Dan “Chewy” Mongrain of Voivod on The “Ultraman” EP, Touring with Opeth, and Prog


 

We chatted late in 2022 with Dan “Chewy” Mongrain of Voivod! The band had a tremendous year in 2022, with a full-length release “Synchro Anarchy” and a new EP “Ultraman” as well. The band also toured with Opeth as well as their own headline dates. We discussed the “Ultraman” project, his love for the series, his first-ever lead vocal performance, his appreciation of Japanese fans, some music he has been digging in 2022 such as Child Bite, and Pat Metheny, and future plans for the band!

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EP REVIEW: Voivod – Ultraman


 

Anyone familiar with progressive thrashers Voivod will be fully aware of the Canadian quartet’s leanings towards the surreal and strange world of science fiction, so the Ultraman EP (Century Media Records), a short-form tribute to cult Japanese TV icon Ultraman, should really come as no surprise.

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ALBUM REVIEW: Faith In Jane – Axe To Oak


 

Since forming in 2008, Thurmont, Maryland trio Faith In Jane has racked up an astounding eight releases of which Axe To Oak (Grimoire) is the latest. Quite impressive when you consider it takes a band such as Guns ‘N’ Roses decades to put out new music. The band is comprised of Dan Mize – guitar/vocals, Brendan Winston – bass, and Alex Llewellyn on drums.

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CONCERT REVIEW: VOLA – Voyager – Four Stroke Baron Live at Rebellion


VOLA playing at Rebellion Manchester Credit: Rich Price

Opening up tonight were Nevada three-piece Four Stroke Baron, a band who are difficult to classify. Heavy slabs of groove-laden prog smash funkily across a packed audience. The set is marred only by the fact that in a couple of songs the singer notably loses his voice and the band without missing a beat goes on to deliver their first instrumental set from the dark smoke-laden stage of Rebellion and its notoriously bad lighting. Handling an awkward situation very well indeed they still delivered a solid and enjoyable set that had the audience’s heads bobbing along in time.

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ALBUM REVIEW: Stake – Love, Death and Decay


 

The concepts and the all too real, bleak experiences of mental hardships and loss of loved ones will be well known to many people and additionally to many people we know. For Stake, these have been the fuel for the band since their inception (previously under the Steak Number Eight moniker), a vehicle for vocalist/guitarist Brent Vanneste’s grief and anxiety.

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ALBUM REVIEW: A-Z – A-Z


From the opening strains of guitar riffage, I feel like I’ve been transported back to my teenage years (the eighties / early nineties). Then I’m like, is that a cowbell? Surely not? But ZOMG, I’m having flashbacks. The hair. The jeans. My Samik bass. By two minutes in, I’m singing the refrain from ‘Trial By Fire’. This is an instant in the feelings. Continue reading


ALBUM REVIEW: Ed Wynne – Tumbling Through The Floativerse


Ed Wynne is best known as the founder and only consistent member of Ozric Tentacles. An emblematic group within the nineties hippy revival scene who have continued to endure, the Ozrics fuse instrumental prog rock with psychedelic dance music. I discovered them in the early 2000s at a time when I was starting to seek out a more diverse listening experience encompassing more than just the seventies hard rock I had, by then, already grown somewhat tired of, and they served as a bridge into the multifaceted world of electronic music.Continue reading


ALBUM REVIEW: Greylotus – Dawnfall


Trying to crack the shell that is Greylotus is like the struggle of explaining the inner workings of the Holy Roman Empire in three sentences.Continue reading


ALBUM REVIEW: Porcupine Tree – Closure – Continuation


“Progressive rock” is a term that can encompass a wide variety of sounds. At one point or another in their 35-year history, Porcupine Tree — the brainchild of Steven Wilson — have probably touched upon most of these. Having put out several albums of electronica-infused psychedelic space rock since their formation in 1987, the band reached a peak of critical and commercial success in the 2000s with the metal-influenced experimental songcraft exemplified by In Absentia and Fear of a Blank Planet. By the start of 2011, however, Porcupine Tree appeared to be no more, with Wilson announcing a hiatus to focus on his solo career; he stated as recently as 2018 that getting the band back together “would seem like a terribly backward step”.

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ALBUM REVIEW: Coheed & Cambria – Vaxis II: A Window Of The Waking Mind


After a brief hiatus from the overarching conceptual narrative that their previous catalogue followed, 2018’s Vaxis- Act 1: Unheavenly Creatures saw Coheed & Cambria make a welcome return to The Armory Wars saga, commencing a new tale within the narrative, one to be told across a five-album span. A span that follows the titular and, currently, little-known character Vaxis, who at the point of Act 1 is unborn but an almost guiding hand to his parents Nia (Sister Spider) and Nostrand (Creature) in their escape. A welcome return with glorious results which means anticipation is rife again for the follow-up as the narrative continues on Vaxis II: A Window Of The Waking Mind (Roadrunner). Where Act 1 largely comprised of deceptively sprawling songs and hit a near eighty-minute mark, Vaxis II’s repertoire is generally more succinct with songs around the three-to-four-minute mark. Arguably a more commercial-friendly effort, that thought belies the still present depth within even shorter songs and the areas of innovation throughout which still feels unmistakably in character for the band, despite clear differences to its predecessor.

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