If you still haven’t reconciled the fact that Opeth moved away from death metal years ago – that these days they owe more to the likes of Camel and Gentle Giant than to Morbid Angel– then you might as well stop reading now. Uncross your fingers and stay your optimism for an unlikely return to roaring brutality because the Opeth prog train just keeps on rolling and shows no signs of slowing down. However, for those of you happy with the Swedish progsters’ change of direction almost a decade ago, climb back on board, take a window seat and relax. Continue reading →
Forever moving to the beat of their own drum, progressive metallers Between The Buried & Me have very rarely done anything in a conventional manner. Always renowned for their madcap blend of contrasting styles and structures, a previous announcement this year saw them choose to release their latest effort, Automata (Sumerian) as a double, split album individually released throughout the year. With Automata I seeing the light of day back in March, it was expected to have set the tone for its companion piece, Automata II; but once again, BTBAM do things their own way. Continue reading →
Duende, the Metal Blade début from progressive metallers The Great Discordwas released this week. As much as the album is a tight and technical metal album, the music has a spirit that is steeped in the history of prog rock. We asked singer Fia Kempe and drummer Aksel Holmgren what was their singular favorite albums in classic prog history. After hearing the bands’ music their answers make perfect sense:
Fia: “I was thinking about this the other day, because we have gotten this question before and you always… always when you get the question you think “Fuck! What am I going to answer?” (laughs) Because there are too many great progressive records out there. If I had to say one album I would say Selling England By The Pound by Genesis, it’s just an amazing progressive rock album which stuck. That opened a whole new world for me. Actually it opened my entire musical world, I guess. I come from a very musical family. I have grown up with these kind of old prog rock bands like Genesis, and Gentle Giant, King Crimson and Jethro Tull. So Selling England By The Pound is an album that really means a lot to me, and also one album that I have so many emotional connections to and definitely inspired me as to why we make the music we make today. So thanks Genesis for that!”
Aksel: “I think it’s probably going to be King Crimson: In The Court Of The Crimson King. I think that album is the one that opened up my eyes to the playfulness of the genre. I heard it the first time when I wasn’t even 10 years old. My dad had it on vinyl and I was listening to it in the background. And I heard it and I asked him “Dad what’s this weird music? And my father said “Oh this is King Crimson. It’s 70s music, you wouldn’t understand.” (laughs) Something like that basically. I was like “Holy shit, I have to listen back to this!” And especially In the Court of the Crimson King and I Talk to the Wind, they just blew my mind! The melodic passages and the way they construct songs, it becomes much more of a story way more than just a 3 minute song. It always you to go on a musical adventure that is so much more intricate than just radio music. That has always been one of the main catch points for me. If its progressive and that type of progressive music, it’s usually something that catches my attention for such a long period of time. It drags me on a long, almost spiritual journey. That’s something that no other musical genre can do for me; to capture my attention, except for Jazz in some ways. Progressive music, it would have to be King Crimson. I love them! It’s ridiculous! (laughs)”
It seems like an eternity ago when Brit Prog-Metallers Aeon Zen first commanded attention as fast risers and one to watch. A couple of well received releases and a much coveted European trek supporting modern progfather Devin Townsend has certainly proven them to not be sitting on their laurels but there has been the feeling that something major is still to come of them. New album Ephemera (Independent/self-released) should be just that album.
In hindsight, all their previous works are merely pointers as to what Rich Hinks’ outfit are capable of. Ephemera pushes the band’s heavier side and its obvious prog rock influences to much further lengths than previous culminating in the bands most ferocious yet experimental album to date.
Real plaudits have to go to the vocal performances of both Hinks and frontman Andi Kravljaca who together display a huge dynamic range between the high, power metal like wails found opening ‘Soul Machine’ to harsh growls and even the quirky delivery on ‘Life?’
The vocal diversity sits well as the album veers from the huge pomp of tech metal tinged openers ‘The Entity’ and ‘Soul Machine’, the whimsy of ‘Life?’ and melodic death metal passages. In fact the plethora of ideas at play here is quite staggering. From the odd Gentle Giant reminiscent vocal play to the piano peppering in death metal orientated ‘Remembrance’; Ephemera is full of surprises and unexpected tangents which still remains a completely cohesive piece.
Since their inception to the world, Aeon Zen have always been threatening to be a formidable force in modern progressive metal and Ephemera is the perfect realization of this potential. Offering a combination of Scar Symmetry and The Mountain (InsideOut) period Haken, Ephemera offers enough for the tech metal crowd with and the most stubborn of Prog fans.