The Astral Cadence – Paradigm

Progressive metal is an ever-crowded field. What is progressive can vary depending on whom is listening and certainly by which band is playing. The virtuosity and creativity of the genre certainly has its fanatics and in order to stand out from the pack, you have to really bring it. New York City’s instrumental maestros The Astral Cadence have spent several years between wood-shedding at the studio and performing live to make a name for themselves in the scene and now their hard work has paid off with their self-released debut, Paradigm. Continue reading

Korn Bassist Fieldy To Release Solo Jazz Album In November

Reginald “Fieldy” Arvizu, internationally known as the bassist and co-founder of Korn will release his long-awaited jazz fusion album titled Bassically this November 17. The album will have 17 tracks and be a departure from rap-metal some of his other projects outside of Korn have featured. Continue reading

Chon – Homey

With the release of their début full-length album Grow (Sumerian) in 2015, Californian’s Chon found themselves standing out from a peer group they were arguably unfairly lumped in. Perhaps due to the Sumerian Records ties, but their début saw them linked to the contemporary Tech/Metalcore scene despite their sound being more technical, but smooth jazz with little to no signs of metal whatsoever. If such pigeonholing was unfair back then, on new album Homey (Sumerian), any comparisons to the like would prove practically absurd. Continue reading

Nova Collective – The Further Side

Nova Collective offer quite a dream meeting of minds in the world of Prog, and have been a hugely anticipated entity since their inception reveal a couple of years ago. Helmed by Between The Buried & Me bassist Dan Briggs and Haken guitarist Richard Henshall, the instrumental project was formed out of Briggs’ admiration for Haken’s then creative apex The Mountain (InsideOut), which (long story short), culminated in the sharing of musical ideas between the two and an eventual collaboration. Continue reading

Cynic – Uroboric Forms, The Complete Demo Collection


In 2017 the landscape of metal is still reveling and rich in the almost unlevelled influence of Cynic. From their début album Focus (Roadrunner), which paved a road for progressive death metal with its complexity and its jazz influences, they returned from hiatus in 2008 to a scene virtually of their own creation and have continued to prove themselves as true kings of the progressive metal and tech metal genres that came in their wake. With Sean Reinert and Paul Masvidal the continuous pairing behind Cynic, their legacy to this day sees them as one of the most revered bands of the genre. Continue reading

Animals As Leaders – The Madness Of Many


People tend to think and listen along genre lines. They tell themselves “I enjoy band X, so bands like band X will also be up my alley.” Most of the time, that is a sound way to go, and a good stepping off point in this fast food music culture where we consume a streaming track at a time. Then there is a band like Animals As Leaders. Whether you have never been into the band or bands of this ilk, or have been in deep since ‘CAFO’, AAL is a band that takes all comers by surprise and pays off like a strong drink after a particularly rough week at the office. Continue reading

Ramon Ortiz – Portal

Ramon Ortiz PORTAL CD cover 2015

Being stuck between three cultures is interesting, although also difficult at times. The metal and rock worlds always draw me back in but so do my Boricua roots so it really shouldn’t have been any surprise that I became emotional over a recording of Coquis singing. Like the saying goes; la sangre llama.

Today’s review is brought to you by the letter R, as in, Ramon Ortiz and his second album, Portal (Self-Released). Taking a look at the title track, ‘Portal’, has some groovy moments with a lot of weedly, weedly, woo. The chorus sounds like something that could have been featured in an action cartoon from the 80’s. I believe that it would be one that I would look back on with fondness.

At twelve and a half minutes long, closing track ‘Yukiyu II’ is a beautiful mix progressive metal elements with Spanish guitar and touches of Latin percussion. This is also one of the songs where you can actually make out the bass in the background every once in a while. The downside is that this eventually turns into your standard progressive metal track around the eight minute mark. It makes a slight recovery once you get to ten minutes before dropping off again soon after.

It may not be salsa or merengue but then again, Puerto Rico has always been a melting pot of cultures and music and Ramon is a great example of what can come out of it. I would have liked to have heard more Latin influences but maybe we get enough of that when Ramon’s running around with Puya. Personally, the albums highlights for me were the use of Spanish guitars. I may be biased, but I prefer Ortiz’s fusion style and this record has a bit too much of a general progressive metal record vibe to it. I was hoping for some more experimentation and expansion.