Bambino dell’Oro – Los Belvos

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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

Amogh Symphony release Aai, from their upcoming album IV

A song about mothers of this world, and of Onamika, which you’ll remember from previous Amogh songs. On IV, they’re ditching the whole “concept album” things, and rather go for an “album of concepts”. Each song is like a soundtrack to a short movie, and we can appreciate that with Aai. The song draws strong connections with world music, as well as jazz, and with a touch of metal too. I think it’s wildly successful at what it wants to be, and I honestly can’t wait to hear more from Amogh IV.… Read more

Sales de Baño – Horror Vacui

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The second release from Argentinian avant-garde jazz sextet Sales de Baño is Horror Vacui, an intriguing live performance. The ensemble is led by bassist and composer Carlos Quebrada, and also features flute, trumpet, keyboard, guitar, and drums. They definitely play “outside” a lot, but what I appreciate here is that it’s often difficult to tell what is composed and what is improvised. Quebrada has done an excellent job, at times approaching a sophisticated chamber music sound and at others harsh avant-noise.

At first, it may seem that the playing here is somewhat aimless in the way that avant-garde music … Read more

Mombu / Mosca Violenta – Hunting Demons

a0742052546_16The presence of jazz in metal music seems to be an increasingly popular trend. Most noticeably, it’s the addition of the saxophone that’s often just enough to make us think that the band has successfully merged the two genres into one, but most of the times it’s just a clin d’œil to it, and the music itself doesn’t bear any of the subjacent characteristics of jazz.

The first ones to incorporate jazz, in a form or another, into metal were Atheist, Meshuggah, and Cynic, back in the early ’90’s. Since then, it gained in popularity and it’s … Read more

Sha’s Feckel – Feckel for Lovers

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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

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

Instrumental (adj.) – A Series of Disagreements

a1446988580_16Plini, Fat Guy Wears Mystic Wolf Shirt, The Helix Nebula, SEIMS, and Violence In Action have a baby together. The name of the child with such a terrifying genealogy is Instrumental (adj.). In fact, it’s not even an actual name. But as we shouldn’t mock anyone’s name, let’s tackle this one with no preconceived ideas.

Instrumental (adj.) is an instrumental (…) band from crazed Australia. If the portfolio of its progenitors is any indicator of how the offspring will turn out, then it’s going to be quite a listen! And oh boy how it is! A Series of Read more

Our Oceans – Our Oceans

a2936028470_16What do you get when you put ex-members of progressive metal band Cynic with members of atmospheric black metal band Dodecahedron? Not what you would expect.

Our Oceans is a post-rock band in which Tymon (ex-Cynic) lulls us with his soothing melodic voice, which we really aren’t used to. Behind his voice and his guitar work is a silky smooth fretless bass playing jazzy lines and drums that put the emphasis on the ambient side of things: painting the background with cymbals over slow odd time signatures and polyrhythms.

Over the course of the album, there is some variety to … 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

Thieves’ Kitchen – Clockwork Universe

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