Odds & Ends: December 6, 2021

Band: Devour Every Star | Album: Antiquity | Genre: Progressive metal, Trip-hop | Bandcamp

This is certainly one of the more distinctive genre fusions I’ve run across. Buzzy black metal merges with spacey instrumental hip-hop passages to forge a distinctive sound. It’s spooky and laid-back, and it’s definitely worth looking into. As a whole, it feels a little long; I think this style may be better suited to a 20-minute EP. Nonetheless, it’s quite unique, and this act shows ability beyond simply being a curiosity.

Score: 70/100

Artist: Ehsan Gelsi | Album: Ephemera | Genre: Progressive rock | Bandcamp

This instrumental piece was commissioned by the city of Melbourne to celebrate Melbourne Town Hall’s 150th anniversary, thus it prominently features the town hall’s grand organ as its primary instrument. Ephemera is grand and majestic in its harmonious marriage of reedy organ and lush, liquid synthesizers. The whole album is quite warm, and it feels midway between Mike Oldfield and Rick Wakeman. Elements of classical and electronic music are regularly incorporated, making this a surprisingly diverse record despite its limited sound palette.

Score: 80/100

Continue reading “Odds & Ends: December 6, 2021”

Album Review: Not Otherwise Specified – Deadweight

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Band: Not Otherwise Specified | Album: Deadweight | Genre: Progressive rock | Year: 2019

From: Atlanta, USA | Label: Weeping Angel Studios

For fans of: Dream Theater, Kansas, IQ, Riverside, Spock’s Beard

Buy: Bandcamp | Amazon | Apple Music

When progressive rock first emerged as a distinct genre, the United States were slow to make a sound for themselves. The Brits were the genre’s progenitors, and they largely defined its archetypes and evolution. “Anglo-prog” is an awfully broad swathe of musical styles, but it conjures up a definite set of sounds. The Italians forged a unique niche, and the French, Spaniards, and Yugoslavs had their own identifiable quirks as well, to say nothing of Krautrock.

The American sound that eventually did emerge was pioneered by bands like Kansas and Starcastle: derived from the Anglo sound but grander, more bombastic, and less subtle. Not Otherwise Specified (NOS), while unmistakably modern, draw heavily from that mid-70s American sound. Continue reading “Album Review: Not Otherwise Specified – Deadweight”