Mini-Reviews XXII

osrThe beginning of October has presented itself as a pretty slow moment for experimental underground music. So today I will include a few releases from earlier this year and last, and a big name in metal! You won’t see this often here.
Italian label AltrOck Productions released yet another interesting release. This time from the band Promenade. Their debut album is called Noi al dir di Noi – meaning something along the lines of ‘we tell ourselves’ -, and it’s a pretty funky progressive rock one! The first track, ‘Athletics’, goes a lot of places as the instrumental opener, but we soon fall back to Earth with ‘Il secondo passo’. That one sounds almost lifted straight from the seventies’ and serves as a prog funk ballad of sorts. The whole album is full of [good] surprises, and I recommend you also check some other albums from that label’s bandcamp!
I had the chance to receive an advanced copy of Burial in the Sky‘s Persistence of Thought. It’s all right. Their progressive death metal sound is closer to melodic or atmospheric death as it’s pretty unexploratory, but it’s generally well-written and well produced so if you’re a fan of the genre, that might be something for you.

Brazilian band LaVolta released the third part of their EP trilogy, Remate, earlier this year. Following up on ‘Escape’ and ‘Calvário’, this one is a bit darker but they keep the energy driving their songs. The EP is pretty good, but I feel like it’s in the same zone as their two previous releases; I would’ve preferred a bit more exploration of the boundaries of their sound and style. That being said, Remate is quite good if rather simple. They also released the trilogy as a full-length under the name ‘Sublimar’.

Meshuggah are pretty well known by anybody and everybody. You all know they are releasing their newest album Friday. You’re all hyped as fuck about it. Does it live up to the hype? Yeah, I guess. It’s Meshuggah. I like the more live feel of the album, but I would love to see them experiment a bit more; they’ve fallen into a too comfortable zone. Bands like Deathspell Omega and Gorguts, despite their age and influence, are still capable of pushing the boundaries, of staying relevant in this day and age without having to go the Opeth way and completely change everything. Although… a seventies’ prog rock album written by Meshuggah is now my new fantasy.

Modern Death Pop – or Mødern Death Pøp? -, is the sophomore album from Germany’s trancecore act Groovenom. Despite its ‘edginess’ and kind of annoying reliance on trance music synths and other electronic dance music clichés, the album is surprisingly decent. As you can imagine, the lyrics are not what you’d call insightful, but they’re in German so I guess you can do the same as you did with Rammstein: ignore the meaning. The only thing is… I don’t know if I’m enjoying this ironically or not.
I became aware of Illinois experimental progressive rock act Pavlov³ because their touch guitarist (Chapman stickist? Tapper? Ugh, there’s no good word for this) is now part of The Gabriel Construct’s live band – and apparently merging the two formations, somehow. Curvature-Induced Symmetry… Breaking came out last year and is a topology-themed album. It’s hopefully just like I imagined it: a great prog album, the riffs of which consist only of tapped passages. It’s absolutely fantastic and I wonder why I didn’t come across it sooner.
We’ve talked about Californian technical progressive rock band Mammoth before, and you’ll be glad to know that their next album, Deviations, is just as good… If not better! You just have to listen to the single ‘Entanglements’ to know what I mean by that (and also by ‘technical progressive rock’). There’s pretty much everything a prog fan craves for, coupled with the technical proficiency of many math rock and tech-death names out there. You’ll love it.
Elarcos is an Uruguayan band – a country we never hear about, especially in the prog scene -, and Tecnocracia is their debut album. Well, it doesn’t feel like a debut at all! The hour-long album is definitely among the best, most intricate progressive metal releases of the year. Their extensive lineup is completed by the singer playing saxophone as well. They sound a bit like the newer sound of Between the Buried and Me: just as all over the place and ever-changing in their music, but without the metalcore/deathcore element to it. It’s also like a Latin Dream Theater if they were writing Images & Words in the 2010s (when they were at their peak of creativity). Seriously, take a listen to this album. You won’t be disappointed.

On October 5 2016, this entry was posted.