In the world of progressive rock and metal, instrumental albums are pretty common so it’s a bit hard to stand out. Mammoth absolutely manage to do this with their new album Deviations. Impressive playing paired with amazing production quality and beautiful tones prove that these guys are at the top of their class.
The first song, ‘Entanglements’ sounds like an entanglement of instruments weaving wonderfully through each other. Impressive guitar arpeggios and solos are complemented by ambient keyboards and intense drums. The middle section of the song calms down with a bright clean section that builds back up into … Read more
The Pitts Minnemann Project released their first album in 2014 with the technical, fusion progressive metal album 2 L 8 2 B Normal, featuring keyboard virtuoso Jimmy Pitts and drummer madman Marco Minnemann, completed by a long list of musicians amongst whom are found Tom “Fountainhead” Geldschläger, Ray Riendeau, and Jerry Twyford. This album is basically a 52-minute, 27-part song of the best fusion progressive metal out there, and I keep going back to it quite regularly. Two years later, and we’ve got The Psychic Planetarium. Does it raise the bar for the future or does it fail … Read more
Oxford, UK’s progressive fusion duo Bambino dell’Oro‘s latest album Los Belvos is a set of sumptuously textured modern jazz pieces underlaid by complex grooves. The core of the band is made up by two multi-instrumentalists specializing on drums and piano/keyboard respectively, but they also have a bassist with them most of the time and occasionally a soprano sax player as well on this release.
The album’s overall feel is energetic, effortlessly flowing between odd time signatures that are given time to breathe without overstaying their welcome. They make strategic use of a wide texural palette including instruments such as … Read more
Reed player Sha has made a name for himself over the years among fans of the Swiss “zen funk groove” school of jazz pioneered by Nik Bärtsch and Don Li among others. The full-length debut from his project Sha’s Feckel, Feckel for Lovers, is a diverse and dynamic set of heavy jazz fusion tunes. Featuring Sha on sax together with a guitar, bass, and drums trio, this group weaves huge riffs with odd grooves within engaging and thoroughly fearless compositions.
The album starts out with “A,” a 13 minute piece that gradually crescendos from somber, pensive fusion to … Read more
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 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
Prog rockers Thieves’ Kitchen hail from the UK and Sweden. Their sixth full-length album, The Clockwork Universe, charts a course through spacetime to a destination somewhere in 1970s Canterbury, UK. The jazz and folk infused style of progressive rock particular to this spacetime neighborhood, rather than being an obsolete relic of the past, still boasts untapped veins of creative gold. Along the journey, we’re treated to a sprawling 20 minute prog epic, as well as a couple instrumental and percussion-less tracks that sound more like contemporary classical chamber music than any kind of … Read more
Irish math fusion act Alarmist are dropping their full-length debut, Popular Demain, on November 2, and at only one week away, my excitement is palpable. Of the two tracks currently available for streaming, we’re treated to some sweeping, cinematic jazz progressions supported by an arithmetical rhythmic core. At times it’s uplifting, yes, but in harmonically rich and complex ways characteristic of fusion. Think Jaga Jazzist meets Battles and you have a fairly good idea of what to expect. The album will be available on Bandcamp, where you can also check out their existing EPs.… Read more
Acrania (not to be confused with the more popular but less interesting Acrania from the UK) is a Mexican progressive thrash/death metal band, the selling point of which is their unique incorporation of latin jazz rhythms. They’ve released their first EP in 2007, and then went on to release full-length, Fearless is their third and latest LP and it came out in April of this year.
Jazz, samba, bossa, and salsa are intertwined with more regular thrash and death metal riffs as an integral part of their sound, rather than just a gimmick used for infamous “jazz interludes” and other … Read more
The new baby of Jeff Zampillo, formerly of Exotic Animal Petting Zoo, The Pneumatic Transit, has released about 3 minutes of one of their new songs, called Enochian Dyskinesia. It seems like their songs are too extensive to single them out, so we get only 3 minutes of one. And that 3 minutes finishes way too quickly to my taste. Well, at least I kinda know what to expect from their album, “Concerto for Double Moon”. At this moment, I’m still trying to figure out if it’s jazzy rock or rocky jazz… but it sounds pretty prog … Read more