Album Review: In Mourning – Garden of Storms

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Band: In Mourning | Album: Garden of Storms | Genre: Melodic death metal, Progressive metal | Year: 2019

From: Falun, Sweden | Label: Agonia Regords

For fans of: Edge of Sanity, Opeth, Agalloch

Buy: Bandcamp | Amazon | Apple Music

In Mourning are a Swedish metal band who play in a style very similar to that of their fellow countrymen, Opeth; but they’re distinct enough to avoid the label of “Opeth clone,” something for which the current prog-metal scene does not want. Opeth’s classic material is some of the best progressive metal ever recorded, and there’s been a yawning, Opeth-shaped hole in the scene ever since they switched to playing unimpressive, unimaginative retro-prog.

In Mourning have been around for nearly two decades, giving them plenty of time to develop their own unique flourishes within the framework of progressive melodic death metal. Garden of Storms is their fifth full-length release and a noticeable step up in quality over 2016’s Afterglow. The songwriting is strong, and there is a smart degree of interplay between distorted and clean sections. Continue reading “Album Review: In Mourning – Garden of Storms”

Odds & Ends – July 11, 2019

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Odds & Ends is a recurring column where I cover short releases and albums I wasn’t able to commit enough time to for a full-length review.

custBand: Custard Flux | Album: Echo | Genre: Psychedelic rock, folk rock | Bandcamp

Custard Flux has a neat little gimmick. With the exception of one electric guitar solo, all instrumentation is acoustic. This band’s particular blend of psychedelic pop and folk rock with progressive leanings results in something unique. Despite being almost all acoustic, the music is bombastic and impactful, and there’s a nice mix of the straightforward and the weird.

Score: 80/100 Continue reading “Odds & Ends – July 11, 2019”

Odds & Ends – June 20, 2019

TEE odds and ends logo

Odds and Ends is a segment where I do brief reviews of albums I either didn’t prioritize for longer-form reviews, or ones for which I don’t have that much to say.

a1413993540_10Band: BLASTAR | Album: Construct | Genre: Progressive rock, Jam band | Bandcamp

I really loved BLASTAR’s debut album, so I was very excited when I saw them announce their latest release. On Construct, they’ve opted to go fully instrumental. The music is cosmic and high-energy, and the overall sound has shifted more in the direction of jam bands like Aqueous or Umphrey’s McGee, with jazz and folk tones. As I’ve frequently said, it can be tough to make an instrumental album consistently engaging, but this does a good job of holding the listener’s attention. That’s not to say it doesn’t have faults, but it’s enjoyable on the whole.

Score: 77/100 Continue reading “Odds & Ends – June 20, 2019”

Album Review: Piah Mater – The Wandering Daughter

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Band: Piah Mater | Album: The Wandering Daughter | Year: 2018 | Genre: Progressive metal, Progressive rock, Death Metal

From: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil | Label: Code 666

For fans of: Opeth, Riverside, Porcupine Tree/Steven Wilson

Buy: Bandcamp | Amazon | Apple Music

Piah Mater are a Brazilian trio performing a style of progressive death metal highly reminiscent of Opeth’s classic material. That’s not an easy sound to execute, but these guys pull it off excellently. Had Mikael Åkerfeldt and his crew put this out, this would be hailed as Opeth’s best album since Watershed.

After the brief, idyllic opener, growls and aggressive, chugging death metal riffs take the spotlight and drive “Solace in Oblivion” forward. As is to be expected of a band so heavily drawing from Opeth’s sound, these extended pieces have frequent breaks of quiet jazz guitar and moments of soaring clean vocals. Many of the softer moments would not feel out of place on a Camel album. The narration on this song is pretty corny, but it’s a minor issue overall. Continue reading “Album Review: Piah Mater – The Wandering Daughter”