White Ward – Futility Report

mulating our opinion of an album before diving back into the endless sea of new releases. Sometimes, however, a confluence of factors generates a scenario in which one album stays in rotation for an extended stay before pen gets put to paper. White Ward‘s Futility Report is an album I’ve been trying to write about since January, when I heard its first publicly released song. It took about 30 seconds of that track to convince me this was a band worth paying attention to. They were kind enough to send me a review copy, but shortly thereafter, the always-excellent … Read more

Matt’s Best of 2016

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The ebb and flow of musical calendar years is a fascinating thing. In addition to annual best-of-year spreadsheets, I keep a running tally of the all-time greatest albums, always eager to find new things to add to that fold. I also assign scores on a 0-100 scale (which very rarely dips below 80 because why would I intentionally listen to bad music?). A score of 95 is my cutoff for distinguishing between ‘really, really good’ (94) and ‘potentially all-time great’ (95). Some years are just better than others: 2013 saw not one, but two top-ten all-time releases (Kayo DotRead more

Mini-Reviews XVI

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I’m not a huge grind guy, but when the aesthetic is tempered a bit, I can appreciate it. Cognizant are a really solid example of that; with a self-titled album that explodes over the course of just 17 minutes, they weave a chaotic web of death, black and grind elements with relentless intensity and slick production. The result is simultaneously viciously aggressive and eminently listenable.

This album took me by surprise with its high quality and unique niche. I highlighted a couple of bands that could be considered progressive post-metal/sludge in my last set of mini-reviews, but Barishi actualize an … Read more

Seven Impale – Contrapasso, Review and Interview

Seven Impale Front promo highest res RGB 3000x3000“What is the next step?”

This question is the first thing crooned by vocalist-and-guitarist Stian Økland on Seven Impale‘s sophomore album, Contrapasso. It was also the question burning in my mind after several months of listening to their debut album, City of the Sun, which was my favorite record of 2014. I’ve heard plenty of bands with elements of both jazz and prog rock, but never one that truly synthesizes those styles in perfect balance. Typically you can feel whether a band is rooted in jazz and incorporating some elements of prog or vice versa. With this … Read more

Mini-Reviews XI

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Greetings! It’s Matt here with my first contribution to our mini-review series. While I’m not quite as plugged in to the underground buzz as Dave, I have accumulated a handful of intriguing albums from 2016 that slipped under his radar, so I’m going to take this opportunity to highlight some of them.

Up first is Warm, a Connecticut four-piece progressive post-metal outfit that extend their sound from aggressive upbeat sludge to downtempo grunge-tinged grooves. The production on The Human Exemplar is solid, and the composition is unique; quality post-metal with prog leanings is pretty rare to come across. The … Read more

Shamblemaths – Shamblemaths

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In a remote cabin, at the base of some foggy mountain, lived a hermit, who knew only two things in life: survival, and progressive rock. One morning, he looked through his collection, in reverse chronology – Spock’s Beard, Dream Theater, Marillion, Van der Graaf Generator – and settled on a record by Egg, which he dusted off and began to place on his turntable. Just then, a quite unexpected knock came at the door. Answering it, he saw a man much younger than himself, panting breathlessly from his journey.

“Are you the prog guy? You’re him, right?!”

Silently, the man Read more