Odds & Ends – December 21, 2020

Artist: Andre LaFosse | Album: Karma Suppression Index | Genre: Progressive rock | Bandcamp

This instrumental album is full of twisting, groovy guitar lines and pulsing electronic rhythms. I’d recommend this album to fans of later King Crimson, especially The Power to Believe. However, despite the strengths of this album—I love the various tones LaFosse utilized, and it’s very well-produced—it does fall victim to the same pitfall as many other instrumental albums: it winds up feeling too long. Most songs don’t have a particularly clear arc or momentum, and a good groove will only carry you so far.

Score: 67/100

Band: Lascaille’s Shroud | Album: Othercosmic Divinations I | Genre: Death metal, Progressive metal | Bandcamp

Lascaille’s Shroud’s particular brand of death metal is unrelenting, with few restful moments. Coupled with the songs’ impressive runtimes, Othercosmic Divinations I is an imposing record. The music therein is strong and enjoyable, though not particularly unique. There are some inventive riffs, and the occasional synthesizer inclusion helps break up the near-constant assault of guitars.

Score: 78/100

Band: Narla | Album: Till the Weather Changes | Genre: Progressive rock, Blues rock | Bandcamp

It’s rare for a band to be overtly bluesy while also being somewhat progressive. Narla incorporates a huge swath of influences beyond just blues, psych, and prog. Post-punk, krautrock, and post-rock are all significant factors here. This album is more psychedelic blues than prog, but the diversity of sound is interesting and appreciated.

Score: 74/100

Band: The Ocean | Album: Phanerozoic II: Mesozoic | Cenozoic | Genre: Progressive metal | Bandcamp

This massive album thrives on its diverse array of sounds. There are the expected down-tuned guitars and clean complements. Brass is deployed to great textural effect, and keyboards are utilized to add gravity. The long songs on this album never feel as long as they are. The Ocean frequently demonstrate their ability to marry crushing heaviness with accessible melodicism.

Score: 84/100

Band: Witchwood | Album: Before the Winter | Genre: Progressive rock, Hard rock | Bandcamp

This is a competent, if extremely boring, retread of music that was done better half a century ago. The music on this record is very much in the vein of Jethro Tull, early Deep Purple, Uriah Heep, and other early proggy hard rock bands. There are other contemporary bands that fill this niche better—most notably Blood Ceremony. It’s unoriginal and unambitious to start with, and the execution is lackluster.

Score: 43/100

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