As one of the most unique and diverse releases we received in the last few months, today we have Project Nightscape and their 13-track opus “To Sin against our Mercies”. In a similar fashion than Ayreon and Beto Vazquez Infinity, this album is a concept release and features a very wide variety of musicians allowing for very diverse styles to be played. Mostly varying between Progressive Rock/Metal, this release has very memorable tracks that are quite catchy and expertly crafted.
With the lyrical/story concept crafted by David W. Edwards and the guitar work crafted by other than Tony Gaglio, this release opens with the hard rocking “(Living in) Sacred Time” and the Heavy Metal anthem “Only Reason”. Continuing the album’s story after an interlude, we have proggy Rush-like “Now Silence!” and the ballad-esque “Inmortuorum Memorias”. As you could tell, the music varies from track to track but the songs are very well aligned to match the album’s lyrical progression.
As THE most awaited release of 2016 for us, today we have the pleasure of reviewing the return of In The Woods… with “Pure”. Having influenced hundreds of bands over the years with their visionary music and style, this band finally reformed back in 2014 - after 14 years of hiatus. Featuring over 67 minutes of music, this release perfectly delivers the traditional In The Woods… experience but not without a more refined an evolved sound that puts them right back in the map, picking up exactly where they left off.
Opening with the soaring vocal arrangements of “Pure” alongside a very moody and engaging instrumentation, the band will instantly transport you to their unique world. With British singer James Fogarty at the helm, instant comparisons to Jan Transeth can be made, but Mr. Fog has a more dynamic range and brings his own style into the mix. For those of us that enjoyed the experimental nature of the band, they quickly deliver the atmospheric and dreamy “Blue Oceans Rise” and “Devil’s at the Door” to hook the listener further in.
Delivering one of the most expected releases of 2016, today we have Pysch/Prog Rockers Purson and their sophomore album “Desire’s Magic Theatre”. Since creating quite a commotion with their creepy debut release “The Circle and the Blue Door”, the band has been gaining fans left and right in all parts of the world. Featuring a richer and warmer sound, this release delivers ten brilliant tracks that perfectly highlight all the awesomeness behind this promising band.
Led by the lovely and equally intimidating Rosalie Cunningham, this UK outfit opens with the fuzziness of the album title track. This piece sets retro Rock vibe with its groovy guitars and hypnotic percussions. The full-on explosion into melodic psychedelic/proggy interludes makes this track quite a solid opener. Moving on into more ‘traditional’ Jimi Hendrix-esque territories, the band delivers the trippy “Electric Landlady”, one of the most playful and engaging songs in this release.
Fittingly bearing what it looks like a psychoactive toad on its cover, today we have Tusmörke and their trippiest release to date “Fort Bak Lyset”. Combining psychedelic and folk elements ina a very proggy way, the band crafts seven unique pieces that are beyond original and totally weird. If you are looking for weird psychedelic music, this is probably as weird as you are going to get in 2016.
Opening with the Jethro Tull-esque “Ekebergkongen”, the band sets a very odd stage with tons of psychedelic atmospheric elements and very proggy music. Entirely sung in Norwegian, the music in this album explores all kinds of weird folk corners as we can hear on “Et Djevelsk Mareritt” and “De Reiser Fra Oss”. While one can quickly picture a bunch of geeky larpers frolicking around with their foam swords to this music, we have to say that even this is too weird and out of the ordinary (in a good way!) for said sinister purposes.
As one of the most anticipated releases of 2015, Jess and the Ancient Ones return with their sophomore release “Second Psychedelic Coming: The Aquarius Tapes”. Moving away from their Doom influences and fully embracing the psychedelic/progressive side of their sound, the band delivers nine enigmatic tracks that will intoxicate all fans of the band and the genre. Greatly improving over their first effort, this is one release that nobody will want to miss.
Opening with the creepy playfulness of “Samhain”, the band set a very enigmatic mood with funky samples and a truly psychedelic vibe. There are some parallels to bands like Purson, but with the signature JATO style. Jess’s mesmerizing vocals do a great job in setting a very mellow and dark mood on tracks like trippy “The Flying Man” and super catchy psychedelic anthem “In Levitating Secret Dreams”. The band truly travels in time with a very organic and natural sounding recording, allowing all the sounds captured to be truly authentic sounding.
Arriving today from the USA we have Shaumaun and their progressively oriented mash up of musical styles. In their self-titled debut release, the band presents twelve very melodic tracks that are a bit contrasting from each other, but full of promise, excellent ideas and solid execution.
The album opens with the proggy “A New Revolution”, which is a very entertaining piece that ultimately is just a warm-up for what is to come next. “Miracles of Yesterday” and “You and I Will Change the World” have a more radio-friendly and mainstream vibe, with loud rhythm guitars and solid leads. Being very catchy, this last song has some cool passages, but it also tries to incorporate too many elements, making things a bit awkward when they should have stayed simple as the track’s hook is pretty solid.
Arriving from France, today we have a very interesting and different release titled “Altra” from a band called Naïve. Mixing Progressive Rock/Metal influences with some trip-hop, shoegaze, and tons of electronic elements, they manage to create a very unique and dramatic cinematic experience in this album. Being more of the commercial-friendly spectrum of things, this release is quite mellow and perfectly enjoyable on a rainy day.
Opening with the playful “Elevate/Levitate”, we are instantly treated to a very well put together track that nicely navigates through multiple moods and different soundscapes. With every track featuring soaring vocals and powerful guitars, this French trio has developed a very unique and solid formula to deliver high-quality songs like “Yshbel” and the excellent “Mother Russia” to name a few.
Always expecting the unexpected from Code, the band takes a huge musical leap with “mut”. Usually characterized by playing intricate and unconventional songs, the band will surely puzzle their listeners with this Post-Rock/Progressive Rock album that keeps the band’s unique sinister atmosphere present, but with a different packaging.
The album starts off with the trippy and jazzy “On Blinding Larks” and “Undertone”, two tracks that are quite atmospheric and while different to what one would expect, they are quite engaging. The guitar work led by Aort and Andras is spot on, reminding us a bit of a jazzier and darker version of Anathema. Wacian further showcases his vocal magical powers with a very diverse and full of surprises performance through the album, but in particular tracks likes “Dialogue” and the deranged “Affliction”.
The USA Progressive Metal scene has been growing in the last few years, and surprisingly besides the premiere bands, there are many newcomers (or smaller bands) filled with quality like Oceans of Night. As the brainchild of multi-instrumentalist Scott Mosher, “Midnight Rising” marks the third full-length release of the band and greatly shows improvement over their previous albums. Coming in at nearly one hour of music, this release combines early 90’s Progressive Metal elements with the futuristic vibe of Dol Ammad and Ayreon.
Opening with the atmospheric “The Haunted Mind”, the band seamlessly transitions into the Heavy/Power Metal elements of “Midnight Rising”. In this last track, Scott Oliva shines through the expertly crafted riffing and percussions. Breaking up the flow, the highly atmospheric “Critical Mass / The Breathless Sleep” nicely changes the pace of things before the epic “The Burning Sky”. As one of our favorite tracks in this release, the instrumental passages and guitar solos are just amazing in this one (there is a guest solo in this track by Chris Rifkin).
Riding on the success of their 2012 amazing release “Weather Systems”, Anathema returns with yet another masterpiece of highly melancholic and atmospheric Progressive Rock titled “Distant Satellites”. With a surprise rise in productivity from the band, we are stoked that they are consistently releasing albums and very good ones as well, and that we didn’t have to wait 7 or so years between releases. This release is highly comparable to the band’s efforts on “Weather Systems” and the style they proposed in that release.
This album kicks off with the very emotional first two parts of the track “The Lost Song”. In each these parts we have Lee shinning ever so brightly with her gifted vocals and the raw emotions she transmit through them. These tracks are also very well arranged and nicely change tempos and have brilliant climaxes. Following up with “Dusk (Dark is Descending)”, we now shift focus to Vincent’s signature pipes and the way they seamlessly blend with the very dramatic (and cinematic) musical backdrop.