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!

Advertisements

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).

0011338149_10

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.

0012896492_10

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!

 

 

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.

48356978_517624395402065_6834980520716140544_n

 

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!

Ola Englund- Master Of The Universe

Let me get all the stereotypes out of the way for you.  I was a latecomer in regards to Ola Englund and The Haunted years ago, I wasn’t there from the beginning of his band.  He’s a phenomenal guitarist who’s highly underrated and more diverse than people want to give him credit for.  Yeah he can play some cool melodic leads and some quicker stuff, but man…..the guy has always been a riffer.  And yeah, his first solo album isn’t what you’d expect…..point number 2.  He isn’t that flashy guitarist who is doing his darnedest to rip off Michael Angelo Batio.  England wrote SONGS, not guitar clinics.  Some people shy away from guitarist adventures, because they actually can be shred-a-thons and not focus on songs as a whole. That’s where one of his strengths come into play….his riffing and songwriting, not overdoing guitar leads ON EVERY PART.

Here’s my third point…..it’s not obscenely heavy, believe it or not.  It’s actually a big nod to progressive music even classic prog rock from the 70’s and years gone by.  There’s even some brass and piano on some of his songs! No, you’re not getting an instrumental death metal offering it’s actually extremely versed.  Again I’ll hammer home the point he’s more diverse than most people think he is.  It’s a truly unique display of music that is his own, and has a broad sound that is far from sounding like he’s imitating anyone.  There’s even some slight moments of jazz here and there, as well.  It’s a truly great experience. Ola is himself, and boy does it ever show in this unique album.

244828

Let’s not forget the fact he’s a successful Youtuber in this modern age, and not only makes informative videos with a stellar side of comedy…..but also has his own guitar company Solar Guitars.  This man is a modern day Renaissance Man in regards to music….not only writing and playing, but making videos AND a guitar company.  Oh, and he PRODUCED this album too. Again….the versatility of Englund shines as bright as it ever has right now.  He puts his heart and soul into his music, and it was put on huge display for his first solo album.  The album is absolutely crammed to with melodic sections, clean guitar parts and stellar drumming as well.  The occasional keyboard parts and specifically the sultry sweet saxophone in “Solar Part 2” is a ridiculously beautiful and moody addition to a well rounded album.

“Master Of The Universe” is such a cool album that goes against these stereotypes you’d expect from a metalhead in a successful band, and shows sides you don’t really see in The Haunted.  If you want to try something new, give Ola’s debut a serious look. The album officially will be released on March 24th, so get your preorder in and dive into the deep creative mind of Ola Englund.

Here’s one of the epics, incase you weren’t convinced.

Frank Gambale- Salve

If you’ve been with us for a while or see our description you’d see we do more than prog, tech metal and instrumental music…..I’ll admit I’ve bitten off a lot and generally get a lot of that submitted, let alone through e-mail mailing lists and I apologize….but this job isn’t easy.  I’ve done a few jazz and fusion articles, but haven’t tried hard ENOUGH.  So today, I’m going to try to change that…….and hopefully stick with it.  I love the genres, it’s originality and insane talents that come with it.  One big talent is the mighty jazz guitarist Frank Gambale  who released this stellar album last year that went off my radar.  So many releases, so much music…..only so much time.  I heard it in full a couple months ago, and put it back on today.

There’s lots of great jazz guitarists and some that also cross into the wild world of fusion. Older players like Gamble influenced lots of the progressive subgeneres (there’s a billion).  You have a lot of classic players like Holdsworth, McLaughlin and Al Di Meola  that broke all sorts of genre barriers catapulting these insane compositions.  Gamble though, is a more straightforward player who’s very melodic.  Fusion brings the whackiest ideas and compositions out of many artists, but that’s one reason I’ve dug his music….Frank is a straight up jazz player with lots of melody and feel.  He’s such a clean player he’s envied a lot of his fellow guitarists to the point they may want to chop his fingers off.  That’s a joke, nobody sure as heck would want that to happen.

52598915_2296521753711532_6011137039506866176_n.jpg

“Salve” is a wonderful album with a lot of distinct guitar playing.  Gambale puts a lot of soul, heart and effort into his music.  He is a master of emotion when it comes to music, for sure.  2018’s release sure shows (in my humble opinion at least) Gambale still has it musically, and sure as heck isn’t declining by any means.  He had a female vocalist on some of these songs which adds a great texture in my opinion.  This genre innovator keeps putting out great music influencing a countless number of guitarists with every breathtaking performance and album.

His straightforward songwriting is a lot more accessible and easier to digest than some of the wild fusion guitar players.  There’s a lot of wild compositions out there that are totally whacky and out of the ordinary, but Gambale takes a simpler jazzy approach.  His style is a much needed change in the jazz and it’s multiple subgenres when you want something different.  “Salve” offers lots of cool synthesizer layers too, and some vocal harmonies here and there.  Soulmine is a newer adventure of his with these vocalists singing over his music.  I was initially interested in his tunes, and glad I stumbled across this new venture.  It’s just one more great piece of art to the legacy he began building in the 1980’s.

 

Misery Index- Rituals Of Power

Man oh man, did Misery Index put out yet another great extreme metal release.  Baltimore’s death/metal grind act will blow your minds, once again. I kinda feel like Misery Index is a great death metal/grind band that is not on enough people’s radars, and gets passed on a lot.  These guys have consistently been putting out great releases since well…..their existence as a band.  The band has released a few singles before its official released day today March 8th…..“New Salem”, “Rituals Of Power”, and “The Choir Insivisible”.  Dive into those three great tracks while I yap about how under appreciated these cats are.

My time knowing the band has been short since the 2014 headbanger “Killing Gods” but I sure as heck dig them.  Legendary drummer Adam Jarvis is the glue that keeps this great band grooving for years and years.  As predicted, he’s a top highlight in the band’s new release.  The speeds are so varied you need to be on your game, and just listening to these songs tires me…..IF i could drum.

Here’s a playthrough of the title track if you’re not convinced of how amazing Adam Jarvis is.

 

Jason Netherton’s bass playing is absolutely perfect along side Jarvis, oh and let’s talk about his voice.  I love consistency in gutturals…..Jason has that.  His voice is basically perfect for extreme metal.  His mid ranged growl isn’t too low, and isn’t that high at all.  I think these two musicians are huge vocal points for the sound of Misery Index……Adam’s energetic, powerful drumming and Jason’s painful gutturals bring this band’s songs to LIFE.

46453072_10156358470822935_4354688640157220864_n

MISERY INDEX:

Jason Netherton – Bass & Vocals
Adam Jarvis – Drums
Mark Kloeppel – Guitar & Vocals
Darin Morris – Guitar
Mark and Darin are an absolute deadly combination on guitars.  They added a bit more melody on their riffs this time around, and have concocted a few stellar leads on as well. The dynamics this band have are pretty mind blowing…..and the guitar duo certainly only adds a whole shit ton of flavor to “Rituals Of Power”.
Again, Misery Index puts out really consistent albums.  Their driving rhythms, intensity and aggression are not matched by many.  It’s about time these guys got serious respect among the extreme metal scene, and “Rituals Of Power” should do that.  The album will awaken people, open their minds and also clean out the wax that’s in your ears.  Misery Index rips and should be enjoyed by all of mankind.

The Tao Of Davey K

Exactly a year ago I had my first Artist Of The Month Turning Virtue.  Their frontman Davey K has been working on an EP, going back to his folk roots for months on end for now.  I just got my copy in the mail today, and decided to take a break from the insanity we promote here.  Listen to something stripped down, acoustic and emotional.  Just like Turning Virtue’s most recent album, David had Bruce Soord of The Pineapple Thief mix this EP as well.  He wrote the music and recorded it at his studio MFB Studios.  It’s pretty easy to tell what the theme is of the EP, as he has taken a heavy interest into the Tao.  If you’re interested you can snag a copy right here.

32506932_459063307877074_8117884559086845952_n

 

I’ve known Dave for a few years now, and it’s an honor to call such a great musician and even better person a friend of mine.  He’s been a guiding light of the sorts in the time we’ve known each other these few years.  One great thing he does as portray emotions superbly.  This EP is very melancholic, reflective and downright creepy at times.  Taking into account all the hats he wears, he booked a week long tour of Canada with his friend Ragnar Zolberg (Sign, Ex Pain Of Salvation) who also has new music as well.

 

As expected Soord did a fantastic job mixing the EP.  Considering a good amount of what we promoted is more technical music and generally heavily layered, we’re used to hearing a ton of tracks within a song.  This is the total opposite of the case here with “The Tao Of Davey K”.  It’s stripped down, there are some vocal harmonies in certain points…..but 75% of the time it’s Dave’s voice and his acoustic. There’s some lead guitar melodies here and there, no drums even any sort of percussion on this EP as well!  I totally believe it’s much more challenging to mix music that has less layers to it, rather than something that has a ton of tracks.

I personally love melancholic music, I’m not one for happy stuff I tend to feel it’s forced and extra cheesy (like power metal cheesy).  I’m all about natural emotion and feelings, that kinda stuff tends to feel super artificial and fake in my opinion.  Dave here created a reflective and somber EP that will take you to a whole other universe where his Tao resides.  In his younger days he was into classic metal and rock (in comparison to folk and acoustic music) much more than he is now.  David has drifted closer to progressive music, folk music and pop more so the older he got.  The Tao Of Davey K is a return to his roots as an artist, and is a fun listen.

Take a break from the blast beats, gutturals and 300 BPM songs.  Let Dave take you to another universe, sit back and relax.  I totally suggest supporting his project, so grab your copy while its available.  I shouldn’t be shocked one of our area’s better musicians released a stellar piece of music, but it’s always great to get this sort of reminder.  Dave won’t tell you humbly, but he really is a pretty good artist.  Fronting a progressive rock band to doing a folk EP gives you a diverse catalogue of music and styles, that’s for sure.  Support Dave’s journey and pay attention to see if he has any more shows coming up promoting The Tao. That’s because Turning Virtue is now in the studio writing their follow up to “A Temporary Human Experience”, so we don’t know how many shows he will play this year acoustically as I’m sure he’s gonna be deeply focused on the next Turning Virtue album.

Consider The Source- You Are Literally A Metaphor

Well…..what can we say about Consider The Source that hasn’t been said already? To be fair, we only knew of them for a month or so before we caught them at Buffalo Iron Works on February 23rd……yeah, even with all their virtuosity they put on an energetic and jaw dropping show.  Check out our two videos below, if you want some proof.

 

 

This is just a small cut of what you can expect from this great trio, and their latest release “You Are Literally A Metaphor” that dropped on March 1st.  We have come across many solid instrumental bands since starting this site, but man these guys are taking the cake…..A studio performance of one of the songs from this album “Enemies Of Magick” convinced us to go to their show here in Buffalo a few weeks ago.

What really strikes me with this band is their complex nature AND diversity.  There’s lots of prog elements here…..the fretless guitar on a double necked beauty, which sounded great live by the way.  The bassist’s wild tapping, fills and robust talent that felt like he was also a rhythm guitarist! I just can’t get over how amazing the band is, and the drummer is equally as diverse who can play a lot of different styles that this trio calls for.

CONSIDER THE SOURCE:

Gabriel Marin- Guitars

John Ferrara- Bass

Jeff Mann – Drums and Percussion

Bands like Consider The Source are what we are looking to promote on our website….there’s not literally one band that sounds like them, in any shape or capacity.  There’s also a lot of European (specifically Mediterranean, Eastern European and Middle Eastern) sound and melody in their music, on top of some jazzy and progressive sections.  They’re so unique, you can’t label them as much as I hate labeling band’s sounds but you have to describe music somehow…..I guess? They’re like Primus, in that vein…..but a billion times more talented, diverse and eclectic.  They blend so many sounds and influences its extremely tough to pick  something out of a hat, so you just call them by their band name.

52115479_10156801585906259_1738610930448596992_n

 

 

I often find myself bored with a lot of instrumental bands, primarily because I feel that they’re lacking substance that vocals, for me, would normally fill. But all it took was a couple minutes of that 10+ minute video for me to realize that I’d have to be stupid to not check these guys out. But I was still on the fence about checking them out live. And I eventually reminded myself that you only live once, and sleep is for the weak. 

I can say, without question, that Consider the Source put on one of the most impressive acts I’ve seen in my tenure of going out to shows. Their musicianship is absolutely otherworldly. It was tough for me to choose who I wanted to watch; it’s pretty easy to miss one of the other dudes doing something spectacular while you’re watching the third one do something equally spectacular. 

The day after their show, I spent my morning immersing myself in their discography. It boasts over six hours of music that will take you on the craziest roller coaster you could ever imagine to be on. I am enamored by the complexity, variety and the heavy Eastern European and Indian influences. And with titles like “You Won a Goat!”, “Blue Steel”, and “White People Problems”, we’re reminded that a little sense of humor goes a long way. Even the best of musicians don’t take everything so seriously, and I think there’s something to learn from there. 

“You Are Literally A Metaphor” is a continued dominance of their previous works and sound.  Gabriel, John and Jeff are so tight it’s nuts. This may be some of the most demanding music I have heard yet in my short life…..Consider The Source isn’t another modern rock band, they set themselves apart from a lot of bands and genres of music.  They TOTALLY have created another genre of music that isn’t out to imitate anyone…..but is the band themselves. Gabriel’s wild melodies on guitar and John’s wild bass playing are extremely prevalent on my favorite track ‘They Call Him The Smiling Assassin”.  There’s so many sounds that go into this band every song is legitimately different and have new surprises.  Jeff Mann does so much on drums he can play about anything, anytime anywhere.  Whether its a fusion or jazz section, or even something electronically he has it all…..even the bongos.  The trio has a unique and awfully impressive chemistry.

These guys aren’t on a label, so your support means so much more than it does for your average band.  Plus, if they were they would be forced to write “catchy” and “appealing” music that would kill the band and their creativity.  You can listen to the album below, and check out their other albums that came out before “You Are Literally A Metaphor”. There are CD’S available and even vinyl as well.

We’ve been sleeping on these dudes for a decade, and we think you should learn from our mistakes. Check these guys out, you won’t be disappointed. 

Afterbleeding- Paths Of Decimation

Sirius Records  band Afterbleeding released their debut EP “Paths Of Decimation” on February 24th and we’re here to bring the low down for you all!  One great thing that immediately stood out to me  are the great vocals.  Consistent gutturals that you can understand are so rare in extreme metal……huge thumbs up! The guitar riffs are so heavy, groovy and occasionally complex.  The guitar leads are equally as entertaining churning up a stellar output for the guitars on this EP.

What else I really dig is the artwork.  Your average death metal album art is well, usually pretty disgusting.  It has a cool post apocalyptic destructive world thing going on. That is a nice change up from the usual gore and ripped body limbs thing that we usually see on most covers.

47571278_108870583484712_5647195825969823744_n

The production is pretty good for a debut offering.  The vocals are up front, but not too overpowering in comparison to the rest of the instruments.  My only SLIGHT complaint is the drums and bass need to be turned up a hair.  Besides that, nothing dominates the mix too bad to the point that its unlistenable (which it isn’t!).  A terrible mix can kill the actual music of an album…..like Cavalera Conspiracy’s album “Pandemonium”.  The music is actually great, but it feels like it’s all vocals and guitar.  Some tracks, the vocals are much louder than the guitar and drums.  You can’t even hear the bass for the most part on that album! Safe to say, that is not the case here with Afterbleeding’s EP.

The drums on “Paths Of Decimation” are very consistent, heavy and groovy.  The rhythm between the bass and drums are extremely important in this band, with all the tempo changes.  For a young band, they’re pretty solid.  It’s a great start for a band on a small label, and I wish them nothing but the best.  Afterbleeding will fit into your library if you want a super groovy death metal band that doesn’t overcomplicate the genre.  If you want a solid mix of the aforementioned, these guys are your go to for your death metal fix.  Check out the album below, they also have physical copies available if you’re interested in a CD as well.

https://siriusrecords.bigcartel.com