Soul Enema – Of Clans and Clones and Clowns

Soul Enema is a progressive metal band from Israel that hit me by surprise with their new album, Of Clans and Clones and Clowns. Although I’m generally a fervent user of the Oxford comma, I’ll admit that it would be quite an encumbrance in this title to add two half stops. And – one last thing before discussing the actual music –, the cover art for the album is part of the reason I didn’t expect much from it: it’s really ugly (sorry, Vasya Lozhkin (Alexey Kudelin)). Okay, now that that’s out… Soul Enema’s progressive metal is a strange … Read more

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

Hibagọn – Polyposmic

Italian experimental progressive rock outfit Hibagọn just released their debut album, after two previous EPs in which they solidified their sound and personality. At forty minutes long, Polyposmic brings us a healthy dose of the mathematic prog duo. Focusing on fast-paced odd-time signatures, polyrhythms, and dissonant intervals, the creature by the name of Hibagọn is able to outdo its previous achievements. With the help of various effect pedals, guitarist Dowi is able to make us forget the fact that there is no bassist or complementary guitarist or keyboardist (except on ‘Orogenesis’ and ‘Zero’). Polyposmic is a fun time and a … Read more

White Ward – Futility Report

mulating our opinion of an album before diving back into the endless sea of new releases. Sometimes, however, a confluence of factors generates a scenario in which one album stays in rotation for an extended stay before pen gets put to paper. White Ward‘s Futility Report is an album I’ve been trying to write about since January, when I heard its first publicly released song. It took about 30 seconds of that track to convince me this was a band worth paying attention to. They were kind enough to send me a review copy, but shortly thereafter, the always-excellent … Read more

Mammoth – Deviations

mammothIn 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

Devin Townsend Project – Transcendence

transcendenceDevin Townsend has gone many different musical places in his career, frequently doing something drastically different that what he’s done before, most notably on his first four albums in the Devin Townsend Project with Ki, Addicted, Deconstruction, and Ghost. Transcendence is no exception, as it takes his sound to a new level. On this album, Devin took input from the rest of the band, musicians he’s been working with for 10+ years, and relinquished some control to them. Because of this, the band sounds more united than on other recent DTP albums, like Epicloud and Sky Blue.

This was brought Read more

Fountainhead – Reverse Engineering

fhcover350It’s been a while since I listened to a solo album by a member of a known band (a.k.a. Jeff Loomis, Christian Münzner, Mark Tremonti, etc); even if they’re a nice showcase of their musical prowess and are guaranteed to a give you a lot of fun, in most cases they don’t stick enough with me to repeat them after a few spins. Tom “Fountainhead” Geldschläger, new member from tech-death overlords Obscura, is a refresh to my ears with his second official release “Reverse Engineering”. This is the third album I listen to this year that contains his … Read more