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.
From Termo Records, the label that brought us one of 2011’s standout releases White Willow’s “Terminal Twilight”, today we have Tusmørke’s “Underjordisk Tusmørke”. In what it is probably one of the oddest releases we have every received at Infernal Masquerade, This album is undoubtedly beautiful, haunting, and plain weird (for us at least). This Norwegian Psychedelic/Progressive Folk Rock packs a mean punch in this nine song release, and it will surely rattle your eardrums considering how original their music is.
Opening with very high spirts with the track “Fimbul”, the band instantly reminded us of Dark Reality and their “Blossom Of Mourning” album but with a twisted psychedelic edge. The band brilliantly incorporates their folk elements into their dark Psychedelic Rock side, and creates a very unsettling but quite unique mix. The vocals are quite lush and greatly bring the folky vibe to life on the excellent songs “Watching the Moon Sail out of the East” and “The Quintessence of Elements”. With an uncanny old-school Psychedelic vibe, this release heavily relies on their unique atmospheric elements.
Delivering a truly cinematic experience via Progressive Rock music, today we have Spyros Charmanis and his full-length release “Wound”. Clocking around 72 minutes of brilliant music, this self-released album delivers delightful compositions that any fan of traditional Progressive music will love from beginning to end. Spyros ability to craft intricate songs that are both musically and technically engaging without being overly done or falling into the ‘musical masturbation’ category that many Progressive bands unfortunately fall under.
The album opens with the intro track “Pushing The Sky”, a song that is very reminiscent of Progressive greats Dream Theater, and similar bands. With such a playful and strong opener, Spyros greatly indicates that this will be one quality and fun release. After the opener, the album ‘splits’ into three different sections of the conceptual foundations of this release. This concept basically tells the story of a fictional character through a series of experiences, too bad the artwork in this CD is very dark and we had trouble reading it unless we had a direct light source on the booklet.
Arriving all the way from Portugal in a very cool glossy packaging box, today we have Via Sacara’s “The Road”. In this release the band delivers ten tracks of excellently crafted Progressive Rock/Metal with very epic keyboards and anthemic tracks. Since the opening track of the release, the band does a very solid job in crafting catchy Rock melodies that at some points have a slight Heavy Metal vibe.
With epic chorus lines, songs like “Lost World” have a very powerful sound and nicely bring together all the elements we love about Rock and Metal. The band also has a nice commercial edge to them making their songs very accessible and enjoyable, while still maintaining some heaviness in their sound. One of our favorite track is the constantly changing “Souls of Fire”, in particular the last few minutes when after some epic vocals the music gets a bit Post-Rockish, totally brilliant in our book.
Making Progressive Rock/Metal look easy, today we have the highly skilled District 97 and their latest release titled “Trouble With Machines”. Featuring Leslie Hunt (American Idol Top 10 Finalist), this band is far from your usual Idol produced musical AIDS. With some killer musicians behind her, District 97 delivers seven mesmerizing tracks that showcase the band’s skills in a very playful and direct manner.
“Back and Forth” opens the release with a playful intro section that is followed by a weird-at-first Progressive vibe with female vocals. While the band is not the first one to attempt this, they are the first ones to really make it work and sound fresh in the process. In tracks like “Open Your Eyes” the band does not stray away much from regular Alternative Rock until the brilliant progressive details come into play. These details allow the songs to be a lot less linear and quite engaging since they seem oddly placed, excellently executed, and for some reason we can’t get enough of them.
Progressive Rock genius Neal Morse is back with another masterpiece titled “Momentum”. Featuring Mike Portnoy and Randy George, this release is one hell of an album that no Progressive Rock fan can miss. Packed with six tracks that span nearly an hour of brilliant music, this release shows why Neal Morse is one of the best in the genre and that he still has the touch for creating fresh sounding music that will blow you away.
Opening with a very futuristic/space-ish vibe, “Momentum” gets down to business very fast with excellent melodic sections and very tight drumming. Neal’s vocals are excellent as always and very well arranged in this track. The guitar solos in this song are outstanding, showcasing Neal’s timeless ability to write and play excellent guitar sections in his music. “Thoughts Part 5” features a more playful nature with some very well crafted sections that showcase the excellent drumming of Mike Portnoy (as if we needed more proof) and very ethereal keyboard sections that set the mood very nicely, several guest appearances by Eric Gillette and Wil Morse greatly enhance this song as well.
After blowing us away with their excellent debut release “Trails Out of Gloom”, Fen (the Progressive Rock/Metal one) returns with “Of Losing Interest”, a release that while heavier in nature it failed to captivate us as much as their previous release. With nine tracks of well-crafted Progressive Rock/Metal, this release is by no means bad, it just feels too straightforward and lacking the magic that “Trails out of Gloom” had in every track.
The opener “Riddled” is a quintessential Prog piece that sounds a bit too predictable and linear in our opinion. There are a few cool guitar sections and the bass guitar line is pretty solid, but the song as a hole seems lacking some creativity. Things pick up a couple of times during the tracks “Of Losing Interest”, “Nice for Three Days”, and “A Long Line”, with a few brilliant guitar sections and tight percussions, but nothing extremely impressive. We are kind of turned off that we are almost half-way through the release and haven’t found anything that really sticks in our head.