Please don’t skip this because of the cover art shown above. I know it’s probably the worst album cover you’ve seen recently – or, ever! –, but the music it forbids is worth your time, I swear! Honestly, I debated whether or not I should include the “artwork” in this review… But out of respect for Panu-Pekka Rauhala‘s artistic choices, I decided to keep it, at the cost of this very warning. Ugh, it’s such an ugly cover for such a good album… It could win many art anti-awards, of that I’m sure! Well… enough … Read more
We truly are well treated in this early 2018. So much great music has been knocking on my eardrums that it’s difficult to keep track. Although a late 2017 release, France’s Kami Octet, an avant-garde jazz eight-member ensemble, and their album Spring Party, was only just now heard by yours truly. The release is an adventurous and thorough experiment on contemporary jazz, sharing similarities with Fire! Orchestra and other such modern artists like Jaimie Branch. I’ve noticed the former mainly due to the vocal eccentricities of Christine Bertocchi, who at times recall moments of … Read more
Rarely has a progressive metal fusion album been released with so little anticipation, praise, and attention while deserving so much of these. Enter Hago and their self-titled debut album. The Boston band is, as they put it, “a melting pot of progressive metal, jazz, and Middle Eastern elements”, and I couldn’t have said it better – they also call it “falafel djent”, but let’s not go there. Their group consists of the usual instrumental metal and jazz quartet of guitar, bass, keyboards, and drums, while also having a full-time saxophonist on top.
Rooted inside the Berklee … Read more
Russia-based R.A.I.G. (Russian Association of Independent Genres) label seldom disappoints. The latest hit from under their wings is from German avant-garde progressive rock band Alex’s Hand, and their fourth studio album, Katatak – stylized KaTaTaK. Contrary to tradition, the songs don’t follow an overarching theme or concept, but the three main chunks – “Waterfalls”, “Epic”, and “Ghost Peppers” – each tell a story through convoluted long-form structures, atypical riffs and rhythmic patterns, and a generally rather aggressive take on progressive rock and jazz rock. Katatak is unsurprisingly very colourful, despite the overall bleakness of the concepts and songs; … Read more
Moloch was a defining album for me. As one of the first, and, above all, best, albums truly bridging the gap between jazz and metal into a strange form of palatable yet challenging avant-garde jazz record. The Polish quintet is now back with their third release: Million Miles. Their newest takes up where Moloch left off – kicking and screaming –, and offers us an experience that’s almost as searing as its predecessor. However, instead of pure abrasive power, Million Miles is more delicate, tasteful, and mature than its older sibling. They obviously still share the same genes, but … Read more