The Mercury Tree is one of the rare bands that has managed to constantly grow and improve with every record they put out. On their fifth record, Permutations, they are barely recognizable as the same band that created their radio-friendly alt-rock debut nearly a decade earlier. Permutations is an extremely dense and challenging listen that demands and rewards multiple listens; it is one of the rare records which combines technicality and innovation with a strong emotional core.
Bandleader Ben Spees has been the only constant throughout the band’s discography, and he manages to be the lead vocalist, guitarist and … Read more
It’s hard for me to believe that ISIS hasn’t reunited under the name ‘Sarin’. If you told me that Aaron Turner was fronting this project, I would believe you – Sarin’s vocals, vocal phrasing, guitar tones and riff style sound terrifyingly identical to Turner’s, the drummer’s style bears quite a lot in common with Aaron Harris, and the production is quite similar. Despite all of that, I would have some questions. Why did ISIS feel that they had reached a dead end and break up the band, only to start a new project that felt like they took two steps… Read more
I had the pleasure of being introduced to The Mercury Tree at Progtoberfest this past year. This Portland band was easily one of the most interesting and modern sounding bands on the bill. They are far from being just another prog band, as they incorporate influences from math rock, jazz, alternative rock, and more. All of this is evident on their latest record, Countenance, which displays an enormous stylistic range (and a huge progression from their previous records, which did not include many of these elements). If you’re a fan of bands like The Mars Volta, Tera Melos, Tool, and … Read more
I was recently contacted by one of the guitarists from Chilean band Zorbas Crisol, and I was extremely impressed by what I heard. Their debut EP, Criollo, is somewhat reminiscent of a mostly instrumental version of Mr. Bungle’s debut album, but it doesn’t feel the slightest bit derivative. The song structures are highly unpredictable but never random or directionless. For example, the first song begins sounding very reminiscent of The Mars Volta – if you had told me that Omar Rodriguez-Lopez played guitar in the first half of this song, I wouldn’t have been surprised, and the similarities are … Read more