Native Construct Guitarist Poh Hock announces new EP and “Evil Eye” Guitar Playthrough

Native Construct guitarist Poh Hock has announced an instrumental EP he’s putting out April 15th titled “ATMA” and released this new song through a guitar playthrough titled “Evil Eye”.  Sounds like Hock is going heavier on his solo EP, just based off this one song.  This headbanger takes you through a whirlwind of great work as expected by a guitarist as clean, fluent, and precise as Hock.  Am I surprised? No! But this kinda answers the question why Native Construct has been “asleep” so to say… least we get new music from their guitarist! Check out the track below, and preorder the album if you dig the tune!


Hybridism Self Titled EP

Instrumental djenters Hybridism have released their debut EP last week.  The band brings a lot more to their sound than just being heavy.  In the new era of metal where extended range guitars of 7+ strings tend to be of larger use to the younger crowd, a lot of those bands tend to have the same rhythms and ideas to an extent.  I’m glad to report these guys are far from that.  They’re artistic, melodic, and solid composers especially for a debut EP.  I heard lots of great melodies paired with their dynamic rhythms, some more subtle than others that stuck out more.  The fluent guitar is one big aspect that drew me in.  All the licks man, all the licks. The feeling in the guitar leads is really worthy of repeating. Lots of players tend to get lost in speed and forget about putting emotion and mood into their guitar work.



Guitars – Jeffrey Wallace
Guitars – Alex Kpp
Bass Guitar – Mulli Mulles
Drums – Lucas Billon


The band’s empowering rhythm section really drives their sound.  Jeff and Alex are stellar guitarists, but are lucky to have a stellar drummer and bassist to keep them on point.  Hybridism has that laid back western USA Animals As Leaders vibe, which isn’t a bad thing by any means.  If you aren’t really into the genre, try these guys out for size.  They’re not your stereotypical djent metal band, and they’re instrumental to boot if you’re not one for an aggressive vocal set.  They pack a lot of atmosphere into there sound, and a little bit of synth too.  Hybridism has a fairly expansive sound, and brings that wall of sound directly to those ears of yours.




Hybridism is really a good band, and in my opinion is off to a great start in their short existence with their self titled debut EP.  Check it out below and if you live within the realms of Belgium what is there to lose? Go check them out live!

Dream Theater- Distance Over Time

One big reason why I was swayed into the progressive realms are the legendary lads of Dream Theater.  Now before I state my opinion on this album, I’m gonna blabber whether you agree or not. Mike Portnoy IS an amazing songwriter and artist, and does have a huge impact on songwriting.  Was his ego getting worse wanting to make money with Avenged Sevenfold as a fill in? He suggested a “break”, but ended up helping out those guys… was it for the better? That’s up to you, as we all have a right to an opinion.  For the sake of chemistry, yes.  There were so many great drummers that auditioned in the likes of Marco Minneman, Derek Roddy, and their current drummer Mike Mangini.  Portnoy isn’t coming back, and has even hung out with guitar master John Petrucci on many occasions stating they’re still friends.  Yeah it sucks, considering the wild amount of songs he’s written and talent he possesses but that’s life.  Mangini himself was/is a drum teacher at Berklee of Boston, as most of the band was originally attending that college in it’s early days.  Portnoy isn’t coming back, they’re getting older and we have to appreciate the time they have left on this earth as musicians let alone as humans.  For all you know, they could bow out gracefully like the mighty Rush did with Neil Peart’s health issues.  I for one, hope they keep going and composing stellar music. Another thing I admire about Dream Theater is their split tours, as they’re all family men.  We all need time with our spouses and children, and don’t go on crazy lengths of tour cycles.  They’re not reckless alcoholics or addicts who just live it up to their fullest for that high.  They’re gentlemen, and respectable ones at the least for that.

Now for the people in the back……this is their best album since Mangini joined the band.  WHAT? Let me explain my opinion before you all freak out. I loved Dramatic Turn of Events, but there was an internet (can’t believe everything you see on it!) rumor that Portnoy had his parts composed.  Mangini came in, and played Portnoy’s finished drum parts that the guys showed him to.  Is that true? I don’t know, it’s just one of those dumb rumors.  It was still heavy, pretty melodic and the lyrics had some stellar meaning.  It wasn’t too over the top, and still a well written album.   On the first album where Mangini composed his own drum parts was the self titled album.  That album was pretty cool, especially the huge ass song “Illumination Theory” with that emotional middle section of the keyboards and rainforest sounds.  It’s a wild, beautiful and epic 23 minute ride.  I think it’s better than some people give it credit for.  And for the black sheep in the room…..the only time I personally put disappoint and Dream Theater in the same sentence was for 2016’s “The Astonishing”.  They have put together a few of the better concepts of the last 4 decades, and well this concept album just bored the hell out of me. The music was okay, and the storyline was a bit boring to me…..I tried several times to get into it, believe me.  When there’s “Scenes From a Memory”, that last album was nowhere near in the same realm as “Scenes”.

Now for the latest album, “Distance Over Time”.  I think the guys wanted more clear, concise music without as much of the wild instrumental sections that took up a couple of minutes at some points.  And, maybe LaBrie wanted more consistent vocal sections rather than a few sections of around 4 minutes then another 5 minutes of epic instrumental sections.  It’s a more melodic and tamed album from a wildly innovated and experimental band.  Is it for every Dream Theater fan? Maybe not.  I think they crammed a perfect amount of music and notes, and not too much to where it’s overwritten (if you know what I mean, musicians).  Sometimes music needs room to breathe, and doesn’t need to have a billion notes played per minute.  There were actually some quicker sections rhythmically, believe it or not.  Petrucci’s guitar solos were stellar, as usual.  The more I listened I think he went for a similar mission…..the younger John would have shredded his arse off with some feeling.  I think the older he’s gotten, he’s grown accustom for feeling and emotion rather than speed.  Sometimes you need the right style and melody of a guitar solo that connects a song, rather than a sweet “Lines In The Sand” solo that’s like a whole song within itself.  I was all over his “Rock Discipline” effort and constantly jammed to it as a fellow guitarist, which his chromatic influence in his guitar leads inspired me to use that style.  Playing along to his exercises then influenced my style in that sense, to say the least.


John Myung (bass), Jordan Rudess (keyboards), James LaBrie (vocals), Mike Mangini (drums), and John Petrucci (guitars)

The complaint I’ve seen is people think Mangini’s drumming is robotic…..well, I don’t really agree with that.  I think he’s doing a stellar job, and this latest release proves it.  He has some great fills, and also does what a really good drummer does…..keep the groove. Sometimes less is more, and sometimes more is needed.  I fully believe Mike Mangini understands that, and has damn near perfectly executed that on “Distance Over Time”.  His partner in crime in the rhythm section the ever so talented John Myung on bass really shines, as he normally does.  The extremely quiet human being is awfully loud on this album, methinks. Album after album he consistently keeps a great groove, and some sweet fills to keep their music spicy and flavorful.

LaBrie’s voice was pretty good, and the one thing I’ve always dug about him was his ability to portray the right emotions at the right time.  He has the right tone and melodic ideas vocally over their mellow and quieter parts….a stellar vocal performance.  Jordan’s keyboards weren’t as upfront lead wise, and took a different direction with the band as well.  John and Jordan have a few sweet harmonies on the record, which is always killer to hear.  Rudess went more into the background, enhancing the melody and backing up John during his wild guitar solos (like during “At Wit’s End”…..just great keyboard work, as usual).  It was weird to hear from such an expressive keyboard player, but you know it’s Rudess based on his style.  Don’t worry, his keys were the main instrument of the ballad “Out Of Reach”.  Overall, I think the band blended that more controlled yet still melodic and progressive style they have always had.  They had a better grasp at it, and really refined that sound.  Similar to when Rush refined their sound after the 1970’s going into the 1980’s.  Is it bad? Again, that’s up to you but I think it’s as cool.  All they did was fit more music in shorter 5 to 9 minute songs instead of a handful of songs for a 75 minute progressive offering.  “Distance Over Time” is definitely a more mature and precise output from a generally wild Progressive Metal band, who has put out their best album since “A Dramatic Turn Of Events”.  I might even be willing to say close to the same level (of my favorite modern era Dream Theater of the last 15 years) as the great “Black Clouds And Silver Linings”.  Give this album a shot, and understand the band’s vision.  It’s a great album that shouldn’t be picked apart negatively and passed on just because one main cog isn’t in the band anymore.  Listen to it with open ears and minds please.  It’s a fantastic album.  Thanks Dream Theater, for another stellar output! And thank you for getting me into the wild world of progressive music, as well.


Trayen Burke releases single “Gravity”

Constructs guitarist Trayen Burke has gone on his own adventure while his mainstay is recording a follow up to their EP “Shapes”.  He has been hinting at working on his own music and this GLORIOUS track dropped, and absolutely love it.  Constructs is an instrumental djent band, inspired by heavier atmospheric layers and melody.  But what I dig about Burke’s sound (based off one song) is it’s a bit more technical, and just as heavy as Constructs… it isn’t exactly the same.  Give your ears something different, tasty, heavy and soulful. Correct me if I’m wrong, but it looks like that’s Jared from Rivers Of Nihil on drums? Maybe my eyes are deceiving me? If “Gravity” is a sign of things to come, then wow……we’re in for a treat. If Constructs releases new music this year we will have two great releases from Trayen! Check out the awesome song below and pay attention to both of his projects!

Under The Pledge Of Secrecy- Black Hole Mass Evolution

Want a totally wacky, heavy energetic metal band that doesn’t repeat themselves? Under The Pledge Of Secrecy has you covered! This two man metal project blends a lot of subgeneres into their own band its wild! There’s a lot of extreme metal, grindcore and mathcore influence in “Black Hole Mass Evolution”……in the end, it’s their own wild and chaotic sound.  This wild album was released all the way back in 2014, but they are working on a new album that should be out this year in 2019.  Under The Pledge Of Secrecy has been around since 2005.

Stefan K. – Vocals & Drums
Thorsten S. – Guitars & Bass

The guitar is absolutely crisp and blistering.  The varying speeds make for an interesting album, and isn’t a predictable style.  After listening to this record a few times through, I’m now extra interested in hearing what their upcoming record is going to sound like.  They’re as weird as The Dillinger Escape Plan were, and blend a lot of sounds the deeper you travel into this album.  The duo has blended a unique sound, you truly can’t categorize them……kinda like Primus, who doesn’t fit in a specific genre but once you say their name you totally know their sound.  Under The Pledge Of Secrecy is THAT unique.

The drumming is absolutely off the wall.  Considering the different speeds and tempos, it has to be difficult to keep up on the drumming end of things.  The bass is absolutely punishing on this record.  I love how the snare drum sounds on this, production wise.  It pops so loud and stands out it’s like a classic grindcore album to a tee, even some new school brutal/slamming death metal.  The band has done a stellar job crafting classic and modern extreme metal that should bridge both generations together.  Stay up to date with the band’s actions in regards to their yet to be titled 2019 release! I’m really looking forward to it!

Denis Shvarts- Dreamology


Dark Matter Secret mastermind Denis Shvarts released his second solo effort “Dreamology”.  It’s a pretty different sound compared to his wildly technical instrumental band, but still has that trademark sound he’s achieved.  His first album “Through The Universe” came out in 2014, but the further I went into “Dreamology” the more I came to the realization it’s more polished.  His debut album was raw, yet still very heavy.  I feel his newer release is well written AND produced, his sound is wider and more melodic than the first album.  This guy is so underrated its sickening, and not many people know of his wild talents on guitar.


Lineup for “Dreamology”:
Denis Shvarts – Guitars & Music
Pavel Semin – Fretless Bass (Dark Matter Secret, Irreversible Mechanism)

Here’s a playthrough from “Dreamology”.  You’ll see another video below of how his projects differ in sound…..his own moniker is more melodic, a bit less wild and more diverse.  

Shvarts’ playing has caught my eye since I heard his band’s full length “Perfect World Creation” 2 years ago.  He has the talent where he makes music, not boring and annoying shred repeating the same pattern…..OVER, AND OVER.  Denis will surprise you at every chance he gets, and then some.  Give his second album a try, it’s extremely entertaining and a bit jazzy at times.  There’s a rock sound in here, that isn’t obviously present in Dark Matter Secret.  Pavel’s bass playing is absolutely flawless.  The two of them have a great chemistry and understand each other PERFECTLY.

And here’s the mighty Dark Matter Secret.  You can tell the total difference in sound right away…..much more technical, heavier, extreme and the rhythms are more complex and weirder than his solo project.  Either band is a stellar choice, but both don’t necessarily sound the same.

“Dreamology” is out now and available on his bandcamp.  It will eventually be on the Apple platforms sooner than later.  Check out the album below! Enjoy this amazing piece of music!

Wounds Self Titled EP

Chicago based technical death metal group Wounds recently released their self titled EP and since I’ve seen it in many places on the deep dark web…..I think its time to promote it.  After seeing some people share it around and even more in groups…..I think it’s a perfect time to listen to this beast a few times through.  Yeah….it’s a beast.  The Warforged guys were one of the first I saw the link for Wounds, and then more people starting promoting the band.  Let me tell you, it was worth checking out to say the least.  They have enough technicality to keep your ears entertained, but are laid back enough to where they just rip some serious groove.  It’s quite a ride!


Red “David Lee Roth” Beard- Vocals
Rick Mora- Guitar
Franco Caballero- Bass
Nate Burgard-  Drums

The drums are absolutely powerful, and as up front as could be in the mix without dominating it too much.  Nate’s fills are so sweet they never get old and as I type this is my 3rd time through they’re as nasty as they were the first listen!  The vocals have a great mix of all 3 low mid and high ranges, very impressive.  The string work on both guitar and bass are absolutely brutally devastating.  The riffs are so disgusting, but get tech enough to where Rick isn’t repeating the same style and pattern to the point it bores you.  His riffs are varied and tasty, NOT repetitive and bland.  Franco’s bass just adds to the sound attack that is Wounds.

For a new band I just heard about, damn am I impressed.  But looking back and facebook creeping them they were originally called “Wounds Of Ruin” in 2006.  They did play with Dying Fetus in 2012, so there’s their technical metal credentials. Wounds has a massive wall of sound, where I believe they bridge the late 90’s/2000’s tech heads to the newer wave of the 2010 technical metal fans.  And again to repeat, they have enough of it to interest your average metalhead……which is the obvious and very valid complaint of people not into technical metal. Some say its overdone, which is very provable and plausible….there’s some bands I don’t listen to because there isn’t some form of songwriting it’s like its 5 musicians practicing! In this case however, Wounds is NOT in that mix….and have 5 great songs you can check out below.  Keep your ears open and stay tech!

The Ritual Aura Official Premiere Of New Song “Elysian Flesh-Divinity”

How fitting that TMR’S 300th article is a premiere from an amazing band?! No disrespect to the awesome music I’ve premiered before, I didn’t know of those bands before we communicated.  This instance however…..I’ve been following The Ritual Aura shortly after the debut was released and have an emotional connection and already know the band.  I am extremely honored and excited with permission from the guys to premiere their first single from their upcoming album “Velothi” titled “Elysian Flesh-Divinity”.  The Ritual Aura still bring the heat, don’t worry people.  And how freaking sweet is that we got this track, just in time for their monthly artist showcase for this month? Dumb luck I gotta say, but awesome! What I dig about the band is their personal will, and listening to their own artistic desires and what to write…..their guitarist Levi personally told me that “this album has been no-rules so far as writing goes”.  Well hot dang, are they EVER accomplishing that.

Maybe you all might give them the Irreversible Mechanism treatment, but open your ears and minds people.  It took me a few listens to come around to “Immersion”, and to understand their sound and mission as artists.  I love “Infinite Fields”, but the second album is a different sound I legit had to “immerse” (HA HA) myself in it and be taken away figuratively to another world.

In regards to The Ritual Aura, it’s not as “tech” as their previous work….but I’ll be damned. It’s a progressive, melodic adventure with SO MANY LAYERS! Strings, singing, and shredly guitar work from their amazing duo.  There’s a bit of black metal influence here channeling their inner Immortal or Dissection and that raw black metal sound Opeth had on their first 3 albums.  I love it, because it’s different.  TRA never had a black metal sound I’ve seriously noticed until now…..and I love it.  I didn’t need a few listens to enjoy the new song…..I think it was a great change in pace from their wildly technical sound, and something more melodic with some black metal and strings mixed in for a wild song.  I hope you all enjoy the track as much as I did!



Last Of Lucy’s Brandon Millan drops drum playthrough for “Advertent Avidity”

The Last Of Lucy’s drummer Brandon Millan released a playthrough for the band’s song “Advertent Avidity” off their latest album “Ashvattha”.  The band is working on recording new material, but that’s all we can find for now…..but at least we know the wild band is working on new music! His drum work is an absolute pleasure and got to see the band live last summer, and can confirm his insanity on the kit.  Enjoy the playthrough and don’t forget to keep tabs on the band with their eventual new music!

Equipoise release “Waking Divinity” Guitar and Bass Playthrough

It’s no secret to the metal world Nick doesn’t tour…..but his bandmates Phil Tougas (guitar) and Hugo Doyon-Karout (bass) have time to do an Equipoise playthrough of “Waking Divinity”!  You shouldn’t be shocked at the wizardly fret work of both players, always worth seeing such wild songs translated to a playthrough is always mesmerizing…..and that’s what these lads just did.  The real question is……where’s Nick? Is he in the back of a dumpster at Chili’s again? It’s HIS band…..why isn’t he in his OWN videos? He started the band…..he doesn’t know his own songs? What the heck? Anyways, check out the amazing playthrough video below courtesy of their label The Artisan Era.  Maybe if Nick toured, he would be in his own band’s playthrough videos…..maybe.