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 LloydBTBAMConverge, 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,

Stay Weird

Do you have a band you would like to see featured? A new release we should keep an eye on? Or maybe you want to do some writing yourself? Then email us at and make your voice heard!

(Image VIA)

  • Lacertilian

    Oh man, that Involuntary Convulsion sounds like a hybrid of Winds Of Creation-era Decap and Scrimm’s dudes in Disentomb. The bass sound is all over the shop.
    Seeing as though they’re Aussie too, maybe they’ll be on support for Disentomb next time here. I’d totally buy some mesh basketball shorts or whatever for that one too.
    Also, the horn sounding part in the intro of the third linked Cyborg Octopus track straight up made me think of the Blues Brothers/Peter Gunn theme. I didn’t get much more than 40 seconds into it though.

    • Vault Dweller

      This Aussie ‘4 hours ago’ time traveling shit is getting outta hand

  • Janitor Jim Duggan

    Here’s some news: Diamond Head is doing a US tour which is coming to my area.

    • Dubs

      That isn’t at all relevant to this article.

      • Janitor Jim Duggan

        Here’s something that is: I like the idea of prog death. I will give these bands a listen when I get home from work.

        • Dubs

          There you go.

          • Janitor Jim Duggan

            This Perihelion Ship band sounds interesting.

  • I had a Lost Soul album way back in high school. I specifically remember the drumming being phenomenal. Think it was this one here…

  • Dubs

    Sounds like Lost Soul has a case of the Haughms.

  • Eliza

    I hate to admit it, but that part about Opeth is true. They will probably never come back to their old style that made me love their music so much. Which is why is really like Perihelion Ship, they utilize elements that made Opeth so good to me, making them a worthy replacement.

    • Spear

      I’d go as far as to say Perihelion Ship could completely own that style of death metal. Opeth pioneered it, but I think PS is going to take it in a better direction.

      • Eliza

        If their debut is this good, my guess is that their follow-ups will be even better. There’s so many places they can go with this kind of sound.

      • PostBlackenedWhaleGaze

        Yep, listening to them now and I can say I’m a fan of Perihelion Ship. That little keyboard part in Misplaced Rainfall, awesome. They write a lot like Opeth true, but there are some differences, especially in the eerie keyboard parts.

        But I have to defend one of my favorite bands here. I like 60’s/70’s prog/psych/whatever you wanna call it anyway and love what Opeth is doing with it. The song ‘River’ alone should be a testament to that awesome sound. I get that hate they get, but some of it takes things a little far. You hear stories of people threatening the band and what not. That’s not cool. Don’t know where I’m going with this, just kinda giving my 2 cents.

        • Guacamole Jim

          I’m with you on both points. Perihelion Ship has got something awesome going on, and I’m on board with it. And current Opeth is different, yeah, but I dig what they’re doing.

        • Dave Vincent’s Perm

          I think more people should spew hatred towards Anathema. If someone’s gonna get incensed about a band “betraying” metal it may as well be them.

          • brokensnow

            only their new stuff is pretty good.

        • brokensnow

          Read some interviews with Mikael. He blames us for any negative response to the new music.

          • PostBlackenedWhaleGaze

            Who is us? What do you mean?

          • brokensnow

            The non fans or critics of the last 2 albums.

    • Angus McMoobieFart ’16

      I really think they should’ve just done the last two CDs under a different name. I understand that bands change and all that, but going in a direction that sounds absolutely nothing like they did before (aka, going from an innovative sound that combined three things that people normally though wouldn’t go together, to sounding like prog rock’s answer to James Blunt) requires a whole new name and a fresh start. Evil’s Toy/T.O.Y, anyone?

      • Eliza

        While I don’t dislike Opeth’s prog albums, I wished they weren’t actually Opeth albums too.

        • Angus McMoobieFart ’16

          Martin (the drummer) went on to create Soen, which is more or less a Tool tribute band. Soen isn’t bad, but *scratches my head*

          • Eliza

            I’ve never listened to Soen before, but they do kinda sound like a Tool tribute band. I’ll listen to them while eagerly awaiting that new Tool album that will definitely be released this decade.

          • Angus McMoobieFart ’16

            It’ll be released along with Time II as a box set. Sometime after the universe implodes and Keith Richards runs out of cocaine.

          • Eliza

            And that’s being the most optimistic possible.

  • Is it really prog if it’s not over 7 minutes long and doesn’t have a synth or flute solo?

  • Dave Vincent’s Perm

    Do Order From Chaos count as prog death considering they sound like Voivod from hell?

  • Dubs

    Some of the chords Perihelion Ship play remind me of Torrential Downpour.

  • Paddlin’ Rites ov Beargod

    CB Murodc? Now that’s a name I’ve not heard in a long time.

  • RustyShackleford

    How did the Toilet know I was in a proggy mood today?!?! Perihelion Ship is tight! Purchased immediately. Zygoma p cool too. Y’all done good today. Yep!

  • Dagon


  • Dave Vincent’s Perm

    Some nice, thought-provoking, artistic, tasteful and intelligent easy listening.

  • JWEG

    Progressive death: it’s when death happens a little at a time. You start out only a little bit dead, but within a short while you’re mostly dead. Though…

    • Count_Breznak

      It’s called “birth”.

  • BobLoblaw

    Syphilic with a human drummer? Sign me up. Came out March 11th apparently.

  • Guppusmaximus

    My thoughts on Opeth have been this since Peter and then Martin left:

    I don’t have any problem with Opeth ceasing to produce Death Metal. Honestly, it started to tank on Ghost Reveries anyways AND they couldn’t possibly release another album that comes close to their grand masterpiece, Blackwater Park. Obviously, the hardship of finding the talent to replace Peter & Martin in order to play the classics but, also, being open to ditching a beloved style all together is just that…a hardship. Still, I think he added to that difficulty by not searching beyond the Metal network to find seasoned modern fusion players to help him achieve his vision.With the people he did hire, I think they could have focused on another ‘Damnation’ -style album which would have satisfied the need to steer clear of DM but would have continued their interesting approach to Progressive Rock / Metal / etc. However, the recent albums they have released just sound way too ambitious for talent on board and, imho, lost sight of the cohesive ideas that used to tie their awesome brand of Death Metal together.

    Just my .02

  • Waynecro

    Goddamn, that Deceptionist song is fucking killer!

    • Count_Breznak

      58764% of your daily recommended dosage of bpm !

  • goddamnit that last Lost Soul album was so fucking good too.