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.
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.
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.
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.
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.