Munich, Germany’s Panzerballett has been one of my favorite bands for some time now. Merging the intricate brutality of progressive metal with the grace and elegance of modern jazz together with a dash of German humor and a healthy awareness of how bizarre this combination is, they are in my opinion one of the most original and virtuosic bands active at this time. Their fifth full length album, Breaking Brain, sufficiently expands on the formula that they’ve developed over the years and manages to meet my high expectations yet again.
Featuring a sax player in what would otherwise be … Read more
Glass Skies is a UK-based one-man band by Oscar, active since at least 2014, according to bandcamp releases. A Nature of Sorts is his first actual release, if we don’t count three singles and a backing track mini-EP.
His debut EP is a 5-song, 18-minute listen that adds a few djent elements to an otherwise jazz fusion sound, which is, for the most part, pretty laid back and contemplative but still instrumentally interesting. On that point, there is a little extended instrumentation that is fun to listen to: stuff like xylophone on Nice Monster and piano on the title track, … Read more
Prog rockers Thieves’ Kitchen hail from the UK and Sweden. Their sixth full-length album, The Clockwork Universe, charts a course through spacetime to a destination somewhere in 1970s Canterbury, UK. The jazz and folk infused style of progressive rock particular to this spacetime neighborhood, rather than being an obsolete relic of the past, still boasts untapped veins of creative gold. Along the journey, we’re treated to a sprawling 20 minute prog epic, as well as a couple instrumental and percussion-less tracks that sound more like contemporary classical chamber music than any kind of … Read more
Irish math fusion act Alarmist are dropping their full-length debut, Popular Demain, on November 2, and at only one week away, my excitement is palpable. Of the two tracks currently available for streaming, we’re treated to some sweeping, cinematic jazz progressions supported by an arithmetical rhythmic core. At times it’s uplifting, yes, but in harmonically rich and complex ways characteristic of fusion. Think Jaga Jazzist meets Battles and you have a fairly good idea of what to expect. The album will be available on Bandcamp, where you can also check out their existing EPs.… Read more
Acrania (not to be confused with the more popular but less interesting Acrania from the UK) is a Mexican progressive thrash/death metal band, the selling point of which is their unique incorporation of latin jazz rhythms. They’ve released their first EP in 2007, and then went on to release full-length, Fearless is their third and latest LP and it came out in April of this year.
Jazz, samba, bossa, and salsa are intertwined with more regular thrash and death metal riffs as an integral part of their sound, rather than just a gimmick used for infamous “jazz interludes” and other … Read more