COYOTE MAN Releases Visualizer for Instrumental Single, “Time Crystals”

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Chicago based, Progressive Instrumental Rock band COYOTE MAN has released a fresh visualizer for their new /single, “Time Crystals.” Directed and edited by Chuck Clybourne (Sacred Ape Designs), “Time Crystals” features enigmatic, “dark age comic” art, reflecting the mystifying theme of the stunning single, designed by Craig Horky and is the band’s 4th single.

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“Time Crystals” was a cool topic we came across, about a new matter recently discovered. We cannot even begin to fathom what it truly is but we found the title interesting and romanticized the idea of being able to transcend time. As if you were able travel to different moments of your life. Like a place you can visit. But like always, we leave it up to the listener to create their own meaning.” – COYOTE MAN

Click to Stream “Time Crystals” on Spotify

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PONTUS Releases Official Music Video for Title Single off of ‘Black Hole BBQ’

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New York based Progressive Instrumental Space rock band PONTUS has released the official music video for the title single off of their album, Black Hole BBQ. The video for “Black Hole BBQ” was pieced together by different videos taken from the recording process and edited in with some live footage taken throughout the years. Included are short videos of the live studio tracking of drums, cello, and the percussion. The making of the album and the video was a collaboration with both Faculty and students at Feirstein Graduate School of Cinema in Brooklyn. Pontus’ day gig is at Feirstein graduate school where he manages the post production facility and teaches music technology. The musicians performing on Black Hole BBQ include Pontus H.W. Gunve (All guitars, composition, and production), Tripp Dudley (Drums, Tabla, and Percussion), Ian O’Brien (Modular Synth), Chris Kelly and Dan Kramer (Bass), Eric Allen (Cello), Katie Thode (Flute). The album was mixed by Rocky Gallo at Virtue and Vice Studios and mastered by Mike Kalajian at Rogue Planet Mastering.

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“Have you – like me – missed Pontus H.W. Gunve’s magic of melting contradictory modes and impressions into rich melodic canvases? Go and grab a bunch (Not forgetting your friends) of it! ‘cause you are missing big time! ” – Salim Ghazi Saeedi – Art Rockin’ Magazine

“If you like your music laid back and intense at the same time, with an eastern vibe that won’t quit, this is right up your alley … In fact to me it’s so awesome that I will be
not only recommending for years to come, I will be following this artist’s progress from here out.” – Larry Toering – Music Chronicles

“There are few musicians in the mold of Pontus Gunve. Rarely content to rely on the traditional, but instead plundering it for his own uses…” – Jason Hillenburg – Music Street Journal

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Track List:
1. Black Hole BBQ – Shelagh’s Quest
2. March of Mysceria
3. Sukhothai – Dawn of Happiness
4. Exotic Matter
5. Infinity Plus One
6. Polar Vortex
7. For Jules
8. Telus Mater

Download / Stream Black Hole BBQ Online:

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People make music to get a reaction. Music is communication.” – Yoko Ono

If there is truth in that statement, then perhaps the true measure of a musician is the reaction and response his or her music gets. Pontus Gunve has garnered quite a few reviews over the years that can be an indication of that relationship. It’s a great place to start in understanding Pontus Gunve and his group PHWG.

Pete Feenstra at Get Ready to Rock said, “Pontus has a keen sense of the musical possibilities his impressionist style offers him.” Translated from Swedish, Jan-Erik Zandersson said this in Nya Upplaga, “Musically, this is a kind of progressive post-rock with a historical focus.” In a review of Gunve’s latest disc, Andrew Metzgler of Mountain Weekly News said, “The only way I can describe The Observer is by comparing it to Pink FloydBeats AntiqueUmphrey’s McGeeQueen, and The John Butler Trio (2006 period)…Take elements from all of those bands, combine them with a few classic instruments and you can have an inkling as to what Pontus HW Gunve is bringing to the table.”

So, where does Pontus Gunve come from? The simple answer is New York City. That’s only the geographical location for his current stop on the musical journey that is his life, though. Gunve grew up in Sweden and was first fully gripped by his passion for music there when he saw Jean Michel Jarre’s Rendezvous Houston: A City in Concert on television as a child. Blown away by Jarre’s all-encompassing high-tech stage show and the endless layers of his album Oxygene, he began to explore the capabilities of computers to create different sounds and textures. His fascination with rock music led him to electric guitar, which he began to study voraciously, simultaneously imagining ways to expand its boundaries. At the same time, he experimented with sequencing and learned how to build computer and synthesizer modules that could be used practically during performances and on recordings.

Pontus Gunve’s music embraces the theory that music is a multi-dimensional experience and an adventure in wordless storytelling that fully absorbs the audience’s mind, body and spirit. Flowing through time and space, the lush sonic textures he creates evoke the ethereal landscapes of other-worldly multi-media artists such as Jean Michel Jarre and Boards of Canada while still clearly inspired by the thick, dark compositional textures of legendary heavy metal bands like Megadeth. And his energy as a guitarist celebrates numerous influences, from the technical proficiency of Steve Vai and the raw, exotic approach of Marty Friedman, to the minimalistic moments created by legendary blues performers. Gunve’s finely-tuned skills in the studio as both a producer and engineer allow him to seamlessly unify many different musical styles and a wide range of instruments into intricately-crafted, mesmerizing recordings resonating with unexpected surprises.

Of course, again, looking to reviewers can give us more insight into that sound. AtMusic Street Journal, Jason Hillenburg said of Gunve’s latest disc, “There are few musicians in the mold of Pontus Gunve. Rarely content to rely on the traditional, but instead plundering it for his own uses, Gunve brings a European sensibility to dense, intensely musical instrumentals. His album, The Observer, ranks as one of the most challenging and, ultimately, rewarding releases of the year.” Scott Kahn had this to say of the single “Cavalry of Camels” at MusicPlayers.com: “World Music meets Prog Metal in the latest single from Pontus Gunve. This is big orchestral stuff that rocks thanks to the solid guitar and drums anchoring the complex rhythms. The percussion and string section really give the music its international, ethnic vibe… Melodic, rocking, beautifully produced… I’m not fully sure how we’d categorize it, but we definitely enjoy listening to it.” At Mr. Music ChroniclesLarry Toering said, “There is just no describing the sheer quality on offer here. It’s something one must hear for themselves to really dig into properly, so it comes highly recommended…If you like your music laid back and intense at the same time, with an eastern vibe that won’t quit, this is right up your alley. In fact, to me it’s so awesome that I will be not only recommending for years to come, I will be following this artist’s progress from here out.”

Ludwig Von Beethoven said, “Music is the mediator between the spiritual and the sensual life. “ Gunve translates his sensual impressions of the universe into intricate, personal and melodic musical passages that vividly illustrate his life’s rich and complex journey and allow him to connect powerfully with his own musicians, the audience and with each space he performs. He has composed music and worked as a sound designer for a wide range of independent films and Web projects as well as for various large-scale art projects in Sweden. He founded his own instrumental project, PHWG in 2007, a group that combines video, electronic instruments, cello, violin, drums and tabla/darbuka. With that group he has released Four full albums and ONE EP, Black Hole BBQ (2019), IV (EP – 2016), The Observer (2013), Movements (2008), and Great Wall of Sound (2006).

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WATCH ME BREATHE Release New Single,”Garden of Eden”

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Santa Cruz, CA – Progressive Pop-Rock Band WATCH ME BREATHE has released their new single, “Garden of Eden,” which is available NOW via The Label Group / INgrooves.

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“People have mistaken this for a religious song, but it’s really not. What the Garden Of Eden metaphor really means here is universal place of origin. Some 100,000 years ago, human beings still lived in the natural environment that our bodies and minds evolved to live in. Now, we don’t. We’ve spent the last 100,000 years creating a world that is progressively less and less like any of us. And despite the many ways in which that is a wonderful thing we should be grateful for, I sense there are other, easily underestimated ways in which it confuses and confines us at a primal level. I’m not sure what we do about it, but the song is here simply to pose the question.” – Jake Aaron Ward

Click to Download / Stream ‘Garden of Eden”

WATCH ME BREATH

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Photo Credit: Natalie Sweeting – Through the Bird’s Eye Photography

From the very beginning, Watch Me Breathe has been all about honesty and authenticity. Lead singer Jake Aaron Ward formed the band in 2017 purely out of frustration. “As a solo artist, I just got fed up with trying to write music only to please other people. Watch Me Breathe is really an experiment that says: what would I write if nobody else was listening?”

The results of that experiment have been surprising. In the short time since the release of their debut LP “The Lighter Side of Darkness” in February 2018, Watch Me Breathe has already accrued well over 150K views on YouTube and over 50K streams on Spotify…and the numbers keep growing.

When it comes to making albums, this particular band has an unusual process not unlike that of Tame Impala or Bon Iver: Ward (a proficient multi-instrumentalist) writes, performs, records, mixes, and masters every song entirely by himself, in his own California home studio. He jokingly explains “I just kind of suck at collaborating.” He cites an eclectic range of influences, including Peter GabrielThe PoliceImogen HeapGoo Goo Dolls, and a whole slew of underground progressive metal bands that have helped shape his unique guitar parts and complex rhythmic patterns. In concert, the band performs as a power trio, with Ward covering guitar and lead vocals, while bassist Ryan Green and drummer/baby brother Carl Ward handle the rhythm section.

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Photo Credit: Natalie Sweeting – Through the Bird’s Eye Photography

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WATCH ME BREATHE Release Live Performance Video for “Here and Now”

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Santa Cruz, CA – Progressive Pop-Rock Band WATCH ME BREATHE has released the live performance video for “Here and Now.” Shot and directed by Michael Jarrett at Siphon Media, “Here and Now” is the fourth single off of the band’s highly anticipated, new album, The Strange Pull Of What You Really Love, available NOW via The Label Group / INgrooves.

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“This is essentially step 2 in the adventure! This really has been a profound journey for me so far. We’ve wandered deep into unknown and uncharted territory. I didn’t know how this album would sound when I was writing each song, and it’s been really exciting and satisfying to see it come together as a cohesive portrait. I’m happy to say that I’m incredibly proud of what we’ve created and I can assure you there will much, much more to come in the future.” – Jake Aaron Ward

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Track List:
1. Pain
2. The Other Side
3. Nothing Else
5. Don’t Fade Away
6. Feel Alright
7. Don’t Think I Haven’t Thought About It
8. Moves Through Your Body
9. Alien

Click to Download / Stream ‘The Strange Pull Of What You Really Love’

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From the very beginning, Watch Me Breathe has been all about honesty and authenticity. Lead singer Jake Aaron Ward formed the band in 2017 purely out of frustration. “As a solo artist, I just got fed up with trying to write music only to please other people. Watch Me Breathe is really an experiment that says: what would I write if nobody else was listening?”

The results of that experiment have been surprising. In the short time since the release of their debut LP “The Lighter Side of Darkness” in February 2018, Watch Me Breathe has already accrued well over 150K views on YouTube and over 50K streams on Spotify…and the numbers keep growing.

When it comes to making albums, this particular band has an unusual process not unlike that of Tame Impala or Bon Iver: Ward (a proficient multi-instrumentalist) writes, performs, records, mixes, and masters every song entirely by himself, in his own California home studio. He jokingly explains “I just kind of suck at collaborating.” He cites an eclectic range of influences, including Peter GabrielThe PoliceImogen HeapGoo Goo Dolls, and a whole slew of underground progressive metal bands that have helped shape his unique guitar parts and complex rhythmic patterns. In concert, the band performs as a power trio, with Ward covering guitar and lead vocals, while bassist Ryan Green and drummer/baby brother Carl Ward handle the rhythm section.

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WATCH ME BREATHE Releases Official Music Video for “Feel Alright”

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Santa Cruz, CA – Progressive Pop-Rock Band WATCH ME BREATHE has released the official music video for their new single, “Feel Alright,” via TLG / INgrooves.

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“This was one of those tracks where I knew it was special right away. I was jumping and dancing around the studio like a lunatic because I could just clearly feel that we’d struck something new and exciting. The vibe of the song is somewhat unlike anything we’ve made before; there’s something about the wildness and the darkness of the whole thing that I’m extremely excited about and proud of.” – Jake Ward

Download / Stream “Feel Alright” Online:

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From the very beginning, Watch Me Breathe has been all about honesty and authenticity. Lead singer Jake Aaron Ward formed the band in 2017 purely out of frustration. “As a solo artist, I just got fed up with trying to write music only to please other people. Watch Me Breathe is really an experiment that says: what would I write if nobody else was listening?”
The results of that experiment have been surprising. In the short time since the release of their debut LP The Lighter Side of Darkness in February 2018, Watch Me Breathe has already accrued well over 150K views on YouTube and over 50K streams on Spotify…and the numbers keep growing.

When it comes to making albums, this particular band has an unusual process not unlike that of Tame Impala or Bon Iver: Ward (a proficient multi-instrumentalist) writes, performs, records, mixes, and masters every song entirely by himself, in his own California home studio. He jokingly explains “I just kind of suck at collaborating.” He cites an eclectic range of influences, including Peter GabrielThe PoliceImogen HeapGoo Goo Dolls, and a whole slew of underground progressive metal bands that have helped shape his unique guitar parts and complex rhythmic patterns. In concert, the band performs as a power trio, with Ward covering guitar and lead vocals, while bassist Ryan Green and drummer/baby brother Carl Ward handle the rhythm section.

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AFTERMATH Release Lyric Video for “Gaslight”

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Chicago based Progressive Thrash Metal Band AFTERMATHhas released the lyric video for “Gaslight,” off of their recently released LP, There is Something Wrong.

To Gaslight someone means to manipulate a person into questioning their own sanity. The song and video are integral parts of the greater message behind this ambitious concept album.

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“The song is about waking up and having an open-mind in order to avoid the elite’s attempt to Gaslight you,” says frontman Kyriakos “Charlie” Tsiolis. “It tells the real rulers of the world we are on to their ways and we will destroy them and their symbols.”

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Track List:
1. Can You Feel It
2. FFF (FalseFlagFlying)
3. Diethanasia
4. Scientists and Priest
5. Smash Reset Control
6. Gaslight
7. Handful of Dynamite
8. Temptation Overthrown
9. Pseudocide
10. There is Something Wrong
11. Expulsion

Download / Stream There is Something Wrong Online

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Advance Praise for There is Something Wrong

“This album is f*ing awesome from start to finish.” – The Dirty Room

“It’s bullish, belligerent and fueled by anger…it will punch your f*in’ teeth in!”
Chris Jennings – Worship Metal

“It really packs a punch.” – caemanamelio – Metal Anarchy

“I can’t even begin to tell you how badass this entire album is.” – Allyson Kingsley – Boston Rock Radio

“This one will be difficult to knock of the Gauntlet’s Top 10 list for the year.” – The Guantlet

“Aftermath is back with another album of wild thrash” – Daniel Cordova – Metal Injection

“This album will score the hearts of listeners old and new.” – Kenny Lenehan – Silence is the Enemy

“What lies within the message of the songs on ‘There is Something Wrong’ is the truth etched into the songs with a fervor.” – cherribird.com

“…surprises lie in wait at every corner, with twists and turns following in dizzying succession recalling the works of other visionaries…” – Bayern – Encyclopaedia Metallum The Metal Archives

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One of the original crossover bands of the 1980s – A crossover band that transformed into one of the most technical Thrash Metal bands of their time.

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CARPATHIA Releases Lyric Video for “Sacrifice” Off of Upcoming ‘1912’ EP

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Boston based Alternative Progressive Metal CARPATHIA has released the lyric video for, “Sacrifice,” off of their upcoming EP, 1912, due out 6/10/2019.

Player
https://store.cdbaby.com/cd/carpathia

1912 the EP is the culmination of three years of growth and hard work, loss and repair once as a band and now, as a family.” – CARPATHIA

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A band is not created solely from a group of people deciding to get into a room and write music together, it’s not that simple. Once you’ve found that ‘sound’, it becomes impossible to ignore that you’re now bound to these songs you find yourself pouring every last drop of blood, sweat, and tears into. You will, quite literally, fight for them. It is with those individuals that make up a truly unique and inspiring band. Carpathia and its members have a history, and it all started with Bobby Drinkwater. As an East Boston, Massachusetts native, Bobby has been consistently involved in music, and in 2016 started a nameless band with long term goals. Bobby keeps the conversations short, but has so much to say behind his instruments. Bobby plays multiple instruments including guitar, violin, piano, and drums. Bobby first found co-member Jason Barsotti to join his new project. Born and raised in Malden, Massachusetts, Jason first picked up his drum sticks at the age of 10, and his long term practice has lead him to a fast paced, hard hitting sound that resonates. Jason’s humble and pleasant personality quickly takes a backseat when he steps behind his drumkit. Bobby had continued his search in bandmates close to home when joining forces with Andrew Miller, the two had met and worked together in a previous project back in 2014. Andrew is from Chapel Hill, North Carolina, but has resided in Lynn, Massachusetts since 2013. Throughout Andrew’s life he has been surrounded by family and friends who have been hitting stages in music and comedy. It is no wonder that Andrew’s charismatic humor filled personality would follow in similar footsteps. Andrew has played guitar long term in a number of bands both in North Carolina, and Massachusetts. He had transitioned to playing bass in 2013 for a previous project and found his own unique sound in the process. These three musicians had wrote and played music together between 2016 and 2017 as an instrumental band while trialing a number of potential vocalists. Finally, in January 2017, Samantha Alice of North Kingstown, Rhode Island joined as the last vital part of this project. Samantha brought her strong vocal skills and even stronger personality to the group. Samantha’s history in singing has taken her from talent competitions to all state choir, and beyond. Samantha was first approached by Bobby after meeting at a local show and sparked an interest in trying out for his new project. It took no time at all for the solidification of this band to come to completion and Carpathia was officially named as such on April 22, of 2017.

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CARPATHIA Releases Lyric Video for “Sacrifice” Off of Upcoming ‘1912’ EP

X2170226L

Boston based Alternative Progressive Metal CARPATHIA has released the lyric video for, “Sacrifice,” off of their upcoming EP, 1912, due out 6/10/2019.

Player
https://store.cdbaby.com/cd/carpathia

1912 the EP is the culmination of three years of growth and hard work, loss and repair once as a band and now, as a family.” – CARPATHIA

 2170036-1

A band is not created solely from a group of people deciding to get into a room and write music together, it’s not that simple. Once you’ve found that ‘sound’, it becomes impossible to ignore that you’re now bound to these songs you find yourself pouring every last drop of blood, sweat, and tears into. You will, quite literally, fight for them. It is with those individuals that make up a truly unique and inspiring band. Carpathia and its members have a history, and it all started with Bobby Drinkwater. As an East Boston, Massachusetts native, Bobby has been consistently involved in music, and in 2016 started a nameless band with long term goals. Bobby keeps the conversations short, but has so much to say behind his instruments. Bobby plays multiple instruments including guitar, violin, piano, and drums. Bobby first found co-member Jason Barsotti to join his new project. Born and raised in Malden, Massachusetts, Jason first picked up his drum sticks at the age of 10, and his long term practice has lead him to a fast paced, hard hitting sound that resonates. Jason’s humble and pleasant personality quickly takes a backseat when he steps behind his drumkit. Bobby had continued his search in bandmates close to home when joining forces with Andrew Miller, the two had met and worked together in a previous project back in 2014. Andrew is from Chapel Hill, North Carolina, but has resided in Lynn, Massachusetts since 2013. Throughout Andrew’s life he has been surrounded by family and friends who have been hitting stages in music and comedy. It is no wonder that Andrew’s charismatic humor filled personality would follow in similar footsteps. Andrew has played guitar long term in a number of bands both in North Carolina, and Massachusetts. He had transitioned to playing bass in 2013 for a previous project and found his own unique sound in the process. These three musicians had wrote and played music together between 2016 and 2017 as an instrumental band while trialing a number of potential vocalists. Finally, in January 2017, Samantha Alice of North Kingstown, Rhode Island joined as the last vital part of this project. Samantha brought her strong vocal skills and even stronger personality to the group. Samantha’s history in singing has taken her from talent competitions to all state choir, and beyond. Samantha was first approached by Bobby after meeting at a local show and sparked an interest in trying out for his new project. It took no time at all for the solidification of this band to come to completion and Carpathia was officially named as such on April 22, of 2017.

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CHOUT Releases “Seasons” Music Video From New LP ‘Dogwater’

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South Chicago based Rock Band CHOUT have released the official music video for their single, “Seasons,” off of their newest LP, Dogwater. Garnering immediate attention from no less than Loudwire, Metal Injection, and MetalSucks, the ALICE IN CHAINS influenced band is positioned to lead the simmering front of 90s grunge revival with a new, 3 song EP slated to drop in the next few weeks.

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“Seasons’ is a song written about battling mental illness. The chorus ‘Seasons cry for no one’ is a play on words referencing seasonal depression directly, but the song is meant to represent an internal struggle with one’s demons.” – Brendan Maier (Chout)

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Track List:
1. Seasons
2. So Long Long Gone
3. Restless Heart
4. All Has Been Done
5. Pick Me Up
6. Out Of Time
7. Thin Ice
8. To Lose

Download / Stream Dogwater Online:

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Chout is a Rock band from South Chicago formed in 2018 by vocalist Brendan Maier, guitarist Matt Morgan, bassist Rocco Gilsdorf, and drummer Joel Matinez. Childhood friends since elementary school, they are truly a band of brothers. The four have been writing songs together since the age of 13, drawing influences from all realms of the musical spectrum. While remaining faithful to the 90’s influence, Chout combines both classic metal riffs and modern upbeat songwriting, with a new progressive sound.

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Eryn Non Dae: France’s END…French Progressive Metal

France’s END. gives the metal scene exactly what is needed – something unique, groundbreaking, and a new style of extreme to follow upon. Much like fellow homeland heroes Gojira and Hacride, END. pulls off a signature sound that can immediately be picked up by the metal critics. END.’s ever evolving brand of extreme music makes for an open minded listen from start to finish. Their technicality not only stands out, but also goes towards metal’s advantage, expanding the genre.

END. delivers complex and brutal structures while at the same time adding doses of dark and apocalyptic moods, keeping you addicted. Their creativity, power, and aesthetics without a doubt will stun the metal genre.

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HORSEBACK Defy Genre with Rarities Collection, A Plague of Knowing

Let’s cut to the chase: HORSEBACK is thoroughly original. No band really sounds like them when they’re in their element. Combining rough and distorted vocals with cosmic, indie-alt production and musicianship, Jenks Miller’s bizarre project defies all identification, priding itself on breaking tradition instead of accessibility. Their latest rarities collection, A Plague of Knowing, over-indulges their sound a bit too much, but still keeps their unclassifiable vibe alive.

HORSEBACK is a very interesting animal in the world of metal. Founded by Mount Moriah guitarist Jenks Miller, HORSEBACK does contain influences from the grindcore vocal world. The rough and growling singing is brutal, but through clever production and subtle uses of atmospheric effects, it sounds spectral and otherworldly, in addition to being heavy. The increased use of distortion adds an almost frightening element to Miller’s vocals; it’s unintelligible, but like many ghosts of horror movies, that lack of coherence makes it even more difficult to understand and more enticing to explore.

From the musical side of things, however, A Plague of Knowing is very un-metal. The heaviness is toned back considerably for progressive rock-influenced ambiance and majestic, ethereal soundscapes. This is a startlingly inventive move that sounds very bizarre at first, but instead shows how to make something intense like growling vocals fit in with one of the least intense fields of contemporary music. Even compared to spacey prog metal like Mastodon’s Crack the Skye of Between the Buried and Me’s Colors, HORSEBACK’s A Plague of Knowing kicks the ambiance into its highest gear, transcending the intense façade and machining its way into higher places. By far, what Miller has truly done with HORSEBACK is abandon all sense of taxonomy; classifying what HORSEBACK is isn’t possible.

A Plague of Knowing is extensive, with 24 tracks composed of live recordings, vinyl songs, demos and rarities from the entire HORSEBACK discography. While seasoned fans will love individual mixes and specific musical endeavors, newcomers aren’t likely to find any specific examples of prowess throughout this collection. A Plague of Knowing is best experienced as a collective and while there aren’t one or two standouts, the entire album is compiled so well as a whole that it’s tough to not get lost in all 24 tracks. For example, “MILH” and “IHVH” merge together well, with spacey production, climbing melodies and the distorted static of Miller’s growls. This storm is quiet, but intense; A Plague of Knowing is so radically different from so many other metal bands that it’s sure to underwhelm the fans of instantly gratifying radio metal. It’s not meant to punch you in the face; it’s meant to slowly weather away the interference before going in for the finisher.

That being said, though, this near-dependence on collectiveness demonstrates a lasting sense of self-indulgence and length. 24 tracks is a lot of music, and with so many of these tracks lasting more than 5 minutes (the closing title track is a whopping 41 minutes long), it can overstay its welcome a bit. It’s very muddled in its continuity; in other longer albums, these extensive passages add a connection and unity between the tracks, telling a bigger story. A Plague of Knowing, however, is no concept album. It’s a rarities collection, so these lengthy songs don’t link together and it can make the longest ones a bit hollow in their meaning. Also, since these songs are already very spacey and atmospheric, A Plague of Knowing isn’t a concentration album, that is, it’s best played in the background and not when you’re actively listening. But that isn’t necessarily a bad thing: A Plague of Knowing has a ton of creativity behind its creator. It’s not focused enough to stand out, but really, it doesn’t need to.

HORSEBACK will not appeal to everyone. It’s an extremely slow burn, even next to its progressive anthem-constructing peers, and it will instantly flop with anyone addicted to adrenaline-soaked radio metal. But those with patience will discover something purely original in HORSEBACK. Judging the album itself, however, isn’t as cut and dry. The immense length of the collection and the very broad song construction can make the entire album sound over indulgent and too long to handle. Once again, it’s an album that not only doesn’t demand active listening, but is best to avoid that. It can’t be recommended as a record where you’ll get lost in every second of every track. But it clicks distantly and effectively. For anyone with a penchant for musical journeys (albeit long ones), you’ll find this rarities collection to hold some wonderful enjoyment. Original and chock full of content, A Plague of Knowing won’t make any new fans, but will secure the reverence of anyone already familiar with HORSEBACK.

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Time Enough At Last – The Custodian’s Quiet Storm of Prog

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The Custodian’s debut album, Necessary Wasted Time is a very dismantled album. It’s not so much in the fact that it’s “broken,” but more in the fact that it’s divided upon first listen. The band’s reverence for so many different genres makes the album feel just as separated from itself; the focus isn’t clear once you start listening. However, Necessary Wasted Time is something that gradually comes together after you give it time. Like a tree from a seed, it grows from humble and uncertain beginnings into something that can rival even the mighty forests themselves. In a crowded progressive rock circuit, it takes more than polyrhythmic drum fills and intricate guitar solos to stand out, but The Custodian have successfully made one of the slowest, but most enjoyable burns so far this year.

The Custodian twist around the expectations of a progressive band; you won’t find too many Dream Theater-esque riffs and Messhugah-style drumming patterns. Instead, the band focuses on a subdued use of acoustic guitars and synths, similar to the style of spacey indie darlings Radiohead. Aside from some minor syncopated drum patterns, this isn’t a very heavy album at all. Necessary Wasted Time doesn’t march into the stormy unknown; instead, it sits upon the sea shore, staring into the distant and turbulent sea. It’s not so much a timid or nervous record; there’s a strong confidence in The Custodian’s sound.

The mastermind behind The Custodian, former Xerath vocalist Richard Thomson considers his new band’s sound to take bits and pieces from a number of different musical eras, not limiting himself to prog rock alone. It’s very hard to do this, mostly because the different genres blend together messily. Fortunately, The Custodian avoid this hazard; the music on Necessary Wasted Time is ethereal and otherworldly, but it also knows when to bring on the shred. Thomson’s vocal style is part A Perfect Circle-era Maynard James Keenan, part Alter Bridge-era Myles Kennedy. His range mostly stays on the softer, more serene side like in “The Sun Is God”, but songs like “Persona” let the vocalist disperse into something downright ascendant. Despite these many, MANY influences ranging from spacey alternative to 70’s prog to modern power metal, The Custodian do make strides in defining themselves (though what they define themselves as is extremely ambiguous).

“Other People’s Lives” captures that softer and more intimate sound that Thomson aims to achieve. But beneath groovy rhythms and lighter synths, lead guitarist Owain Williams shreds some tight solos, many of which follow acoustic guitarist Nariman Poushin’s forward position. It’s very atmospheric and well-dimensioned, taking the composition patterns of prog metal bands like Between the Buried and Me. The intricacies in the songwriting shine brilliantly on songs like the surprisingly heavy “Things We Tell Ourselves.” The only significant flaw on Necessary Wasted Time is that while the almost indulgent instrumental sections are brilliantly crafted, they don’t differ too much from each other. While extensive guitar solos and multiple passages might keep your typical prog metal fan interested, The Custodian don’t rely on that sense of massive scope and bombastic epicness. It’s a steady story, but ultimately, it feels stronger than the sum of its parts. Necessary Wasted Time is an album best heard in its entirety instead of in its lesser pieces.

Necessary Wasted Time emphasizes its progressive nature over its rock nature, which obviously won’t make too many fans in the headbanging community. However, The Custodian don’t conform to the prog metal template that’s been passed around for the last decade or so. The band is an anomaly in the circuit of progressive rock and metal, one that emphasizes atmosphere and ambiance more than any other band you’ll hear this year. It’s very hard to classify a band like this, but one thing’s for sure: this is a band you’ll definitely want to hear more from in the coming months.

 

THE CUSTODIAN has teamed up with Bloody Disgusting for an exclusive premiere of the video for “Stop Talking”.  The video can be streamed HERE.

Peaceful Prog – Tesseract’s Atmospheric Altered State

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Progressive metal has taken many different forms over the years. While Dream Theater was mixing 80’s thrash with King Crimson-esque arrangements, Tool was taking sludge metal and adding incredibly intricate rhythm patterns. Nowadays, prog metal isn’t as nuanced as it was in the 90’s, but that hasn’t stopped bands like Britain’s Tesseract from pushing the genre forward. Ten years and six vocalists later, Tesseract release their sophomore studio album, Altered State, a mix of polyrhythmic beats and ephemeral soundscapes that might not set the world on fire, but still demonstrates what the progressive metal genre has up its sleeve.

Altered State is the first full release with new vocalist Ashe O’Hara, who replaced the band’s fifth vocalist, Elliot Coleman, after the band’s previous release, the Perspective EP. O’Hara’s voice isn’t what many have come to expect from a metal band. In stark contrast to the growls of Tommy Giles Rogers of Between the Buried and Me or the psalmic hums of Tool’s Maynard James Keenan, O’Hara’s melodic resonance is more akin to Kyo of Japanese metal band Dir en Grey. It’s not a high wail or a baritone bellow, instead walking the line between ascendant and smooth. O’Hara’s vocal style also distinguishes itself from former Tesseract vocalist Daniel Tompkins (who sang on the first Tesseract studio album, One), where harsher and rougher vocals appeared alongside clean melodies. O’Hara’s voice is a fine specimen that cools the burn that many other prog metal vocalists have prided themselves on.

Altered State offers ten tracks divided into four groups, with each group representing a different stage of change the band has undergone since their beginning. Considering that Tesseract has gone through multiple vocalist changes since their inception in 2003, this theme of change is clearly something of significant value to the band. The theme is one rich with ideas, though Altered State doesn’t do as much with it as expected. A major factor in a successful prog metal outing involves extended demonstrations of musicianship and creativity, and while Tesseract definitely deliver on the former, the creative element starts to wane by the last third of the album. The less successful prog metal albums usually sound pretentious, suffering from a longevity that outstays its welcome by the end. While Tesseract don’t overdo it too much on Altered State, it can be pretty difficult to distinguish one song from another. There are a few solid hooks (such as the Of Mind track “Nocturne”) but Tesseract’s atmospheric resonance is what drives Altered State both into realms of the epic and the slightly over-lasting.

Tesseract’s mastery of atmosphere is especially apparent with some great musicianship that, while not of the highest caliber when compared to bands like Between the Buried and Me, make for some wonderful songs that demonstrate a strong skill with their respective instruments. A healthy mix of rhythm and melody contribute to some memorable prog metal songs as well. Tesseract have taken the route of Messhugah when it comes to rhythm, as they’ve adopted the “djent” rhythmic design coined by Messhugah guitarist Fredrik Thordendal. The djent trappings are especially alive in the Of Energy track “Singularity”, an intricate polyrhythmic composition that takes the Messhugah style and adds a clean, atmospheric polish. The moments of innovation may be brief, but make a lasting impression. The use of a saxophone solo by Chris Barretto during the Of Reality track “Calabi-Yau” is brilliantly reminiscent of a King Crimson jam, just heavier and even more epic. While it would’ve been better to see more of these crazy breaks from tradition, Tesseract have taken solid steps forward for both themselves and the modern prog metal field.

Tesseract’s second studio album may not reach the prog metal stratosphere, but Altered State’s defining element of atmosphere mixed with rhythm is something special for the genre. These UK brainiacs prove their reverence for their predecessors, but ambitiously mix their influences together into a prog metal brew well worth their fanbase. The riffs aren’t the focus here; it’s the vibes produced by the low-tone atmosphere that make Tesseract an exceptional progressive band, but by introducing that “djent” rhythm, it becomes something beyond anything they’ve made before. Tesseract don’t abandon the prog metal traditions of intricate arrangements, but Altered State still keeps those fundamentals close to heart. Tesseract have proven that they want to change the prog metal world, and while their second LP isn’t an earthshattering album, it still is a solid listen that is bound to earn them some serious cred here in the States.

Altered State is streaming in full on the Century Media YouTube Channel HERE.

TESSERACT has released a series of trailers as well. They can be viewed below.

 

The band’s first trailer release can be view here: http://youtu.be/RIysXnFSEdo

Their second trailer here: http://youtu.be/jxE0SZK5y3A

Their third trailer here:http://youtu.be/z-QmAdI7YDk

Their final trailer here http://youtu.be/7QDQWhusH88

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