Astrakhan – Without New Growth Process Is Bloodshed

The Music

The Words

Alright, Vancouver’s progressive stoner metal crew Astrakhan released an album, in 2016, that was already promising, but today we face the repercussions of that promise. Have they delivered? I’m glad to say they do. Without New Growth Process Is Bloodshed is an improvement on all fronts, and possible one of the best progressive stoner albums out there! One comment on bandcamp compares it to a mix of Protest the Hero, Tool, and Mastodon. I’ve got to say that while I see the latter two parts, I have a hard time noticing the similarities with PTH. … Read more

Hago – Hago

The Music

The Thoughts

Rarely has a progressive metal fusion album been released with so little anticipation, praise, and attention while deserving so much of these. Enter Hago and their self-titled debut album. The Boston band is, as they put it, “a melting pot of progressive metal, jazz, and Middle Eastern elements”, and I couldn’t have said it better – they also call it “falafel djent”, but let’s not go there. Their group consists of the usual instrumental metal and jazz quartet of guitar, bass, keyboards, and drums, while also having a full-time saxophonist on top.

Rooted inside the Berklee … Read more

Travis Orbin – Silly String Ⅱ

More than two years after the release of the original Silly String, drummer and composer Travis Orbin comes back with its sequel to close off 2017. On , Travis inflates the concept of the twenty-minute predecessor threefold to a staggering sixty minutes. This expansion has it benefits – for one, there is more material to listen and enjoy –, but it also has its shortcomings. While the first of its name was concise and to the point, keeping only the absolute most mind-boggling tracks on record, the second one seems more spread out, less focused, and filled with … Read more

Vexovoid – Call of the Starforger

Italy’s Vektor, Vexovoid, just released their debut album, Call of the Starforger. Despite their name, more reminiscent of Portal than anything else, Vexovoid’s sound lies somewhere between aforementioned Vektor, and Voivod. Their own take on progressive, blackened thrash metal is nothing new, thanks to Terminal Redux being one of the absolute best albums of last year, but this had the side effect of making this special brand of metal highly demanded. Call of the Starforger is great and the flow of riffs is unstoppable, making it a very welcome addition to the not so expansive array of releases … Read more

Special Providence – Will

The Hungarian jazz fusion metal quartet Special Providence has got me hooked since their album Essence of Change. Their newest work, Will, is an all-around improvement over the former, though, and to tell you this was unexpected without sounding like I’m discrediting the band is difficult, but it’s just to show how impressive I thought Essence of Change was. Yet, Will is even more so. The four talented Magyars put their chops on display in all of the ten songs on the album, by offering tremendous solos, odd-timed riffs with many a rhythmic complexity, and all that with … Read more

Xanthochroid – Of Erthe and Axen, Acts I & II

All the extreme metal fans on the real Earth have been anticipating a return to Xanthochroid’s fictional Erthe since 2012’s immensely impressive debut, Blessed He with Boils. Taking five years to meticulously craft a two-act follow-up, the Californian band have rewarded our patience with Of Erthe and Axen, a cinematic, dynamic album pair that blends the best facets of several metal genres with orchestral folk pieces to produce something totally unique.

The band craft a story that dives deep into a universe they have created. Like their previous release, Of Erthe and Axen comes with a map … Read more