Being huge fans of Progressive Rock/Metal, we were very excited when we got Unified Past’s latest release “Spots”. Featuring eleven-tracks of very well crafted and skilled Progressive music, “Spots” is one of those very ambitious releases that delivers in every single department, thanks to the excellent musical skills of the band’s three members. Ranging from extremely technical to just catchy and simple, this release has something for every fan of the genre.
Opening with the lush “Blank”, we get a first glance at the band’s very dynamic and futuristic sound. The soaring keyboards nicely complement Stephen Speelman’s very fitting vocals. We get a slight Ayreon / Hawkwind vibe in this well-constructed track. Wasting no time “Deep” opens up with an excellent guitar/keyboard combo that sets a very melodic tone for the track. In this track we particularly enjoyed the playful guitars paired with some cool percussions, making it quite engaging and a delight to enjoy.
Having already delivered one of the best Progressive Rock releases of 2013, UK’s Kingbathmat was not satisfied and decided to unleash “Overcoming the Monster” six months later. Featuring six intoxicating tracks of a very enjoyable mixture of Psychedelic and Progressive sounds, the band nicely improves over their earlier release (in 2013) with a more emotive and touching release. Any fan of Yes, King Crimson, and even Porcupine Tree should worship this release immediately.
Determined distorted guitars lead the way on “Sentinel”, the opening track in this release. The band’s sound here is more Hard Rock and powerful than your average Prog outfit, however, this changes quite dramatically to a more typical Progressive style. The band’s ability to craft very simple, yet catchy sections is clearly highlighted in this very engaging track. After a few weird percussions, “Parasomnia” nicely warms up to a very Yes-like track that is filled with warm guitars and very playful keyboards. This song is one of the definite stand-outs of this release.
Finding talented musicians is pretty easy, however, finding a band with talented musicians than can actually write compelling music is a whole different story. Red Wave luckily is a three-piece that their individual skills greatly complement each other and they managed to deliver eight brilliant tracks of Progressive Rock/Metal. With a heavy and yet melodic sound, their music is quite skillfully crafted to appeal any fan of the genre and please even the most snobbish people in the scene.
The album leads away with the warm-up “Monolith” and a very funky bass guitar opening. The distorted guitars really give a certain kick to the music that many of the progressive releases we get are missing, allowing us to enjoy “Pamir” even more. The opening dreaminess of tracks like “Ikarus” is essential for the listener to really immerse themselves in the music, and Red Wave does a pretty darn good job at hooking people into their music.
Making its way from Finland, today we have Riverland and their self-titled debut release. Featuring a very soothing and relaxing combination of Progressive / Alternative Rock with some Folk elements, this duo delivers seven excellent tracks. Heavily focusing in creating lush atmospheres, Riverland manages to craft a very unique and well balanced debut.
Immediately creating a ‘feel good’ mood with the lush opener “Hope in The Air”, we can hear the band’s pop to folk influences in the span of the first minute. Miko Heino’s vocals are quite well suited for the music’s relaxing nature. “Help!” starts more in a folk-ish fashion with some cool beats and a very atmospheric vibe. On “Sounds” we can easily hear how they can perfectly fit the scene of a coffee house on a rainy afternoon. The band’s sound is quite direct and simple, perfectly fitting atmospheric concept of the album.
With a slight alternative rock edge to their sound, today we have Finland’s Minutian and their very entertaining release “Repercussions”. Delivering seven tracks of super catchy rock tunes with some Progressive Rock/Metal elements, the band showcases their knack for epic melodies and intricate passages arranged in a very approachable and engaging manner.
Opening with the playful “Hole”, the band sets a very light mood for this release. Mikko Heino does a great job delivering emotionally charged vocals on top of the very mellow music. The progressive touches are more present on “In Circles”, a track that reminds us of a more Rock version of King Crimson with very dreamy melodic passages. Things get a bit heavier with “Cold & Tight” one of the best tracks in this release thanks to its very intricate instrumental passages.
With a very unique and aurally pleasing sound, today we have France’s Përl and their release “R(a)ve”. Distributed through Apathia Records, every time we get a promo pack from them we are always in for a very unique musical experience thanks to their excellent taste in bands and releases. Playing a quite interesting combination of Progressive Rock/Metal elements with unique atmospheric elements and lead by a very strong female vocalist, Përl delivers eight very different and engaging tracks in this release.
Opening with the very elegant and mysterious “Tidjan”, the band’s unique sound immediately highlights the sultry voice of Aline Boussaroque. The blend of progressive elements with distorted guitars is quite unique and very well-spaced to allow the vocals to truly shine in this song. Playful tracks like “Fusce Deliria” show the band’s abilities to craft intricate melodies with super catchy passages and funky vibes. The lounge-like “Insomnie” is quite a hypnotic track that focuses more on Aline’s vocals and the band’s atmospheric elements, creating a very unique listening experience.
Deliver 60 minutes of super catchy and melancholic Progressive Metal/Rock, today we have Vitriol’s debut full-length release “Into The Silence I Sink”. Combining elements of bands like Pain of Salvation and other Progressive Metal/Rock outfits, this band delivers ten carefully crafted tracks that will move any fan of the genre.
Opening with the very melancholic duo of songs “Behind the Electric Veil” and “Slowly Dies”, the band quickly warms up with very melodic and emotional compositions greatly led by their charismatic vocalist Gianluca Pappalardo. These first songs have a Gothic Rock edge blended into Progressive influences for a very unique and refined sound. Another fine example of this mixture of melancholy and traditional progressive elements is one of our favorite tracks: “Arabesque”.
Delivering nine tracks of exquisite and playful instrumental Rock, today we have France’s Lovely Girls Are Blind and their third full-length release “Brésil”. Combining elements from Instrumental Rock, Post-Rock, and Progressive Rock, this French quartet manages create their own unique sound while reminding us of bands like Mogwai, God Is An Astronaut, and the more refined parts of Russian Circles.
Opening with the very eerie “Catatonie”, the band sets the mood with dreamy guitars and very well paced percussions. The band does a great job in crafting beautiful passages in this song (and the rest) that allow the song to fully develop in a natural fashion. With a shorter duration and a more direct approach, “Robotnik” shows a heavier side to the band that nicely changes the pace of the release very quickly, just before going back to more dreaminess courtesy of “Cochise”.
Arriving from the UK, today we have KingBathmat and their excellent release “Truth Button”. Invoking Progressive Rock greats like Pink Floyd, King Crimson, Flower Kings, etc., this band delivers six excellent tracks filled will beautifully carved melodies and surprises in every corner. Not just being a copy of said bands, KingBathmat manages to fuse some Grunge with Experimental Rock elements and a dash of Psychedelic rock, crafting a very trippy and technically proficient sound.
Opening with “Behind The Wall”, we can instantly listen how the band’s Grungy guitars perfectly blend with space-age keyboards similar to Spock’s Beard and such bands. The heavy guitar sound nicely contrasts the lush vocals and overall mood, creating a very powerful and melancholic sound. Fully warmed up, “Abintra” keeps the mood flowing with very harmonious vocals and a funky bass guitar line. This song also has very playful psychedelic undertones that elevate the atmosphere of this track.
As one of the most interesting labels of this year Svart Records has managed to put out some of the most awesome releases of the year from artists like Hexvessel and Sabbath Assembly. Uhrijuhla is another band from this label that will make you confused the first time you spin their self-titled debut album. Breaking boundaries and delivering a combination of Progressive Rock with Psychedelic elements and even some Pop influences, this release packs a lot of punch under its enigmatic nine songs.
Opening with the eerie “Avaruuden lapsi”, the band really makes the statement that this release is nothing like anything you have heard before. The music is quite psychedelic and the humming greatly enhances the disturbing retro-atmosphere of this song. Things get weirder with “Se minkä maa voi antaa”, a track that features quite angelic female vocals and a very mellow pace. The chorus part of this track is quite catchy and enjoyable, making it one of the best songs in this release.