Featured

March 2019’s Featured Band is… Contrarian!

Guys! Dave’s letting me do my first featured band! How dope is that!

It’s been a minute since TMR has done a band close to home, nonetheless one that has enough material to saturate an entire month’s worth of social media posting without repetition. That being said, there aren’t a lot of bands in this area that I’m so smitten with. Not like Contrarian, anyway. And even if you’re new to TMR, I think you should know that by now. Are you sick of it yet? Because I think Contrarian are already sick of it.

But like, it’s perfect, man. Rochester’s progressive death elite are just about to release their third full length, Their Worm Never Dies on the 15th. And guys, it’s a positively phenomenal album. I seriously cannot wait for everyone else to jam this album. I think it’s impossible to be disappointed with this one, as Contrarian do not produce sub-par music. But they have certainly pushed their musical prowess to new levels with this one.

Earlier this year, guitarists Brian Mason and Jim Tasikas were kind enough to let me pick their brains about a whole mess of things, including their upcoming release, why they play progdeath to begin with, and their other musical endeavors. There’s some good stuff in there, and I absolutely encourage you to take a few minuets and check that out.

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Ahhhhh and check out this sweet feature in January’s Decibel magazine!

And on top of all that goodness, Brian and Jim have recruited a stellar live lineup for an upcoming tour run. Bassist Bill Bodily (Inhumatus), former vocalist Cody McConnell (Goemagot, ex-Abdicate) and Patrice fucking Hamelin (Gorguts, Beneath the Massacre) will be joining our Rochester natives for an outstanding tour (regardless who else is on the lineup). It’s definitely been a minute since Contrarian have played out live, so this tour won’t be one you want to miss.

You have 31 days to fall in love with this band. And if you give them some time, you will.

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Flub Signs With The Artisan Era!

Flub has now officially joined the great ranks of upcoming record label The Artisan Era.  The experimental metal band has been working on new tunes, and to sweeten the pot the band is officially signed! Once again, TAE proves its value in the metal community.  I’ve been a big fan of Alvarez’s voice since his limited stint with Alterbeast and totally impressed us at the Stamps show last summer.  Can we also give a shoutout to the most underrated and hard working drummer out there Jared from Rivers Of Nihil and a bunch of other projects? What an exquisite lineup! Flub is also playing select dates on the recently announced Inanimate Existence headliner tour featuring select appearances with  Aethereus, Waforged,   Æpoch,  and Eye Of Horus.  This tour is totally stacked featuring now 4 Artisan Era bands! Lots of shuffling going on this tour, so you’re going to need to pay attention who is playing where.  Congratulations to the Flub guys on this wonderful signing! Cheers mates!  Check out their latest EP “Purpose” below as we patiently await more potential music from this group! They also have two other releases, as well.

 

FLUB:

Vocals: Michael Alvarez (Ex- Alterbeast)
Guitars/Programming: Eloy Montes (ex-Vale of Pnath)
Bass: Matthew Mudd
Drums: Jared Klein (Rivers of Nihil, Grindfeld)

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Jean Chaumont- The Beauty Of Differences

Jean Chaumont released “The Beauty Of Differences” in 2018, so this isn’t a newer release so to say.  But, the artist is new to me….so I decided to dive into this jazzterpiece (yes I make up words and love it!).  The sound on this album is great…..another great curveball in music.  What do I mean by this? Jean uses an acoustic guitar, something not used as much in Jazz in comparison to the eclectic guitar (these days at least).  Wanna know something even cooler? All the proceeds of the album are donated to the nonprofit organization Villages in Partnership for the excavation of wells in the Sakata region of Malawi, Africa.  So if you love what you hear…..BUY IT jackwagons!

Lineup for “The Beauty Of Differences”:
JEAN CHAUMONT – guitars
MICHAEL BOND – piano & rhodes
IKE STURM – upright bass
RUDY ROYSTON – drums
SAM SADIGURSKY – saxophones tenor & soprano

Guests
TIERNEY SUTTON – vocals (Songs 1 & 4)
VINOD GNANARAJ – vocals (6)
JOHN HADFIELD – percussions (6)
ENOCH SMITH JR. – hammond organ (Songs 3, 6 & 7)

 

“The Beauty Of Differences” is an extremely impressive culmination of music.  What I really enjoy a lot is how wide the music is…..there aren’t too many instruments fighting for musical “space” in Chaumont’s songs.  There is room to breathe (musically) but still enough to keep junkies like me who love heavily layered music.  There’s different types of keyboards and organs, a few guest vocalists, upright instead of an electric bass, and a few different types of saxophones.  The drums are pretty smooth, and even occasionally there’s some wild fills on some of his songs.

It’s a jazz album that totally stands on its own musically, and is very flavorful.  The vocals were totally unexpected on those three tracks, but a nice surprise I have to admit. I’m personally used to instrumentalists in regards to the genre.  Both singers did a pretty stellar job with their extremely smooth voices I must say.  Are you already impressed with Jean’s writing and guitar playing? Fact: he produced the album, as well.  These sorts of artists I have tremendous respect for, who dip their hands in several areas of the music realms.

This album is full of soul and emotion, and am so glad I stumbled upon this record.  Chaumont and his plethora of guest musicians really kicked serious ass here.  The melodies here (especially on vocals) were extremely pleasant.  Give Jean a listen on the player below.  Cheers to a great album!

Target- Deep Water Flames

Target put out “Deep Water Flames”at the end of January and I’ve given it some time to sink in.  They’re a death metal band with lots of groove, like that Meshuggah and Gojira kinda groove if you know what I mean.  They’re a very cool band more people should familiarize themselves with and hopefully this is a good start.  The guitar riffs are absolutely relentless and extremely varied.  Oh…..and that artwork…..SO COOL RIGHT? It’s like a burning Death Star, Star Wars fans.  It perfectly sets up a creepy mood the moment you look at the album art.  Really, really cool!

“Deep Water Flames” is a sonically heavy experience not every band can provide.  The absolutely punishing drums and bass really help this album take off.  Most notably, that is extremely effective in the outro of “Random Waves”.  Listen and find out, folks! 😉

 

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TARGET:

Luis Soto – Guitars

Andrés Piña – Vocals

Rodrigo Arias – Drums

Rodrigo Castro – Bass

The vocals are absolutely great.  Very up front, emotional and powerful.  This band has a stellar chemistry and it shows big time.  Target would be a good choice for someone who is stuck in a musical discovery rut.  Not really too technical to throw someone off, but the groovy rhythms they provide will surely get people tapping their foot.  Show them Target and challenge them NOT to start a pit.  Just saying.  Check out “Deep Water Flames” below, if you dare.

ICYMI; Lecherous Nocturne with Olkoth

TLDR; this show ruled, it would’ve ruled even harder if you were there.

I promised myself I wouldn’t go on a tangent about the poor attendance, and I plan on keeping that promise (for this article, anyway). But really, y’all missed a gnar death metal show. Each band brought their own flavour of the genre, and absolutely killed it.

Since I’m an asshole, I completely forgot Begat the Nephilim would be gracing us with their presence. I have no idea why the hell they were that far from home, but I’m certainly not upset that I got a legitimate chance to check them out. Vocalist Tyler Smith stole the set, with his witty banter and incredible vocal range. I know a bunch of our readers are into bands like Inferi, Enfold Darkness, and Vale of Pnath. Assuming you are, Begat are 100% up your alley.

In my humble opinion, last night was all about keeping an eye on the drummers. If you didn’t, you might miss something important. Olkoth, as a whole,  totally brought their A game, regardless of some technical difficulties. But man, drummer Josh Ward is incredible all on his own. It’s impressive to watch someone blast at close to 300 BPM, its even more mind blowing to watch them do that plus bellow out some gnar gutturals and clean sing. Oh, and something something, “that guy from Nile”.

And of course, our headliner Lecherous Nocturne melted everyone’s faces off with their sweet gutturals, nasty basslines, awesome solos, and ridiculous tempos. But again, the drummer, man. Alex Lancia has some of the fastest hands I’ve seen, and I love that I got to scoot to the side of the stage to see all of those little intricacies. Honestly, that was probably my favourite part of the night.

We hope these dudes had a successful run across northeast Canada and US, and a safe trip home.  And of course, big thanks to Vertigo Freeway and Gates of Exile for cracking this bad boy wide open.

Truthfully, the real show was this skinny white boy schleppin’ around outside before the show, walking in such a contorted fashion that he could only be drunk or possessed. Maybe a combination of both. St. Patrick’s day has that affect on people. /shrugs

Happy monday everyone, stay tech!

Jay Matharu- These Clouds Are So Undisciplined!

Guitarist Jay Matharu released this mind bending album a couple years ago in October of 2017.  He definitely pushed a lot of genre boundaries on his album, blending lots of great sounds.  Matharu mixed progressive music, jazz, blues, and I think I even heard some progressions that were influenced from classic rock and classic progressive music of the 70’s! Putting it short and sweet: his sound is very wide, and not narrow at all.  It was a joy to listen to a soulful, musical album by a guitarist and not a guitar masterclass.  That style probably turns off more people who don’t want so much speed and technical parts that they won’t bother.  In this case though, “These Clouds Are So Undisciplined” is an album full of emotion and surprises.

Jay has a really good ear, and it really helped big time when he wrote this album.  There’s a lot of subtle melodies underneath a lot of the sections, and really stand out especially on the ending of “I Regress”.  It’s a definite change in pace to your average aggressive guitarist instrumental album, and is a lot more laid back.  Sure, there’s some heavy and rocking parts but it’s more experimental and calm for the most part.  In fact, his playing isn’t really speed focused.  Jay’s guitar style is a lot more melodic, soulful and emotional.  It’s not based off how fast he can play or how many sweep picking patterns he can do in 10 seconds.  Simply put, it’s a very mature virtuoso styled album that shows its true colors (and there’s lots of colors his album shows).

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Matharu also had a plethora of guest musicians on this album.  They are as listed as follows:

Andreas Boliden – Digital Trumpet solo on “Kaleidoscope” (03:11)
Ponch Satrio – Guitar solo on “Illumination” (04:24)
Nili Brosh – Guitar solo on “Breath In, Breathe Out” (05:18)
Oscar Hansson – Bass guitar on “A Mother’s Love”
Emil Ingmar – Piano on “The Battle Within”
Kaffe Myers – Drums on all tracks
Max Nyström – Audio editing, Mixing & Mastering
Jay Matharu – Everything else

 

“These Clouds Are So Undisciplined!” is a musically engaging album that will shock you every song.  Give instrumental music a shot.  What is there to lose? He’s a totally different guitarist than the hip, fast playing guys.  He packs a lot of emotion into his leads, some groovy riffs and some psychedelic laid back proggy sections to throw you off for a bit.  Check out the album below if you’re intrigued by any of this.  I hope you are!

The Inner Urge Self Titled

Pennslyvania’s The Inner Urge released this album ironically almost a year ago, on March 25th of 2018. If I actually knew these guys a while ago, I’d have added this to my 2018 best of list. They’re not your typical instrumental band, which is something I think our followers will love.  They blend a plethora of sounds that work extremely well.  That laundry list include: jazz, ambience, psychedelic rock, fusion, prog rock, brass instruments,  keyboard, violin, saxophone, vibraphone and random percussive instruments.  There’s a lot more instrumental bands out there (especially in the jazz/fusion world, outside of instrumental metal and it’s many subgeneres) I think these guys stand out so much especially with a debut album.

They are super talented, nobody actually stands out and sure as heck don’t mean that in an insulting manner.  This is what I respect about certain bands.  Some are guitar heavy and written for guitar riffs, vocally focused, rhythmically focused or an instrumental band/guitarist (Vai/Satriani style) shred band.  The Inner Urge has put out an album that is COHESIVE, nobody hogs the spotlight and their impressive sound layering again is key to it all.  It’s super melodic whether its the saxophone taking a melodic lead, or guitar, or a cool xylophone the guys don’t overdo it with such a densely satisfying sound.  Of course a killer rhythm is section is what you need, and that is what their big backbone is.  If they didn’t click so well, I guarantee it’d be a mess of a sound.  Again fellow guitarists,  APPRECIATE A GREAT RHYTHM SECTION. I just admitted that, and I think you all can too.

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Alex Price – Guitar/Violin
Andrew Koss – Bass/Saxophone
Jesse Griffith – Drums
Michael Garbett – Vibraphone/Percussion

Additional Live Musicians:
Nashwan Abdullah – Violin
Will King – Percussion
Josh Wertz – Tenor Saxophone
Matt Klumpp – Keyboard

The band has so many unique and unusual rhythms it’ll keep you grooving for years.  Jesse and Andrew are such a good choice on rhythm they feed off each other so well.  Drew’s fills on bass are so tasteful it’s like a perfectly cooked medium rare steak. Not hiding so far in the sound, but plays some great fills in the right spots that spice up their expansive sound.   The drums aren’t reserved by any means, and perfectly fits The Inner Urge’s sound.

Mike’s percussion and vibraphone adds more layer to their sound, which helps their songs out a whole lot.  It’s actually quite key (HAR, HAR) at some points in their songs and helps maintain the moods they aim for.  And well, what can I say about Alex? He also represents PRS as proven by that picture…..high five my friend! The young guy has a great future as a player no questions asked.  Playing on a clean channel (with some random added reverb, echo, delay and other slight additions) for a good part of the album is impressive.  He doesn’t play outside of his means, and clearly annunciates his melodies on guitar even the more subtle ones.  I think it also helps the 4 main members went to music schools.  Hell two of the members play on cruise ships and their vibraphone player drums on the Pittsburgh Steelers drum line! These young whipper snappers are music, they live and breathe it.

Listen to the self titled album below, and then buy it because pimpin ain’t easy.  If you live in the Northeast, check out their shows when they play.  I’m sure it’s a hoot.  I’ve heard this album about 8 times in the past week and have no shame in admitting that.  Great job, especially for a debut it’s awfully eye opening.  So excited for new music whenever their busy lives call for it.  Absolutely FLAWLESS job gentlemen.  Cheers!

 

 

Unbowed release new song “The Athem Of I”

Unbowed has released a smashing new single “The Anthem Of I”.  The track has all the classic Unbowed elements you would expect in a track…..dynamic, melodic and powerful sing along choruses, emotional and brutal verses…..and a whole lot more.  The band packed a lot into a shorter 4 and a half minute song, with a nice little widdly woo on guitar.  When I saw Unbowed, they were absolutely emotional and plenty heavy as well live.  I can basically feel the emotion in the song and power the band resonates in their new song.  The riffs are groovy and sludgy as can be, with some short lived progressive moments here and there.  The rhythms are great, with some slightly quicker speeds than what I have grown accustomed to with the band.  It’s a great lil slice of Unbowed to tide (HA!) you over until their next release. Check it out!

WEK- Mystery

WEK is an instrumental progressive metal project by Kevin Oper.  WEK is a totally different beast than other instrumental bands who just shred, and his music is more varied.  It’s much more atmospheric and melodic, adding a lot more layers to the songs than most instrumental bands.  The speeds aren’t consistent either, making the music a lot more engaging and not very predictable.  There’s definitely some quick riffs, and just as many slower groovy riffs that just drive home the beautiful melodies Oper has constructed.

“Mystery” was released on the 22nd of February and a couple times through this album and I’m still digging it.  It’s the sort of album that you enjoy the first time around, then the next few listens you start to understand it more and also appreciate the atmosphere and moods Oper created.  WEK is truly a melodic and emotional experience that not many instrumental bands can offer, and that has surely happened here.

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The rhythms are pretty solid and engaging on “Mystery”.  It’s a fresh take on instrumental music with the extra melodies and synth that widen the sound, rather than a smaller generalized sound.  If you catch my drift, you can buy the album on his bandcamp website right here.  Happy shredding, melodic prog instrumental lovers!

Trayen Burke releases “Supernova”

Guitarist Trayen Burke has released yet another stellar song from his newfound solo project.  If you didn’t hear the first song “Gravity” you can check it out here.  The new song “Supernova” is extra melodic in comparison to his first single, and a lot more atmospheric as well.  The more you dig into this guy’s library, you see his potential.  While his main band Constructs is taking a nap (hopefully working on new music) Trayen’s shredly jams will surely tickle your instrumental fancy.  Give him a listen if you like modern progressive music with some electronics. For some of that awesome groove, melody and shreddies listen to this beautifully crafted song right below.  Give me some of that djent with some more djent on the side please.

Brainblast Premiere “Dextrorotatory Gammadeon”

Newcomers Brainblast have dropped their first single “Dextrorotatory Gammadeon”.  They will be releasing their songs every few weeks, and man do we have well…..a Brain blaster of a song.  Tom “Fountainhead” (Ex- Obscura, Defeated Sanity and now recording extraordinaire) handled the production for their upcoming release.  If you needed convincing, a technical metal legend stamping his name on a project should surely convince you before you even listen to the music.  And WOW, do they really rip! Dynamic guitars, with some great groove…..but don’t overdo it, with some very good guitar leads and sweet riffs.  The rhythm is absolutely impeccable, and drumming is very very wild in “Dextrorotatory Gammadeon”.  This song is a basically flawless debut single, if you ask me.  The group has set themselves a really high standard with this song, and will only get better from here on out.  Listen to the song below and make sure to follow them online so you see when the next song drops! Exciting times in BrainBlast land!