Kindred Spirits is the seventh release from the band. It’s not a radical departure from Arctic Sleep’s usual sound, but it’s an evolutionary step that sees continued refinement and development of a unique niche.
The debut EP from this Finnish musician is a mix of jazz and progressive rock where jazz is almost always the dominant element. Though the rock elements, particularly in the bass playing, help keep these instrumental pieces rooted.
There’s pummeling, scathing death metal riffs and growls, but these are contrasted against light, clean, melodic moments. Hints of funk and jazz arise over the course of the album, and the deployment of those influences is always tactful and effective.
This band’s particular blend of psychedelic pop and folk rock with progressive leanings results in something unique. Despite being almost all acoustic, the music is bombastic and impactful, and there’s a nice mix of the straightforward and the weird.
erilymph demonstrates that semi-electronic krautrock can still sound fresh and original in today’s musical landscape. It’s smart in its brevity: the 35 minutes of music here fly by without a wasted second.
As is their M.O., The Physics House Band have put out another stellar, albeit quite brief, release. This 15-minute EP is built around a singular dark riff and features strong interplay between the keys, guitar, and sax.
The sound is unashamedly rooted in 1970s giants like Yes and Genesis, and they remind me a lot of the better moments of Spock’s Beard. The music is filled with lush synths and organ, and the guitar has a noticeably modern style of distortion to it. While the songs are often in progressive rock’s usual serious tone, there are lighter, fun moments sprinkled throughout.
Jordsjø is one of the rare Scandinavian acts that draws from Scandinavia’s native traditions (folk metal excepted, obviously). It helps that it’s sung in Norwegian, but the music is rooted as much in folk as it is in progressive rock.
On Construct, BLASTAR have opted to go fully instrumental. The music is cosmic and high-energy, and the overall sound has shifted more in the direction of jam bands like Aqueous or Umphrey’s McGee, with jazz and folk tones.
Clockwork is one of those uncommon albums where the cover art matches the music perfectly. The music is bombastic and crushing, and echoes of ‘90s prog-death acts like Atheist and Death are audible here. The music is incredibly tight and technical, and the riffs are expertly contrasted with airy synth pads and moments of clean, cosmic sounds.
The debut from this Russian quintet is full of weird, jazzy riffs played with metallic intensity. The guitar and bass have a ragged, biting distortion, and the vocals are aggressively belted out. Saxophone is the lead instrument on most of this EP, and it’s utilized in some pretty unique ways.
Pure is an immensely heavy album, but the band do more than just pummel you with distortion. The songs are smartly composed, with a skillful use of dynamics; the quieter moments make the heavy ones feel that much more powerful.
Dreadnought released their best album yet with Emergence. It takes all the strengths of their previous releases and matures and focuses them, resulting in a lean, powerful, impactful, emotive release that brims with the intensity of doom metal and the ambition of prog.
This band has ambitious song structures and a knack for finding melodies which soar. There are technical solos aplenty, but never does it feel like wankery, which is quite an achievement for this genre.
“Dizzy” is an apt adjective for this Manitoban quartet. The music here is packed to the brim with tight, technical riffs played at a breakneck pace. Dizzy Mystics are shockingly melodic in their compositions. Wanderlost is definitively not a metal album, but the closest analog is Tool. The melodies seem rooted in a similar strain of ‘90s alt-rock and are run through a similar artistic lens, albeit one with less distortion.
I get a lot of Voivod vibes here, mostly from the thick layers of effects on the guitars and the strange, slightly dissonant chord choices. The vocals are clean and treated with cavernous echo, which adds another distinct flavor.
I’m Losing Myself is a spooky, grim piece of music. The guitar playing is striking and evocative, giving this album an ethereal feel. The distortion and harsh vocals are deftly contrasted against gentler moments, and the integration of synthesizers and woodwinds on some tracks is striking.
The overall timbre of The Island of Cretal is evocative of many stoner metal bands from the US, but the melodies are unmistakably Grecian. Folk tunes are reinterpreted as complex, rolling riffs that help the band stand out.
Comedia: Inferno is an impressive work of songcraft and musicianship. The constant, churning flow of different styles prevents this 68-minute album from ever bogging itself down, but it’s not so overwhelming as to be like drinking from a firehose.
Celtic flourishes abound throughout this album, in the form of flute, mandolin, violin, and bagpipes. The music is grand and hopeful, but it avoids undue sweetness and corniness. This is one of the strongest metal albums of 2019 so far.
Ni return with another dizzying showcase of aggressive, experimental instrumental rock music. Every song is named after some sort of phobia, and the music conveys that theme perfectly through irregular riffs, unusual chords, and anxious atmospheres.
This album is one huge 42-minute opus which blends a staggering amount of genres together. Black metal, death metal, jazz-fusion, folk, and more make appearances on this album. The constant turmoil holds your attention and keeps pulling you along, submerging you in brutal, complex riffs.
Sketches is presented as one hour-long piece divided into twelve movements. Each track is titled “Sketches” I-XII, and they flow seamlessly into each other. Sonically, Amalgam Effect are reminiscent of early-‘70s Jethro Tull. The base sound is rooted in hard rock, but there are significant folk flourishes. Acoustic guitar is prominent throughout, and flute plays a major role. Full review at: wp.me/pawrNb-1E