Napoleon – Epiphany

Napoleon has been making their mark in the heavy progressive music scene since 2012. In 2016 they released an anticipated debut Newborn Mind that release led to headlining tours with Counterparts and August Burns Red. The trio did not take any time off and are back with their sophomore album Epiphany (Basick Records). The album has a lot to offer—impressive techniques and profound delivery to a sound that is recognizable by the Napoleon name.   Continue reading

Calligram – Askesis

I’m not one for subgenres. I mean, I understand why they exist and how they appear to explain why Exodus sounds differently from Sleep all while still operating under the Heavy Metal umbrella, but I think we’re too preoccupied with the minutiae of the subgenres; we’re too busy defending the merits of our style against the perceived weaknesses of the others. That’s why it very refreshing to attempt to make sense of the sounds on Calligram’s Askesis (Basick). Continue reading

Sleep Token – Two EP

Sleep Token has a sound and an image that fully captures all who cross paths with even a single second of their music. This band of “mortal representations of the deity ‘Sleep’” is led by an “appointed Vessel” who literally just goes by “Vessel.” That’s right, it gets weird – but aren’t all things that are truly artistic a little bit wacky? Continue reading

BEAR- III

It was back in 2013 when Belgian mentalists BEAR really began to burst on to the radar for many. Having just signed with progressive metal champions Basick Records, the release of their second album Noumenon gained admirable plaudits, showing a band with a very direct and brutal approach to Tech Metal/Mathcore and, despite some shortcomings, plenty of future promise. It may have taken considerable time for the follow-up, but on album three; the creatively titled /// (Basick), the hibernation seems to have done absolute wonders. Continue reading

No Consequence – Vimana

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In their brief history so far, UK tech metallers No Consequence haven’t quite reached they heady heights of some of their djent peers. Despite some decent critical acclaim – especially for previous release IO (Basick) – they have been far from the top of the pile alongside the likes of TesseracT and Monuments; perhaps in part due to their lack of a genuinely formidable release that stands up to some of the genre’s greats. With their latest effort, Vimana (also Basick), it feels they are beginning to live up to their true potential.

Always managing to combine both the atmospheric, drifting sides and the sheer heaviness of the tech metal genre with great fluidity, Vimana is the realization of these two sides and the chemistry being honed. In fact, at their most visceral they are perhaps the most convincing and ferocious under the djent banner, bringing to mind the recent Murdock release when it comes to their dissident nature. Perhaps their more melodic moments are used more sparingly, and often as introductory passages; and as seductive as they prove it is a drawback that they aren’t explored further here. When they are married together more overtly, such as on the glorious “Disconnect” it really shows how they have evolved, with Kaan Tasan really showcasing his vocal talents in both arenas.

Whether or not this album will see No Consequence reach the equal footing with their peers remains to be seen, but for the first time they genuinely seem deserving to be put into that bracket. With a great reliance on their heavier side for the most part, it would be desirable to seem them explore further into their softer elements that have been done so sumptuously here. A career best for them so far and one that should bump up their profile, and it still feels that there is a whole lot more to come.

 

7.0/10

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CHRIS TIPPELL

Skyharbor – Guiding Lights

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The Skyharbor story is a real triumphant battle against the difficulties of geography if anything else. What began on an seemingly insignificant stage of computer files by guitarist Keshav Dhar resulted in a truly international affair with a completed lineup of Indian, American and British personnel. The resulting album Blinding White Noise: Illusion And Chaos (Basick Records) was very well received by critics and fans alike, and even the logistical nightmare of live shows was even managed, including a support slot to Lamb Of God in India. The achievement this band has made in a short time should not be downplayed.

Follow up album Guiding Lights (Basick) sees the (ahem) light of day after around only 20 live shows, and sees them writing as a unit rather than as scattered pieces written mostly by Dhar; and it does show. Where Blinding White Noise… at times felt mismatched and lacking in focus, Guiding Lights is all the more wholesome and cohesive throughout. Proving all the more spacey than many of their djent counterparts, Skyharbor offer a more prog friendly variant, based more on soaring melodies and expansive time frames, but still with splatterings of groove. TesseracT frontman Dan Tompkins matches the softer element perfectly with his delicate pipes, eschewing the use of growls completely.

The albums only pitfall is the somewhat taxing running time, feeling like it runs just a little too long. This aside Guiding Light shows progression in huge leaps and bounds from its predecessor, more beautifully flowing and even near ambient in part. Skyharbor already forged a reputation as a shining (sorry) presence in progressive metal, now Guiding Light is one of the brightest jewels in the tech metal crown.

 

8.0/10

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CHRIS TIPPELL

Bear – Noumenon

Noumenon_Packshot_CORRECTIt is pretty well documented that in recent times technical metal bands under the (incredibly annoying and awkward) “djent” tagline have proven hugely popular and thus very numerous; in fact they seem to be bloody everywhere. If there is one guarantee in this vastly overcrowded terrain however is that if Basick Records are behind it, it is very much worth your attention. Step forward new recruits, the simply titled Bear and their Noumenon (Basick Records) album. Continue reading