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.



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



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).


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.


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!



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.

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.


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.

Serpents Andrew Mikhail March 2019 Interview

I asked Serpents about a few things, and their upcoming album “Temet Nosce”.  Listen to the single from their upcoming album “The Sunset And The Silhouette” right here. Check out this detailed interview!
TMR: What factors led to the birth of Serpents? 
 I’d like to start this interview in true “Andrew Mikhail fashion” by quoting Plato’s famous line, “Necessity is the mother of invention”; and at that certain time in my life, I had nothing but necessity. I was harboring many mixed emotions then, and yet, at the same time…hours and hours of music. In my heart and soul, it was all meant to stay within; but after speaking with a close friend back in 2010, I was convinced that this needed to be unleashed unto the world…for my own spiritual well-being as well ha.  The fact that anyone else wanted to play that music with me, or simply listen to it; was unexpected…but an added bonus in the end. For that, I am always grateful.

TMR: Explain your upcoming album. Who did you record with? What’s the theme and lyrical motivation?
In a nutshell, this is the third album I’ve created under the Serpents name; and it’s the final installment of a “trilogy” of sorts, as the previous albums had an overall theme to them lyrically and conceptually that all tied together in a “grand sense”. This one though? There are about 6 parallel story-lines simultaneously intertwining within “Temet Nosce”, that I purposefully leave to the listener to uncover; but like the previous albums, there is a huge part of myself and my story hidden within the lyrics. However, at times, it’s a bit more obvious; I mean hell, the album title is Latin for “Know Thyself” ha. As far as the behind the scenes credits go, the album was written, recorded, and produced by myself pretty much; with the exception of some additional help by credited friends. Later on in the process though, I had sought out the help of Logan Mader (Gojira, Five Finger Death Punch, DevilDriver) for mixing, mastering, and additional production duties. Being a huge Soulfly fan, and a fan of his production work, I can proudly say that it has been a really cool experience working with him on this album; and from the feedback so far…the people really love it too.
TMR: Your sound is so unique. Tell us what bands and artists influenced it? 
There really is no specific band or artist that directly influences my lyrics or music, as my musical tastes span all across the globe. Specifically, there are obvious ones that many can throw on the table for conversation’s sake; like: Behemoth, Dimmu Borgir, Opeth, Devin Townsend, etc. but even as I type this, I’m checking out the latest Katy Perry single!  I mean, the list could go on for days ha. However, from growing up in a household that would have traditional Assyrian music to bands like Ministry blaring in the house; we fast forward to today, where I listen to all different kinds of music no matter what. Every day and every night, it doesn’t matter, I try to stumble across a new band, genre, or artist at least twice a week just to keep things fresh for me artistically and even production wise. These things definitely factor into our sound, but I’d also say my curiosity for finding the “perfect” song keeps me yearning for more as a listener and creator. It’s a happy yet never-ending pursuit.
TMR: Any new bands you discovered recently you wanna share?
Again, it really depends on the genre, but there are a few up-and-coming groups that I feel are going to do great things for their respective genres. Some favorites in my regular rotation as of late, include: Warforged, The Zenith Passage, Painless, DRAEMINGS, Thieves, and more more more.
TMR: Andrew- tell us about the split with Oceano. Do you feel that Serpents is like an artistic rebirth of yourself?
It depends on the day you ask ha. However, looking back, my general understanding of the situation is that we were kids at the time. Plain and simple. There’s really no need to go over details anymore, as it’s been quite some time now. Some grudges had died shortly after, and some still live on; that’s life, and that’s alright. All I can say when looking in the mirror, is that I tried my best and I leave it at that. Not to mention, the band that I had left in 2010, has transformed into something completely different; and that’s great. I’m a fan of what they have done since then; which even solidifies the feelings of it being a “past life” of sorts when looking back. Like the world does after one dies, it has moved on with or without me; and that is the reality. In addition to, I’ve personally been through a lot since the departure; and that journey really set the precedent of Serpents, and my ongoing rebirth as an artist and human being. My days in Oceano are from a past version of myself that is thankfully well-documented and often nostalgic to look back on; but I have “died a thousand deaths” since then. As each album passes, Serpents is a personification and/or manifestation of “the eternal return.” A never-ending cyclical process, yet, a glimpse into times as I see fit; over and over and over again. Within each album, that very idea is plastered all over the imagery, the lyrical themes, the merch, everything; you just have to be able to see it.
TMR: What’s your favorite song you’ve written in Serpents?
That’s a tough question, as I try to never write a song that I don’t enjoy! However, to avoid being cliche by saying anything off the new album; I will say “The Shadow of Timelessness” is a favorite lyrically, and “The Virtuous Remliel” would have to be one of the favorites musically. Both are pretty “deep cuts” in contrast to what our listeners usually enjoy ha. Go figure.
TMR: What is your favorite thing about music? What qualities of it attracted you?
Qualities aren’t really important to me, as I approach music like one would approach a painting; I want the whole picture all at once. I want to skim over, investigate, pick apart, interpret, and even be hypnotized by it. That is my attraction to music. If it is forced or has no substance, then I don’t care for it; plain and simple. Any good song of substance and heart has the ability to take you to another world; that is the truth. If you let it…it even can be a lethargic or euphoric “possession” of sorts. THAT is my favorite thing about music. People everywhere, including myself, are yearning for escape, truth, fantasy, and more; daily. Music gives them that power, and when I am dead and rotting…I am more than happy to have been one of the few to hand over the keys.
TMR: How did everyone get started as musicians?
The stories vary, but overall, we all started out young. Like many others before us, we were loners filled with a passion for music; and yet, we were fortunate enough to be bonded by our peers through metal music. The way it should always be. Some say that “it takes a village to raise a child,” and that is what metal used to be; a community that raised us all up–together. I’m not sure how things are now, so I can’t speak on that confidently; hence the “used to be”…put your pitchforks down, friends ha.
TMR: Any shows in the near future?
We are setting the release date for “Temet Nosce” as I type this, along with booking select dates to support the album release and bring in the “new” era of Serpents once and for all. So, look out for those if you will.

Yoni The Bassist- The Flow Of Emotions

WOW.  Do you spoiled punks ever have quite the treat coming your way.  Yoni The Bassist has an extremely wild song they released last year in 2018.  He has an incredible talent that we totally support here at TMR.  He has an album coming out titled “Positively In Silence” and this wild song “The Flow Of Emotions” is well everything that song title says.  It’s absolutely amazing what you can do with just a bass…..we have a band in a similar vein here in Buffalo IshKabibble.  He had Ignacio JD drum for him on this song, and is there ever some serious groove.  There’s some great tapping melodies, and a great backing rhythm he provides in this insane song.  There’s a lot of great instrumental bands, and Yoni has something seriously special here.  This sort of stuff is an artistic trip that your average band can’t necessarily provide.  Lots of the same styles of music have been rehashed countless times, and artists like Yoni are pushing the genre labeling fad into a sound truly unique into his own.  Check out the song below and stay updated on when his album will drop, I’m sure it will be equally as impressive.



Ambrose release new song “Curtains”

Tennessee instrumental progressive band Ambrose have dropped a melodic fun song titled “Curtains”.   They’re not the wildly heavy type of band that’ll woo you with their loud sound, but moreso the laid back Chon/Animals As Leaders west coast type vibe.  It’s a very tasteful and melodic song, with all sorts of cool chord progressions and rhythms.  Ambrose is now a band I’m going to want to keep a close eye on.  Working in this sort of field though is pretty tough with all the bands we come across, but dang I’m going to try my hardest.  These guys have a fresh sound that can win over people who aren’t appalled with instrumental bands. Give Ambrose a shot if you want something new that is different than what you usually listen to.  Check out the song below and if you live in the area be sure to catch the guys at a show!

Forever In Transit Interview & “Re-Connection” EP Premiere

Forever In Transit released a spectacular album last year “States Of Disconnection”, and Dan is going to release a follow up EP soon titled “Reconnection”.   I wanted to get the world to see how Dan is, his creative mind works, what his influences are, and in general  get his music out there that should be heard by more people.  He’s a really cool dude, hope you dig the interview and maybe gather some quality information and advice.  Oh, and by the way he’s graciously given us the new EP as well! Enjoy everything!



TMR” Explain your journey as a musician…..when you started, your first instrument….give everyone a glimpse into your artistic journey.


I started playing piano when I was 5 or 6, and started drums and guitar when I was in high school.  I didn’t really get into composition until well into high school – maybe junior or senior year? I had a lot of great friends in school who are very talented and pushed me to challenge myself more and more.  I started transcribing video game soundtracks and making piano arrangements for a website and that’s what really got me into composition! I didn’t start playing metal until I was almost through high school – was more of a jazz and film/game score guy – and had been in a couple of bands that became progressively more progressive until I decided to pursue Forever in Transit as my main creative outlet.

TMR: How and when did you become a multi instrumentalist? As long as I’ve known you, that’s what’s wowed me the most outside of your talent.  It’s great to see artists that want to tackle more things, and try their best at many things rather than stick to just one.  


I started playing piano at a young age, but I wanted to play in concert band in middle school.  I tried mallet percussion since there was a lot of carryover from piano. When I got into high school, the band director wanted me to take drum lessons to become a more balanced percussionist and I stuck with them through college – my drum teacher, Kevin Soltis, still teaches in Buffalo and has been one of the most positive influences on my playing to date!  Guitar and bass I sort of picked up along the way jamming with my brother and friends in school. I didn’t really start to take guitar seriously until I began playing in rock and metal bands in college. I’m most proficient as a drummer and keyboardist.


I view myself more as a composer than as a performer of any one instrument, so I learned how to play each instrument just   because I needed to out of necessity to write! I’m not the sort of person to settle in my comfort zone, and that’s why I love Forever in Transit – it’s a no-holds-barred creative outlet and I can keep pushing and expanding and realizing my sound!

TMR: Do you think you’ll have any shows for Forever In Transit?


I would love to put a live show together, especially as I release more material.  The biggest challenge is that there are so many musicians involved, plus I play all of the keyboard and drum parts myself in studio.  I would need to find either a drummer or keyboardist, and make sure that I have all of the vocals covered. Backing tracks for the keyboard parts are an option, but I’d much rather hit the stage with a full lineup!  As I’m finishing the material for the next FiT LP, the line-up is starting to gel. Re:Connection features Eric Richardson on guitar, adding a lot of cool textural and atmospheric tones and effects, as well as Jeremy Schroeder, who contributed most of the guitar on States of Disconnection.

TMR: Explain how you came up with the name for your band and why it seemed to fit.


I spend a lot of time working with sound design and recording ambient soundscapes.  I recorded the very first track of States of Disconnection, the ambient opener Forever in Transit, on New Year’s Eve a few years back.  I’m terrible at naming things, but the impression I got hearing the song played back was of something sort of suspended in the air, never quite reaching its intended destination.  To me, “forever in transit” implies a focus on the journey and of growth rather than a fixation on the end goal or destination. I think it is a very appropriate name for this project because I intend for it to represent my growth as a composer and in a broader sense as a person.   I’ve met a lot of talented musicians and artists along the way and I want to feature them in the project as well. It’s a vehicle for the lessons I’ve learned along the way, the people I’ve met, and the experiences I’ve had. At its core, FIT is about taking the listener on a sonic journey without regard for established convention.


Forever in Transit - States of Disconnection - cover

TMR: You recently started to try to sing.  What motivated you to try? And what vocalists do you love and inspire you vocally and lyrically?


I’ve always wanted to try singing – there’s something that is just so intrinsically captivating and expressive about a great vocal performance.  Also, I’ve had a hell of a time trying to find vocalists that are a good fit for Forever in Transit. Initially, I felt that I would benefit from practicing singing, learning the mechanics of the voice and how to write “proper” vocal arrangements, and then to have the parts I write performed by a session vocalist.  I took private vocal lessons for a while and I feel I’ve really improved with practice. Again, I view myself more as a composer than as a performer, so I began singing to write better music! I think I will always have other vocalists fronting the material for FIT, but if nothing else, I can contribute a lot more. The vocal section of “Fractal Shards” is the first I’ve really contributed vocally to any project I’ve been a part of, and I think it turned out well if I may say so!


As far as my favorite vocalists, I’ve always loved Chino Moreno from Deftones. He has such an ethereal voice and his sense of melody is very unique.  Daniel Tompkins from Tesseract is fantastic as well – easily among the best live vocalists I’ve ever seen. Other vocalists that come to mind are Devin Townsend, Daniel Gildenlow from Pain of Salvation, Einar Solberg from Leprous, and Greg Puciato from The Black Queen and Dillinger Escape Plan.

TMR: Go into further detail about your astonishing debut album “States of Disconnection” and its themes and lyrics.  Describe your album for the people that haven’t heard it yet.


States is conceptually rooted in the theme of connectivity – how we engage with the world around us, including our sense of identity and community, and how we frame our reality.  Specifically, each song deals with a lapse in connection in some way. The World That Never Was explores how people tend to project into or escape into narratives – novels, video games, television series – essentially contextualizing their sense of reality with a work of fiction.  Level All Waves deals with the information overload that is so pervasive in modern society, and how it can numb us to extreme events as well as warp our sense of self and how we view those we perceive as “other”.  Glass Bridge was originally intended as a metaphor for one’s life goals and the treacherous, fragile path we have to walk to realize those goals.  One wrong step, the bridge goes down. Trial By Fire deals with humanity’s attempt to understand its own place in the universe, from a more existentialist standpoint, rationalizing our own existence.  It is one individual’s life-changing search within themself for these answers. The title track deals with the pain of separation, as one is separated from their friends and families – disconnect from a more interpersonal standpoint.  It ends with a more positive sentiment that disconnection is not necessarily a permanent or final state.


From a musical standpoint, it is an amalgam of the diverse forms of music that I’ve explored growing up, and my attempt to integrate those sounds into a cohesive whole that represents where I’m at as a composer.  With the exception of James Jagow’s guitar solos on Honor and States, I composed all of the music as well as lyrics.  I drew influence from progressive music, especially Dream Theater and Porcupine Tree, New Age and Ambient forms, fusion and world music.  My songwriting has also been heavily influenced by game music, which a whole diverse world itself! The way I approached writing the instrumental side is by viewing each instrument as a cog in a greater machine, rather than allowing any one instrument to take the forefront.  This was my first effort writing entirely on my own, so I felt that approach would be interesting in that I was the only ego in the room! I feel that unless a band has incredible chemistry, that interwoven approach much harder to pull off.




TMR: What bands have inspired you the most as an artist?


Dream Theater was my gateway into prog, and I have learned an invaluable amount of information from them by listening to/studying their material – everything from arrangement to synth sound design and constructing more long-form, instrumentally heavy songs.  What I love about Dream Theater is that their music always seems to take me on a journey, and that as adventurous as they can be, they maintain cohesion and their own sound. That is exactly what I want to achieve as a composer! Octavarium was I think the first album I heard from them start to finish.  Panic Attack from that record is one of my favorite covers to play on drums!


My biggest artistic influence at this point is Cynic.  They have such a unique blend of death metal, jazz fusion, world, prog – you name it – and their ethos and integrity as artists is admirable!  To me, they one of the most ground-breaking bands in the prog scene, not to mention all of the other projects that the members of Cynic have contributed to!  They are my benchmark for artistic freedom and a forward-thinking, convention-eschewing mentality. I had the incredible opportunity a view years back to take a few songwriting lessons from Paul Masvidal, Cynic’s vocalist and guitarist.  Carbon Based Anatomy is I think my all-time favorite song.  


TMR: Who are your favorite drummers and keyboardists?


Favorite drummers: Sean Reinert, Mike Portnoy, Gavin Harrison, Craig Blundell, David Garibaldi, Matt Garstka, and Baard Kolstad


Favorite keyboardists: Diego Tejeida, Jordan Rudess, Hiromi Uehara, Ludovico Einaudi, Nobuo Uematsu, Kevin Moore, and Daniel Pizarro


**Favorite at time of this interview and the first that come to mind!  There are so many incredible musicians out there – far too many to list!

TMR: Can you go into detail about the track you’re debuting “Fractal Shards”?  And what made you want to dip into the instrumental side of prog this time around?


Fractal Shards is a track that I wrote and demoed out around the same time I was finishing States of Disconnection.  It is inspired by the rendering of fractals – an often simple pattern is repeated unto itself, with no apparent structure initially, until after enough iterations a complex shape emerges.  This is a component of chaos theory, where the initial conditions and patterns of repetition have profound implications on the system later on, like the butterfly effect. This idea is represented by a large number of fairly simple, repetitive layers.  The track begins without any apparent structure, then as more and more layers come in, and the different parts are arranged together, the track evolves and develops a cohesive structure. The challenge I made for myself was to create a track that was interesting and engaging to the listener despite the repetitive nature of the song.  


Musically, I was heavily inspired by post-rock(bit of a phase!) as well as unconventional long-form prog tunes like Porcupine Tree’s Voyage 34 and Riverside’s Eye of the Soundscape.  I wanted to expand on the sonic pallet I was using so far for FIT, especially by exploring more diverse and effected guitar tones and getting more into synthesis and sound design.  Eric delivered on all fronts in that regards – he has a great collection of guitar pedals and other gear and is fantastic at designing tones. Coupled with Jeremy’s technical savvy and flexibility, all bases were more than covered from the guitar standpoint.  I performed most of the keyboard parts using my Roli Seaboard, which is a keyboard controller with a continuous silicone surface allowing for vastly more expression compared to a standard keyboard. It’s my favorite piece of gear I own! I decided to record Fractal as an interim release along with another unreleased track I had written around that same time, while working on the next full length album.   I’ve compiled these two tracks as a release called Re:Connection because, for me, it was a revisiting of the years I spent working on States of Disconnection.  As far as dipping into the instrumental side, that is honestly vastly more natural for me than writing with vocals in mind!  


At the earliest stages structure is unclear

Without warning, sudden changes appear.

A system of spiral complexity

Expanding endlessly

An unstable system of calculated error

All semblance of order derailed – It will eventually fail.

Each step amplified by the last

A thousand fractal shards in a system of disregard”

  • Fractal Shards, Forever in Transit


TMR: Who are some of your favorite bands that are newer or underground that you think are going to make a serious impact on the music scene? Namedrop, son!

There are a ton of great prog bands coming out of the Boston area – Native Construct, Thank You Scientist, Bent Knee, Astronoid, and In the Presence of Wolves – and each one is breathing a bit of new life into the scene.  For example, NC has ridiculously tight orchestral arrangements, TYS incorporates horns and violin into their sound, and Astronoid has this totally ethereal yet melodic approach to their sound. Other innovative prog bands that come to mind are Earthside, Agent Fresco, White Moth Black Butterfly, Disperse, Persefone, and Vola.  One trend that I’ve been enjoying the past few years is how much more attention is being paid to arrangement and sound design, which really serves to push the envelop as far as what a “conventional” band can sound like and achieve.


TMR: What albums are you looking forward to and what are your favorites so far in 2019?


I can’t wait to hear Devin Townsend’s new album, Empath.  I’m sure it will be a trip!  At the time of writing this, I’m currently listening to Dream Theater’s Distance Over Time – I’m about halfway through my first listen and so far it’s been very fun and refreshing!   Apparently Leprous is working on a follow-up to 2017’s Malina – stoked to hear more from them!  Also, Paul Masvidal is releasing a series of mini-albums this year titled Mystical Human Vessel – I’m incredibly excited to hear it.




TMR: Your favorite albums of all time?


Pretty much everything Cynic has released, Porcupine Tree’s last few albums, Haken’s Affinity and The Mountain, Deftone’s White Pony, Dream Theater’s Octavarium, Six Degrees, and Dramatic Turn of Events.   Megadeth’s Rust in Peace and Pantera’s Cowboys From Hell were my gateway into metal.  Mastodon’s Crack the Skye.  Isis’ In the Absence of Truth.  Blood by OSI.  Play With Fire by the Reign of Kindo.  The first four Devin Townsend Project albums.  A lot of Coheed and Cambria material would make the cut too.  There are too many to name, and I guarantee I’ll think of dozens more to include by the time this is published!!

TMR: You can only bring ten albums with you on a lengthy road trip…..whaddya got?


  1.  Carbon Based Anatomy – Cynic
  2.  Fear of a Blank Planet – Porcupine Tree
  3.  Hand. Cannot. Erase. – Steven Wilson
  4.  Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence – Dream Theater
  5.  White Pony – Deftones
  6.  In the Passing Light of Day – Pain of Salvation
  7.  Affinity – Haken
  8.  The Alchemy Index – Thrice
  9.  Blackwater Park – Opeth
  10. Fractured – Lunatic Soul



TMR: Your favorite piece of gear you own? Anything on your wishlist currently?

My Seaboard, hands down!!  It’s essentially an ultra-expressive MIDI controller with a continuous silicone playing surface.  Currently looking to upgrade my drum kit, probably a Tama Starclassic in some kinda of green or blue finish.  I’ve been hoping to pick up some sort of analog hardware synth soon as well! Maybe a Korg Monologue or one of Arturia’s synths.  


TMR: You collect vinyl & albums like any other artist….go into detail about your collection. Any new purchases?


I got into collecting vinyl about two years ago, and I think at this point I have about 100 albums.  I managed to find a copy of every release Cynic has put out to date including their EPs, Retracted and Carbon Based Anatomy which were really limited runs!  I found a copy of Carbon from a seller in Ukraine which thankfully was in great condition!  Last year Thrice put out a 10th anniversary version of The Alchemy Index which is just gorgeous.  The Alchemy Index is a series of 4 EPs each themed to the four classical elements, each of which has its own songwriting and production style.  Fire is raw and aggressive, whereas water is much more mellow and ambient, for example.

TMR: Any advice for aspiring artists and musicians you have learned along the way you’d like to share?
Write as much as possible.  Don’t procrastinate and wait for inspiration to strike.  I approach creativity more as something I open myself up to, and setting aside consistent times, almost like a regular 9-5 job, maximizes the chances that inspiration will manifest.  Obviously most of us cannot commit 40 hours a week to one artistic pursuit, unless it is one’s profession, but setting aside a designated and consistent time with clear cut goals goes very long way towards getting the most out of time spent.  In my opinion, it isn’t so much about the total time spent as it is the consistency and quality of time spent. Also, understand that you cannot realistically do everything yourself. I have been fortunate to have had incredible instructors as well as close friends that share my passion for music.  If you need to reinvent the wheel at every stage, you may end up with a unique end product, however it will take 10x longer to get to that point than it would to have had objective input or instruction in the required skills. On the other hand, I also find “sandbox” practice sessions – no goals, no expectations, just play and create – to be useful for breaking down creative barriers as well. Try setting a timer for an hour and seeing what you can create before the timer stops. You’ll be surprised at how much you’ll accomplish as well as how focused you can be despite the lack of goals or parameters!  Last year I released a mini-album of ambient tunes that all started as “one-hour songwriting experiments” I highly recommend checking out The War of Art by Stephen Pressfield!  It’s an exploration of creativity as well as overcoming the resistance we face with any creative/artistic endeavor.

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.


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.




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.