Mini-Reviews XVIII

mrRoll your sleeves and be ready because there are some great material in this bunch!
Starchitect‘s progressive post-metal has already been tested, especially on their previous release, Results. Today, with Shift, the band continues to develop their brand by including some very welcomed math metal spices to it. Their newest full-length, out on the fifth of October, is pretty interesting, and you should definitely give it a try!
Grindcore/powerviolence band ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ – along with Chokeslam, GFSP, and Cabin Fire -, teamed up to release a raw compilation EP, Make America Grind Again. Chokeslam’s contribution, although only one song, is definitely the best on record, while the others are kind of hit or miss. I expected more of Shrug (¯\_(ツ)_/¯) because I really liked their earlier work on ????, and know they are the same guys behind Plasticbag Facemask, which I really like, but they just don’t deliver, here.
This was sent to me a long time ago, but, thanks to the spam filter of my mailbox, wasn’t opened until now. Jonas Tamas‘ one-man project (with guests) is an EP tetralogy on the seasons. Not the most original of concepts, I reckon, since Vivaldi did this in the XVIII century, but it can nonetheless lead to creativity and inspiration. Spring is the first of the four EPs, and evoke the feelings of the season through four songs in the style of melodic progressive rock. Musically, it’s not too far from what Sithu Aye makes: it’s melodic, not too exhibitory, and slightly djenty. It’s pretty neat.
Another one who escaped from the claws of the spam folder: Zeitgeist‘s self-titled debut album. The piano, drums and bass trio is not unlike Tigran Hamasyan’s material: a sort of groovy, technical, and progressive jazz that recalls progressive metal and djent compositions. It goes without saying that the playing is much less virtuosic than any of Tigran’s records, but the same vibe is achieved. This is especially true when you listen to their new track, “Thantos”, which will probably be on an upcoming album or EP and showcases great musicianship (that left-right hands coordination is lit!) I’ll keep you updated on this!

Aidan Baker & Tomas Järmyr are a sort of super-duo, as they were in other bands such as Nadja, Zu, and Yodok. Werl is, simply put, an hour-and-a-half-long piece of ambient rock, often swerving into psychedelic, doom, and noise territory. I’m really not one to like ambient music, but Yodok’s Legion of Radiance proved me I could like some of it. Well, this isn’t too far from Yodok’s material – I would even say it’s better, but maybe that’s because it’s fresher -, forever-changing and slowly evolving, with odd-time signatures drumming underneath a wall of reverberated chords. It’s immense, it’s beautiful, and it’s awesome. Listen to the first of the eight parts, and your mind should be set.
A House Divided is a progressive deathcore band from the United Kingdom, and Conform & Declaim is their debut album, a concept one at that. It might be hard to tell because it’s instrumental and there are no liner notes to guide you through it, but the concept is about the new world order. The guitar distortion reminds me of the aforementioned Plasticbag Facemask and the Norwegian prog-deathcore act Atena, which I both like. However, the compositions on here are much more straightforward, less polished (both during recording and post-production), but it’s something that is still tolerated for up-and-coming, independent bands. The album is available on a pay what you want basis, and it’s definitely not bad, so give it a shot, it might be your thing!
Bird Caravan are these three madmen who recorded their debut EP live, in one take. And did I mention they play some very technical math rock? Living with a Stork is a live recording of three songs, one of which was already on Bird Poop. Nothing is perfect here: neither the sound of each instrument, their mix, nor their delivery, but it’s a good, healthy dose of human factor in an otherwise machinesque neighbourhood. You really have to hand it to them to have the talent to play such intricate parts and the guts to record them live, in one take. I know old prog bands like Yes used to record everything in one take – although they were allowed to make some corrections afterwards -, but it’s just too rare, nowadays. Hats off!
The Surrealist‘s Naked Awareness EP is a good surprise. The band draws heavy influences from acts like Animals as Leaders and CHON, with a unique and very technical picking technique giving a remarkable tone to the guitar playing, which is especially noticeable on “Canvas Sky”, which is just like a B-side from AaL’s debut. “Flowering of Consciousness” is much more melodic prog à la Plini, perhaps, “Become Whales” is a solo guitar composition showcasing the unique style of Roopam Garg, and “Waves of Naked Awareness” is pretty much unmatched in styles of composition. It’s quite an outstanding EP, I must say.

On September 19 2016, this entry was posted.