Aisles – Hawaii

Aisles Hawaii Album cover ghostcultmag

It was in 2013 and across the next couple of years that Chilean proggers Aisles would all of a sudden hit the radars of the wider Prog community with an impact with their third album 4:45am (Presagio Records); a splendid release which showed particular homage to Rush amongst other prog greats. That it did so without aping too much and bringing in their own identity showed that they were ones to really watch for. Now, with latest effort, the double-sided Hawaii(Presagio Records), that potential proves more than realised.

With a concept which depicts the establishment of space colonies after the loss and destruction of Earth, and the exploration of new artistry of this future time; Hawaii showcases a much richer soundscape which, when digging deeper, reveals more contemporary influences and wider directions than on previous releases.

The familiarity of Rush and Van Der Graaf Generator sit alongside the at times melancholic likes of Steven Wilson and the otherworldly air of Sound Of Contact and even the uplifting but brooding of Riverside. Once again though, rather than a cocktail of strong and maybe polarising influences; Hawaii is a bold and unique experience with a sound which is wholly theirs. Sebastián Vergara’s voice proves very distinctive and versatile, perfectly complimenting the album’s various moods; emphasised further with the smooth guitar work of Rodrigo Sepúlveda and Germán Vergara. A rich palette and layering and atmosphere makes for newly discovered nuances with various listens and matches up with the explorative story arc.

With a fast growing audience since the release of their third album, Aisles have backed up an increased interest with their boldest, packed and strongest album to date. As a long player it of course will prove time-consuming, but Hawaii proves a compelling and effortless listen otherwise and should prove one of the biggest surprises for many people this year. An essential listen for anyone partial to the ways of prog.



The Contortionist – Language



There must be a written rule in the official guide to playing in a Tech/Progressive metal band: “Must suddenly lose and replace your vocalist.” Indianapolis’ own prog magicians The Contortionist are the latest to fall to the vocalist trapdoor with Jonathan Carpenter leaving the fold. The follow up rule must surely state that the replacement is considered a better build than the previous (until they eventually depart as well). Well in the case of new vocalist Mike Lessard (Last Chance To Reason), that sentiment rings very apt.

Starting off as lot more ferocious prospect on their debut full length Exoplanet, The Contortionist have morphed and adapted into something a lot more beautiful and thought provoking. Language (eOne) in fact shows a much greater maturity in songwriting with a rich cauldron of inspiration. Opening with the hypnotic passage ‘The Source’, it creates an air of ambience and weightlessness before moving into a drifting variety of Djent reminiscent of DispersE. From here it moves from jazz tinged randomness through splatterings of heaviness back to softer moments, all managing to flow with cohesion.

The real show stealing performance however comes from Lessard who delivers a tremendous feat of versatility, managing to acclimatize to each and every style from his trance like delicate notes when the music is at its most frail to a fierce bark at its most aggressive, and all with superb technique.

Yes, The Contortionist may have fallen to the Tech Metal vocalist issue that makes Spinal Tap look secure with drummers; but here the change has only elevated them further. Language should prove a real benchmark for progressive metal in terms of its limitless capabilities and should appeal to both fans of tech metal, and the likes of Sound Of Contact and the likes of Riverside.

This is one special band.


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Sound Of Contact – Dimensionaut

Sound-of-Contact-Dimensionaut-Cover-300x300 Without paying too much attention to the fact that Sound Of Contact’s lead singer is the son of Phil Collins, Simon Collins’ progressive rock act more than fills the void left by certain prog rock bands disbanding and reforming under peculiar guises.Continue reading