascinated with how it sounded and how fast they played. But it wasn’t until I got into Opeth some years later that my eyes really open for music and genres.

Where do you draw your inspiration from?

Erik: Everything from Meshuggah and Behemoth to Eva Cassidy and Sting.. And everyday situations, movies and books…

Hjalmar: I think it’s hard not to give a really general answer to this question. For me, I have some musicians that never fail to inspire me, such as Daniel Gildenlöw, Devin Townsend, Esbjörn Svensson (rest in peace), Magnus Öström, Jem Godfrey, Fin Greenall, etc. Also, there is an ever-changing array of new discoveries (or rediscoveries). And of course, there are sources of inspiration in other things than music as well. I am greatly inspired by rainy days, quantum physics and dark and twisted TV shows such as The X-files and Fringe. I am sure everyone else would have a quite different list.

Markus: My inspiration is very subconscious. Most of the time when I write music it just comes totally unconnected to something else. There are a few times where I write songs that are in directly inspired by something, or even if I notice later that it sounds like something else, it had been subconscious during the writing process. But when that happens, I most often gets inspired by the latest thing I listened to.

What message does the song on our Progstravaganza compilation carry?

Johannes: The song is the closing act of our eponymous debut concept album. The story as told through the lyrics focuses around the feelings that a mentally ill man experiences while locked up in an institution. He is painfully dealing with and re-exploring the events from the outburst of his mental illness, and learning about what happened to the people that he loves. This track represents an open end to the story; the protagonist has fully realized the chain of events that brought him there, and he has escaped the delusional phase. But the tragedies of the past have put him in a state of apathy. During the development of the song, however, he transcends into another state of mind, looking for forgiveness and trying to find peace. Whether he finds it, and whether he is released from his mental and physical cell or not, is probably better left unanswered.

Do you tend to follow any pre-defined patterns when composing a piece?

Johannes: Well, I would say no. When we are composing for the band (and there are a number of composers among us, and sometimes we write together as well) I would say most of us write what we like to write; If it fits into our musical bag then we’ll use it. Our sound also has a range of musical environments and types of songs within itself, making the boundaries less easy to cross. Structural Disorder is the creative force of its members, combined one way or another. Also, this is a good thing about a genre like ours that is generous when it comes to style definitions.

Structural Disorder

Structural Disorder (Photo by Philip Wessman)

What is your method of songwriting?

Either we jam out new riffs/melodies in our rehearsal place or write stuff (sometimes entire songs) at home that we present to the rest of the band – sometimes it’s just an embryo, which gives everyone in the band a lot of freedom when it comes to the arrangement and other times the song is pretty set in its structure and arrangement.

How do you see your music evolving?

The songs that we are writing now feel like the “natural progression”, considering what we wrote for “The Edge of Sanity”. We constantly try to challenge ourselves technically – but without the cost of a good song, so to speak.

What advice would you give to other musicians, trying to make inspired music and get it out in the world?

Erik: Listen to all kinds of music – even stuff that you normally wouldn’t listen to! If you love metal – try to listen to some jazz, if you like pop then give Meshuggah a go and try to find something that you enjoy with every type of music.

Karl: Strive towards writing music for yourself before trying to write music that you think that other people might like. There is a convincing honesty that people react to in a positive way when you play something that you personally think is so good that you don’t really care if you are the only one who really like it. It may not be the recipe to reach millions of dollars in your account, but people do tend to see through you if try to write songs with the sole purpose of trying to make money or gain celebrity status.

What are you looking forward to?

Johannes: Like with the release of our debut album, it is so wonderful to get a piece of the excitement coming from people that enjoy our music. It is something really personal about it since our music is personal and we feel that we really can contribute when other people from all over the world appear to like it, sometimes very much. I hope that this happiness I feel will grow as more people get in contact with our music in the future.

Karl: In addition to what Johannes mentioned, I am personally looking forward to see the overall progression of the band in every aspect, such as sound, stage presence, visual effects and so on. We have a lot of ideas for the future and we are also writing some new songs that we feel will take the band to the next step.

Links:

facebook.com/StructuralDisorder
structuraldisorder.com
youtube.com/structuraldisorder
instagram.com/structuraldisorder
twitter.com/StrDisOfficial

Bands, send your music submissions for the Progstravaganza compilation series to info@prog-sphere.com

CoI

Circle of Illusion

Composer, keyboarder Gerald Peter and his eight-person-band Circle of Illusion released their first progressive symphony. An epic piece of music, which tells the story of “Jeremias – Foreshadow of Forgotten Realms” deals in its final version with the ambivalence of human emotion. Hence the borders between various progressive influences of the rock/metal genre, the jazz-funk-soul and the cinematic music get blurred. Moreover you are taken on a journey through the fantastic worlds of the subconscious of a cast-out and self-critical character. In a mastermind fashion the composer/keyboarder Gerald Peter and lyrics-writer/vocalist Taris Brown were able to give way to their creative urge. With the lofty and complex kind of composition, instrumental virtuosity and an orchestral bandsound “Circle of Illusion” enters new musical paths and is hence a must for all fans of progressive, classic as well as sophisticated rock-music. The band’s line up features Gerald Peter on keyboards, Rupert Träxler on guitar, Stephan Först on bass, Aaron Thier on drums as well as Ulrike Müllner on the e-violin. Taris BrownCara Cole and Elga Shafran are the lead vocals of Circle Of Illusion, who are representing the characters Jeremy, Jelena and Sarah of COI’s prog-rock-concept-album Jeremias.

http://www.circleofillusion.com/

http://circleofillusion.bandcamp.com/

http://www.facebook.com/circleofillusion

http://www.youtube.com/circleofillusion