Improvisation is the cauldron in which most great music is born, but for most musical acts it is just the beginning of the composing process. Some artists, though, are secure enough in their creative talents to make improvisation an integral component of their sound. The right musicians and framework can produce magic with this approach, and that’s precisely what a pair of internationally renowned string players have done on the self-titled debut album of Kamancello. If you like improvisation, chamber music, and portmanteaux, this is the album for you.
Kamancello juxtaposes the dynamic cello performance of Raphael Weinroth-Browne, whose … Read more
I first discovered Kaipa about a decade ago when I was really into The Flower Kings and was exploring their various side projects. The Flower Kings frontman Roine Stolt was a member of Kaipa during the late 70s (when he was only 17), and during their reformation in the early 2000s, but left after their 2005 album Mindrevolutions. Children of the Sounds, out on September 22nd, is now the eighth album since Kaipa’s return, and thirteenth overall.
The dynamic between Patrik Lundström’s and Aleena Gibson’s vocals is quite powerful and something that has always stood out to me … Read more
Wobbler is a Norwegian progressive rock band that’s younger than it sounds. On October 20, they will release their fourth full-length album, From Silence to Somewhere, and it seems lifted straight out of the golden age of progressive rock. The Canterbury sound is quite apparent in this there eclectic, there symphonic monument of an album. The eponymous megalith opening this four-track record covers a wide range of the progressive rock of the late sixties and seventies. Rarely – if ever – do we smell the faintest fragrance of modernism in this musical anachronism. Organs, flutes, – did I hear … Read more
Philadelphia post-metal quintet Rosetta released their sixth full-length album Utopioid last week, and I figured I owed it to the band I named my daughter after to give their new offering a review. The troupe has been around since the peak of post-metal saturation; their debut, The Galilean Satellites, was released in 2005, right alongside undisputed classics like Isis’ Panopticon, Cult of Luna’s Salvation, and Neurosis’ The Eye of Every Storm. For my money, The Galilean Satellites – released as a metal side and an ambient side designed to be played simultaneously – is the pinnacle … Read more
Instar is a narration-driven progressive metal band based in Austin, Texas. Their debut album, the self-titled Instar EP, came out in January of last year, and was a pretty interesting insight into what the project could become. With their debut full-length coming right around the corner, we get a better glimpse into the promising future of their formula. As for what they currently offer, I’ll be reviewing that right here.
First of all, narration-driven music can’t be good if the narration itself isn’t. In a day and age where the posh British accent is revered amongst many media – just … Read more
Some albums come along and pleasantly join the ranks of what you previously considered “great music”. Some albums come along and make you question everything you previously classified as “great music”. The Hirsch Effekt’s fourth full-length, Eskapist, is the latter kind of album – a towering post-hardcore monolith that reaches a mountaintop I never imagined to be climbable, from which the view makes most other modern progressive acts look like ants.
The Hirsch Effekt are one of those bands whose sound cannot be tidily summarized in a couple of adjectives. Their own bandcamp liberally describes them as “rooted … Read more
Australian and British entities Lost Salt Blood Purges and Boring Bathtimes have collaborated on a release of massive proportions, elegantly titled Yellow Fog Sword. On this release, Michael Snoxall (Lost Salt Blood Purges) set out to create a novel and its accompanying soundtrack with Oliver Aldridge (Boring Bathtimes), whom he already had made some small collaborations in the past. The original story of Michael ended up as a forty-four-page novelette, illustrated by Ov Exvn Infërnvz. Then, the outline of the music was created, with directions for pacing and events, and the task of coming up with music was handled … Read more
There is a trend in modern prog: some of the more popular bands are seeking to capitalize on their popularity via the age-old model of shifting to a poppier style with broader appeal – lowering their common denominator, as it were. Leprous’ debut single from Malina, ‘From the Flame’, suggested to some that the Norwegian titans might be drifting in that direction. They are certainly ripe for popularity, with their smooth and entrancing approach to metal composition and Einar Solberg’s appealing singing voice. However, I am pleased to report that, despite some of the structural elements being poppier… Read more
The Swiss avant-garde black metal quatuor, not satisfied from having released perhaps the best triple-album ever just last year, is already back with The Maldoror Chants: Hermaphrodite. It’s sold as an EP, but crosses the thirty minutes threshold that is commonly used to distinguish EPs from full-lengths; it has seven tracks, but the whole thing feels like one continuous journey into the obscure places of our mind; it’s a work of art that goes above and beyond the traditional scope of black metal and the avant-garde… Indeed, the band themselves wrote that Hermaphrodite is an ‘artistic experiment’, and it’s … Read more
From this apparently so mechanical and inhuman score counterintuitively emanates so many emotions and thoughts, in strong waves of melancholy, passion, and amazement. The first, minimalistic moments betray a much more complex and dense interior. The fact that so much life vibrates from this synthesized offering only highlights the care and delicacy with which it has been crafted. Steeple is, without a doubt, a remarkable piece of work that all should try. A perfect blend of black MIDI and contemporary classical music.