Prog Death Thursday
Good news, prog nerds! We’ve got some new tunes for you to jam next time you’ve been stuffed into a locker. Check out the newest from Zygoma and Perihelion Ship.
But first, some news for all the cool kids:
- Deceptionist have a new song streaming from their upcoming album, Initializing Irreversible Process. It’s nothing particularly groundbreaking, but holy hell is it fast. Look for the full album on June 17th via Unique Leader.
- On the closer-to-regular-death-metal end of the spectrum, Blood Red Throne also have a new song out, called “Revocation of Humankind.” Again, nothing really new here, but solid nonetheless. Union of Flesh and Machine will be out on Spinefarm Records on July 16th.
- Lost Soul is all but broken up; guitarist Marek Gołaś has left the band. On top of that, guitarist/vocalist Jacek Grecki has given Damian Czajkowski and Jonathan Garofoli the axe, citing “logistic problems, health problems and personal reasons.” It sounds like Grecki intends to continue the band, but it’s hard to say how much this will impact their sound.
- Aethere have a new song up. No word on when the full album will be out, but you can check out “Bloom” right here.
- Do you find yourself pining for the Decapitated of yore? Fear not; Involuntary Convulsion has you covered. You can listen to their debut EP, Tempus Edax Rerums, right here.
- Oh shit, another debut! Defenestrator has their first album up on Bandcamp for your listening pleasure. I missed this one when it came out a few weeks ago, so help me rectify that mistake and give it a spin.
- Today on “I Don’t Know How To Feel About This,” CB Murdoc has released a song from their upcoming album. On one hand, there are some really cool proggy parts and some solid riffs on this song. On the other, the bass sounds like gurgling anus. Make of that what you will.
- Built of equal parts weird and awesome, Cyborg Octopus are releasing their first album this Friday. You can check out their delightful videos in the meantime, and I recommend you listen to them all; none of their songs sound the same.
The last couple Opeth albums have been just a bit divisive. While some have praised them for their modern take on 70’s prog rock, others have condemned them for eschewing the band’s roots in favor of writing music that sounds like a pile of rotten butts. I’m personally of the opinion that claiming extreme metal is dead and going on to write elevator music with a strong resemblance to bands that are nearly 50 years past their prime is a wee bit hypocritical, but I digress. The point is that the Opeth of days passed is gone forever; even if Akerfeldt pulls his head out of his ass someday, they’re never coming back. That’s just not what he wants to write anymore, and I doubt anything is going to change that. The lack of that sound has left a gaping hole in many a metalhead’s heart, and there’s not a whole lot out there that really fills it.
Enter Perihelion Ship. This Finnish quartet has taken the style that began to emerge on Ghost Reveries and developed it further, experimenting with the formula and tweaking it to the point where they’ve dominated it. All the elements are here; big head-bobbing chords that ride the beat, a sea of accompanying Hammond organ and Mellotron, and starkly contrasting vocal styles. It’s all done so well that it doesn’t feel like imitation or homage; though the band is new, it sounds like they’ve been honing their sound for many years.
A Rare Thunderstorm in Spring strikes out in some surprisingly adventurous directions, too. Most immediately apparent is vocalist Andreas Hammer’s singing; he has a Ross Jennings quality to his voice, but with a bit more power, and he utilizes his range quite well. The clean sections on the album have their own sound altogether, with some brilliant moments, particularly on “Fool of White Antlers.” The title track, a 21-minute epic, never drags despite its length and covers a lot of musical ground. There are somber clean moments, driving riffs, and a particularly crushing melody at the halfway point. On the whole, this is a very strong debut, covering sounds both new and old with nary a misstep.
Hoo, boy. Strap yourselves in, folks; this is about to to get weird. I pride myself on my ability to hand out stupid made-up subgenres to bands that defy conventional categorization, but Zygoma has me stumped. A lot of it is weird downtuned prog-death, but there’s a bit of math rock in there too, and… was that a little bit of Periphery I just heard there? Oh, now we’ve got this post-metal thing happening, and it goes into a sludgy bit- wait, did Moon Tooth just drop into the studio for a minute there? Was that a reggae breakdown? I’m so confused.
I think I’ve come up with an easy way to replicate their style(s?), at least. You get Schizoid Lloyd, BTBAM, Converge, and Black Crown Initiate together into a big arena. Then you have them fight. The last five standing form a new band, but each member draws from only their originating band’s influences, and they all have to alternate riffs. No single person writes a whole song. Hell, no single person writes anything lasting longer than a minute. There you go; science.
In all seriousness, The Highest Court is an incredible mixture of eclectic styles that come together in a marvelous fashion. It’s something that sounds like it really shouldn’t work on paper, but Zygoma pulls it off. The sudden tonal shifts and myriad off-the-wall moments keep it all fresh and interesting, but it never feels gimmicky or tiring. It takes a lot of talent and hard work to achieve this level of versatility and cohesion, and The Highest Court stands as a testament to that.
Perihelion Ship and Zygoma can each be found at their respective Facebook and Bandcamp pages. If you like what you heard, swing by and make toilet sounds at them and spend some cash; you won’t regret it. Until next time,
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