Odds & Ends – July 12, 2021

Band: BaK | Album:Crater | Genre: Progressive rock, Progressive metal | Bandcamp

BaK is a bombastic Australian act which blends the sound of acts like Pain of Salvation and Dream Theater with Middle Eastern instrumentation and rhythms. The closest parallel to BaK is probably the Tunisian power metal act Myrath, though some of the weaker moments on this EP do remind me of Grorr. The integration of those more exotic influences is done better than most acts who attempt similar genre fusions, but it’s still really tough to not come off as corny.

Score: 71/100

Artist: Christian Cosentino | Album: Lawn | Genre: Progressive metal | Bandcamp

This proggy atmospheric black metal album makes extensive use of lush, programmed orchestration. Many parts of this record feature piano as a co-lead instrument alongside guitar, and strings are almost always present. Normally I’m not the biggest fan of this type of arrangement, but I credit the success here to the fact that he went in a more atmospheric direction, instead of something more traditionally proggy, technical, and overblown.

Score: 81/100

Continue reading “Odds & Ends – July 12, 2021”

Album Review: Halcyon Reign – The Voyage

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Band: Halcyon Reign | Album: The Voyage | Genre: Progressive metal | Year: 2019

From: Sydney, Australia | Label: Independent

For fans of: Mastodon, Opeth, Dream Theater

Buy: Bandcamp | Amazon | Apple Music

Halcyon Reign are a trio hailing from Sydney that play a brand of progressive metal which borrows heavily from Mastodon’s most-acclaimed era. It’s sludgy yet melodic, complex yet accessible, and a successful album overall. However, some of the Mastodon influence can be a bit on-the-nose. The most egregious example is the album artwork. Mastodon’s Leviathan, a retelling of Moby-Dick, features striking artwork of the white whale and the Pequod. Similarly, The Voyage—while not based on Moby-Dick, as far I can tell—features a monstrous white whale charging at a ship.

Moving past the artwork, though, The Voyage stands on its own as a strong, enjoyable album. Many riffs are rooted in sludge metal, but the band incorporate other influences, including jazz and folk, to create smart contrasts and interesting textures. Continue reading “Album Review: Halcyon Reign – The Voyage”

Album Review: Numidia – Numidia

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Band: Numidia | Album: NumidiaYear: 2019 | Genre: Psychedelic rock, Progressive rock, Blues rock

From: Sydney, Australia | Label: Nasoni Records

For fans of: Elder, Erkin Koray, Quiet Child, Pink Floyd, North African blues

Buy: Bandcamp | Amazon | Apple Music

There seems to be a correlation between regions that are mostly desert and the production of psychedelic blues. The American Southwest has a fertile scene, and the Berber peoples of the Maghreb and Sahel have given birth to a unique fusion of blues, blues-rock, and their own native traditions. Maybe it’s something about the vast stretches of empty land that leads to this particular brand of earthy, mantra-like rock music. It would make sense, then, that Australia would have some contributions to this sound.

Numidia are a quintet hailing from Sydney (which, notably, is wetter than the Pacific Northwest or the British Isles) that plays a brand of meditative, desert-tinged blues rock with the sensibilities and stylings of classic 1970s progressive rock acts blended in. Explicit overtures are made toward Middle Eastern and North African music as well. Continue reading “Album Review: Numidia – Numidia”