Michael Avery – Michael Avery

Michael Avery‘s back, baby! Following his 2015 album, The Scientist, which we liked a lot, the eponymous full-length is even more impressive! Although I’m admittedly not a fan of the, uhh… Abstract 90s-inspired, tribal tattoo artwork, the music is on par with the contemporaries of instrumental progressive metal, and by that I mean that it’s better than most of what’s being done in the genre nowadays. The jazz-infused prog of Mr. Avery is intelligent and executed selon les règles de l’art. Some songs are very moody, while others are energetic and have lots of drive to them. … Read more

Obsidian Mantra – Existential Gravity

Polish band Obsidian Mantra just released its debut album, the intricate and massive Existential Gravity. Clocking in at fifty-four minutes, it demonstrates more than well enough their compositional and playing skills as musicians. The sort of progressive death metal they play is reminiscent of Florida’s RXYZYXR, but also of Montréal’s Gorguts. On the one hand, Obsidian Mantra have heavy grooves and plenty of odd-time signatures, as well as a very interesting set of uneven repetitions of motives. On the other hand, it lacks the melodic hooks found on LMNTS, in favour of exclusively harsh vocals and deeper dissonant … Read more

Milco – 練馬

Milco is the most Animals as Leaders-like non-Animals as Leaders project I’ve listened to, recently. The debut EP of Raymond Milco, 練馬 (Nerima), is full of bittersweet technical djent riffs, with the common thumping, tapping, and advanced chords that are often lazily called jazzy. The twenty-odd minutes of the EP are made out of intelligent composition and ingenious ideas; the songs flow more intuitively than on The Madness of Many, AAL’s latest endeavour. Of course, Ray doesn’t come near the levels of virtuosity displayed by Messrs. Abasi, Reyes, and Garstka, the skills of Milco are more than appreciable and … Read more

Sithu Aye – Set Course for Andromeda

coverHaving not heard much of Sithu Aye’s catalog aside from a couple listens of their Senpai EP last year (which I definitely need to revisit now), I didn’t really know what to expect from their new album Set Course For Andromeda. After listening to it, I now realize I should have been paying more attention to this band, because it blew me away!

The album is split into two discs, the first one, is a collection of songs with no thematic tie to each other, and the second disc is a 29-minute suite about an alien Andromedan, which is … Read more

The Algorithm – Brute Force

In today’s world, the modern metal scene finds itself facing an odd paradox of being more diverse and varied than ever before, while also having a notably larger number of puritans than a lot of other music scenes. As such, the word “gimmick” gets thrown around way more than it has any right to be, and with an act like The Algorithm I’d say that finding this label tossed about is pretty much a given. However, with the release of its latest album Brute Force, The Algorithm not only completely dismisses the notion of being merely a “gimmick act” … Read more

Divine Realm – Tectum Argenti

a0104658246_10Divine Realm’s Tectum Argenti is a nice mix of melodic prog and djent with some impressive musicianship. While not as heavy as similar bands like Between the Buried and Me or Animals as Leaders, Divine Realm’s debut album still packs quite a punch.

Fronted by Canadian multi-instrumentalist, Leo Diensthuber, Divine Realm which started out as just a one-man band, grew into a full band before this debut full length album, which came out this week on February 23rd.

The album consists of seven meaty tracks, all between 3 and 5 minutes a piece. Not a second seems wasted though, there … Read more

Warp – Anima

a1759932394_16I have lauded Warp Prism (now known only as Warp) more than once in the past. Their 2013 concept album, The Infinite II, was – and still is – one of the best prog metal releases I’ve heard. It mixed in djent and electronica in a more than decent manner, and the song structure there was stellar: continually evolving while still keeping its place under the overarching story. The album was a marked step up from any of their previous works, namely Evolution and Transcode. This led me to pre-order Anima as soon as it was made … Read more

Panzerballett – Breaking Brain

Munich, Germany’s Panzerballett has been one of my favorite bands for some time now. Merging the intricate brutality of progressive metal with the grace and elegance of modern jazz together with a dash of German humor and a healthy awareness of how bizarre this combination is, they are in my opinion one of the most original and virtuosic bands active at this time. Their fifth full length album, Breaking Brain, sufficiently expands on the formula that they’ve developed over the years and manages to meet my high expectations yet again.

Featuring a sax player in what would otherwise be … Read more

Glass Skies – A Nature of Sorts

a3893934811_16Glass Skies is a UK-based one-man band by Oscar, active since at least 2014, according to bandcamp releases. A Nature of Sorts is his first actual release, if we don’t count three singles and a backing track mini-EP.

His debut EP is a 5-song, 18-minute listen that adds a few djent elements to an otherwise jazz fusion sound, which is, for the most part, pretty laid back and contemplative but still instrumentally interesting. On that point, there is a little extended instrumentation that is fun to listen to: stuff like xylophone on Nice Monster and piano on the title track, … Read more

Armand Jourdain – Entre deux

Armand Jourdain is a French self-taught musician who likes to blend djent to jazz and world/folk music. It’s really not the other way around because there is just so little heavy moments compared to the amount of lighter ones that it can’t be classified as a heavy metal release.

This short, three-track EP maintains this style of keeping the djent just for the more intense parts. This is a good trick, as it allows for a wide dynamic range, and the rise in intensity can be truly felt, rather than implied. However, it most likely turns off most djent kids. … Read more