I can’t remember exactly how it happened, but one night I stumbled upon a relatively unknown cluster of Pacific deep-northwest metal bands. They were mostly average in terms of musicianship and appeal, but one act with a couple of singles from a forthcoming album stood above the pack. This band was Bushwhacker, and their since-fully released third album A Fistful of Poison is one of the most creative and polished offerings to come out of any metal scene in recent memory. To call this album “underrated” would be an understatement as big as the Montana sky; at the time … Read more
Comprising Canadian cellist Raphael Weinroth-Browne and Iranian kamanche player Shahriyar Jamshidi, Kamancello is the fruit of collaborative improvisation, with the dynamic skill sets of each player bouncing off each other in unique and enchanting ways. Weinroth-Browne has, in a sense, the more challenging job of delicately balancing low-end rhythmic richness with melodic lead performance and harmonization; Jamshidi, with all his talents, is restricted to the higher range of his kamanche (think Persian violin) and thus contributes almost exclusively higher leads and harmonies. The duo juggles their three modes (kamanche leading, cello leading, dual harmony leads) with precision and aplomb. Coming … Read more
With the release of their fourth full-length album in six years, a band I once called “one of the best, most progressive young bands in metal right now” is nearing a level of establishment and maturity that probably signifies we can ditch the “young” adjective. While not everyone knows who Dreadnought is, Dreadnought knows what it is, and they waste no time on Emergence reminding us, kicking off the album with more immediacy than ever before. On the first track of their 2013 debut, Lifewoven, they opened with haunting ethereal atmosphere, introducing us to flute, congas, and lilting vocals … Read more
Consider the metal albums over the last decade or so that have received near-universal acclaim from critics and fans. The names that come to my mind include such releases as Vektor’s Terminal Redux, Mgła’s Exercises in Futility, and Rivers of Nihil’s Where Owls Know My Name. One common thread among these crowd-pleasers is that they tend to be a band’s second or third album; they’ve taken a couple of releases to find their footing and refine their sound, then it all finally comes together a few years into their career. Comparatively, very few bands … Read more
Devin Townsend is an artist that has always been hard to classify. Releasing such a wide range of music, from death metal, to ambient, to new age, to progressive rock, to country. But to be confined to just one genre wouldn’t be Devin Townsend. Which is why he lets it all out on Empath, jumping from style to style at whim, and creating something truly unique as a result.
I reviewed the last Devin Townsend Project (DTP) album Transcendence back in 2016 saying it took Devin’s sound to a new level. Now that I reflect on it, that … Read more