Avikari is a melodic instrumental band that recently released a killer new song “Timeless”. It’s a great mix of modern progressive metal with more melody and some electronic sampling too. The project is based out of Vancouver, where the water is really good and breed some great artists. If you wanna try something different, melodic and really prog with some technicality mixed in Avikari really rips. Listen to their latest release below and stay in tune with what they’re releasing!
Instrumental Progressive Fusion band Ad Astra dropped their self titled album and I’m here to blabber all about it! The guys have put out a more than stellar output, to be honest with you all. The guitar work is absolutely brilliant, and does what it has to do…..some fusion guitarists just aimlessly noodle (like technical death metal occasionally, too) without a good song structure. Well, I’m relieved to say Ad Astra goes against that generalization big time. The band has worked together to create compositions, not just a band aimlessly playing their instrument. There’s great melody, sweet keyboard work as well, and some killer rhythms.
The drummer holds a solid and steady output on the kit, while maintaining great flavor in the recipe of Ad Astra’s music. The bassist holds a fine steady rhythm, and is totally locked in with the drummer’s parts. He also has some sweet fills, that compliment when the keys and guitar when they have leads and vice versa. The mood is ever so relevant in the band’s album. Considering how laid back their sound can be and then bust out of nowhere like a bat out of hell. I really dig what these guys are doing, and have clearly thought their music. Head over to their website to check out more on the band, their music, and upcoming shows. While you’re there, grab a physical copy of this album! I might just do the same!
Instrumental Progressive Jam Band Tortoise Forest released their debut album this past Saturday January 12th at their show at the Mohawk Place in Buffalo. I was lucky enough to receive the album on release day to help the band promote, and I jumped at the opportunity! With tons of repetitive genres around the area (let alone anywhere else) this band is very artsy and original, which is something I love personally. The guys dive deep into their original sound, letting loose as much as they possibly can. Tortoise Forest has created an impressive and eclectic sound with surprises around every corner. There’s plenty of melody, wild effects, and killer groove that’ll entertain people of all ages and backgrounds.
Dan Gagliardi – (Drums/Pads)
Mike Cassidy – (Guitar, Pedals)
Max Davis – (Guitar, Pedals, Samples)
Tom Varco – (Bass, Pedals)
All four band members groove hard, and are totally in sync. There’s all sorts of random audio samples from movies or TV shows in their music (and the one time I saw them live too!) which adds more flavor to their original sound. I was so impressed with their sound I haven’t seen them since then! Cut a guy a break, there’s so much music to check out it’s tough to be in multiple places at once…..mmkay? Point is, they’re a well oiled machine and built well for the long haul and not playing in scraggly bars. Their self titled album is a beautiful, melodic machine for the patient and artsy. People with short attention spans will wanna stay away……unless if you dig Short Attention Span Theatre (har har)!
The guitar work is absolutely blistering, and a great rhythm section that keeps their entertaining and diverse music alive every single moment. Tortoise Forest has configured a wide array of sounds that will keep you guessing what they’ll be doing next. I do know for a fact the guys will be booking heavily for some bigger shows and opportunity so they may be getting out of Western New York and playing in other areas sooner than later. I really love this band and wish them nothing but the best. Along with Anabasis the guys may have released one of the area’s independent releases so far of 2019 (with others expected from Divinex, Turning Virtue, Forever In Transit, Squatch, and plenty of others around Western and Central New York I may not know of off the top of my head right now).
Thrailkill is a sweet instrumental progressive metal band that released this album “Everything That Is You” last year. After giving it a decent ear, I really dig this band even more. They’re not your typical instrumental metal band…..there’s much. much more to them than they lead on. The band members went to the Musicians Institute in California, so you know where that leads musically at least…..some pretty killer songs. They have a modern take on instrumental music (laid back instrumental bands like Chon, Animals As Leaders, Plini and Polyphia let’s say). Don’t worry, they’re still heavy enough…..but not obscenely heavy.
Guitars – Wes Thrailkill
Drums – Lang Zhao
Bass – Yas Nomura
The music is moody, melodic and wild. It’s a modern take on progressive music, with some killer guitar work from Wes who is a beast I’m gonna have to admit. The guy came up with some sweet, chunky riffs….and equally as beautiful chord progressions with a decent clean sound in his setup to boot. He can not only rip an emotional lead (especially some of my favorite clean leads he took throughout the record), but can easily hold his own when he wants to go crazy. The rhythm section of Lang and Yas keep it tight with some of his bass peeking out every now and then in the songs. They have created a masterful, wide and sonic sound for a 3 piece instrumental band. Keep tabs on these dudes, as this is really phenomenal. You can check out the record here and take part in some of their merchandise like a wall flag with limited quantity left!
Jason Rodriguez is a melodic progressive metal instrumentalist who released a stellar album last year titled “HeartStrings”. He is not of the norm for an instrumentalist….sure he’s a great guitar player but he’s not a “show off” if you know what I mean. He’s written an album based on rhythm and music….not a bunch of awesome sounding noodling, and I think it’s pretty sweet. Jay locks down a groove pretty dang well, and there’s also all sorts of synth and electronics for you club goers. It’s great to see more artists expand their repertoire and try something new just like another similar artist I really dig Infinitee (even Divinex).
I do dig his guitar work outside of his meaty, groovy djenty riffs. He has a melodic style that is very heartfelt, not a wild guitar clinic. His playing is very emotional, pretty much anything but robotic. If you wanna try something new Jason Rodriguez is a great place to start. His mix of metal and electronic music make it very dynamic and entertaining…..either sound doesn’t totally overpower the other, to be honest. “HeartStrings” is a well written album for modern instrumental music. Somebody get this guy to open up for Animals As Leaders or Plini STAT!
The Pathos And Logos guys released “Black Budget” a couple months ago. For the guys, I personally think this track is equally as good as “Mergers And Acquisitions”. What really stood out this time around is it’s slightly shorter, and really is a huge nod to modern instrumental prog metal. If you dig the first two Animals As Leaders albums, you’ll love this track of the two they have posted. This is like their “Cafo”, but with a moodier output.
That opening melody on guitar is just the start of some sweet things to come on “Black Budget”. If you need a change in new music, or a testament that there isn’t “anything out there”…..which to me is an excuse because you’re just way too lazy to check out new bands with this invention we have called the internet. Pathos And Logos presents a fresh sound to the instrumental movement, and wish nothing but the best for the guys. If you’re into this style, they’ll satisfying your musical cravings without a doubt. Check out the song below!
Brave The Waters is an Instrumental Melodic Psych/Prog Rock duo releasing their first full length “Chapter 2 Days Of Solitude” after their debut EP in 2017. The band is premiering their laid back and atmospheric track “Above The Broken Clouds” right here, right now! This atmospheric trip will help you relax and chill the fuck out for a change with some of the wild and obnoxious music I promote. I hope you enjoy this track and hope you support this cool band!
BRAVE THE WATERS:
Rick Habeeb – Guitar
Tom Anderer – Bass
Instrumental Progressive Metal Duo Pathos And Logos unleashed a killer track upon us unworthy earthlings. “Mergers And Acquisitions” brings a great well rounded sound to the table with not just lots of heavy sections, but lots of mood and phenomenal guitar melodies provided by Kyle. Paul’s drumming perfectly compliments his riffs and melodies, totally zoning in on their sound. I really dig how inconsistent the band is, with surprises and mood changes around every corner.
From progressive music to rock to metal to some jazzy sections and some classic rock mixed in on some of the guitar leads as well, Pathos And Logos brings a diverse sound to the dinner table waiting to be feasted. I’m an obvious cheerleader of instrumental bands It would be sweet to see more Animals As Leaders/Polyphia/Plini/Intervals on the forefront, fucking shit up in bigger festivals and tours changing the face of music. This sort of music is for the artsy and open minded, dive into this great track and keep track of the dudes in their musical adventure.
Hello folks! I am back with my second “Best Of” Awards article…..but with more sections to spice things up. Newcomer Vick wrote hers and I’m here with my valued or unvalued opinion with some possible bias. The numbers aren’t important in my article I DO NOT RANK I just list my favorite albums. I’m going to apologize right meow as I have a lot of categories if it’s too long…..but then again its for a full year and there were lots of GREAT releases and new bands starting up that should be put to the forefront. I hope you enjoy the new categories too. Let’s get it on!
Up and Coming Bands
Inanimate Existence– Artisan Era (my favorite label) tech/prog death metal powerhouses released a great album “Underneath A Melting Sky” in 2017 and Guitarist Cameron Porras’ songwriting and playing only gets better every release. The guys work great as a cohesive three piece band. If they get put on the Summer Sumerian/Slaughter/Summer’s Disappointment tour or a big festival like Download/Hellfest/Graspop they would kick the shit out of the same pop metal bands that have graced some of those stages. I have a lot of faith in this band and are vastly underrated. Keep an eye on the IE dudes.
Dischordia– Oklahoma dissonant/tech/progressive death metallers released a great EP that is the most experimental and original thing I have heard in a bit in the genre. It’s becoming blatantly obvious how much I love the different experiments some death metal bands are doing. If a genre stays stagnant…..are you really making any progression? Does one ALWAYS have to abide by the rules and stereotype of a genre? NO! As artists, we hate feeling creatively suffocated (so to say) to a label and want to write what we want and how we want! Dischordia just keeps pushing that envelope and their crazy 2 song 24 minute EP “Binge/Purge” really surprised me. Earlier this year I heard the guys and it blew my mind. Ukulele, Flute, Mandolin and other various instruments are included in their latest release. Also, there is a plethora of heavy influence of dissonance and cool rhythms the trio has come up with. Every release Dischordia’s sound and songwriting has progressed “Binge/Purge” has really helped push their experimentation to the forefront. Keep an eye on them as well. Below is my article of the EP stream through Decibel Magazine to get your Dischordia on!
Dischordia- Binge/Purge EP stream via Decibel Magazine
Burial In The Sky– Another great up and coming band that’s helping break that stereotypical extreme metal sound. Why do I dig this band a lot? Their latest album “Creatio Et Hominus” includes a lot of saxophone! The band also has hits of psychadelic rock sprinkled throughout the album. BITS has been pushing progressive death metal’s boundaries as well. Their first few offerings were more straightforward but got real experimental with the album. They’re a young and promising band who you need to look out for. Originality and talent can make for a promising career….and I hope Burial In the Sky achieves everything they want to because they deserve it.
Burial In The Sky April 2018 Interview
BEST EP’S AND SINGLES OF 2018
- Mordant Rapture- The Abnegation
- Carnal Decay- When Push Comes To Shove
- Dischordia- Binge/Purge
- Widow’s Peak- Graceless
- Infinitee- The Possibilities Are Endless
- I Am Destruction- Violence Devours
- Between The Buried And Me- Automata 1
- Divine Realm- Nordicity
- Leprous- Golden Prayers (Single)
- Cynic- Humanoid (Single)
- Between The Buried And Me- Automata 2
- The Odious Construct- Shrine Of The Obscene
- Godless- Swarm
- Oppressor God- Mechanical Manslaughter
- Promethean- The Nameless Colour
- Weaponex- In The Nick Of Time
- Infinite Nomad- Luminous Throat
- Catalysis- Catalysis
- Astrolabe- The Hermit, The Fool, The Hanged Man
- Crevassian- Crevassian
- Fawn Limbs- Thrum
- Ash prison- Prophetic Automation
BEST ALBUMS OF 2018
- Oubliette- The Passage
- Aethereus- Absentia
- Obscura- Diluvium
- Jollymon- Voidwalker
- Lago- Sea Of Duress
- Xenosis- Devour And Birth
- The Beast Of Nod- Vampire: Disciples Of Chaos
- AHTME- Sewerborn
- Burial In The Sky- Creatio Et Hominus
- Unflesh- Savior
- Alkaloid- Liquid Anatomy
- The Slyde- Awakening
- At The Gates- To Drink From The Night Itself
- Skinless- Savagery
- Galactic Empire- Episode Two
- ISA- Chimera
- Ingested- The Level Above Human
- Inferi- Revenant
- Aepoch- Awakening Inception
- Slugdge- Esoteric Malacology
- Augury- Illusive Golden Age
- Rivers Of Nihil- Where Owls Know My Name
- Montheist- Scourge
- Alterbeast- Feast
- Decrescent- Blackened Bequest
- Forever In Transit- States Of Disconnection
- Pestilence- Hadeon
- Into The Great Divide- Into The Great Divide
- Aviations- The Light Years
- Soreption- Monument Of The End
- Exocrine- Molten Giant
- Trigger- The Harbor
- Serocs- Phobos/Deimos Suite
- Cognitive- Matricide
- Haken- Vector
- Gorod- Aethra
- Internal Bleeding- Corrupting Influence
- The Ocean- Phanerozoic 1: Palaeozoic
- Neptunus- Alien Conspiracy
- Torturous Inception- Arcane Dominion
- Dysmorphic- An Illusive Progress
- Inertia- Teratoma
- Kraanium- Slamchosis
- Sarah Longfield- Disparity
- Psycroptic- As The Kingdom Drowns
- Arsis- Visitant
- Halothane- A False Reality
- Zac Leaser- Redeemer
- Gourmand- Blossoming From The Grave
- Tesseract- Sonder
Best Independent Bands
- Bleak flesh
What releases I’m looking forward to in 2019
- Bleak Flesh
- Inanimate Existence
- Black Crown Initiate
- The Haarp Machine
- Opeth (maybe a single? Just…maybe?)
- Animals As Leaders
- Scar Symmetry
- Aepoch (maybe?)
- Abbath (maybe?)
- Anabasis already won the best local release of 2019 already unless something changes my mind. If you supported the Syracuse band’s campaign, you would have received a digital download of their upcoming album “Of Conviction” due out officially in January. If you want to grab a cd or some merchandise to help out the lads on their debut full length, go ahead and do so right here.
- Turning Virtue
- The Tao Of Davey K
- Fire Garden
- Fields Of Elysium (I hope!)
- A Novelist
- The Zenith Passage
- Fractal Universe
- The Ocean
- Devin Townsend
- The Ritual Aura
Personal Favorite Music Industry Trends of 2018
- Increasing number of bands doing as much as they can independently. Record labels are becoming bigger blood suckers. Props to the increasing number of musicians going this route, also really great for more income coming back their way.
- More instrumental bands! I love seeing instrumental bands! Not every band needs a vocalist, or music needs a singer….the music can sing on its own. Remember classical music? It was instrumental, then opera singers came along. It’s just good to change it up….ya know, like Divinex or The Surrealist.
- The Artisan Era signing so many killer bands that are only strengthening their roster that has been a label since 2014. A grassroots label run by guys in bands ON THAT LABEL there’s no suits involved….a label made by musicians, run by musicians, for musicians. How can you not love the rise of The Artisan Era? OKAY, maybe if you don’t like or appreciate technical death metal and instrumental bands I guess I could see it. How many did they add in 2018? Like 10 bands? But….10 GREAT BANDS.
Best TMR Moments of 2018
- That wild voting race for the website’s May artist of the month….who remembers? And, who voted? That was fun!
- Getting a handful or more of EP, song and video premieres throughout the website’s first 10-ish months of being online. Hard work pays off, promote yourself and your work….make connections. I’m grateful for the friendships and opportunities I have been given in the short time Technical Music Review has been online. I’m equally as humbled for all the music I have received through many sources. Being a musician and music freak I have learned of so many solid bands through this short journey. And to boot, I also premiered a few playthroughs as well….the musician in me absolutely enjoyed them!
- Becoming the Prime Minster of Indonesia. Not really, but seriously though their music scene is very killer and uncovered. I discovered a few bands towards the end of the year from there and developing a growing interest in that country’s metal scene. I’m buddy-buddy with a small record label from there and a band from said label. It’s a tech driven country with plenty of death metal bands too. Check out a few of their bands right here.
2018’S BIGGEST DISAPPOINTMENTS
Yeah there are always letdowns it’s a big part of life. Let me dive into some from 2018.
- Machine Head’s shitty album Catharsis. This album was so bad, it forced two of it’s long time members to quit. Now you’re talking about someone who has been a big fan of Machine Head since I got into them during the Ashes Of Empires era. Besides The Burning Red and Supercharger I loved this band. I’m more Conservative than anything, and even with their Liberal lyrics I still appreciate their emotion opinions and stellar musicianship. I get it, most musicians are Democrats or Liberal to an extent. Rob Flynn has had a solid career as a musician but the last few years have gotten bad and leading up to Catharsis (to me at least) was a totally different band. It’s like his songwriting was uninspired and teenager like (random lyrics about sex, drug use, and not to mention bringing back nu metal to the band sound) for a band that has put out much deeper sets of lyrics. I try to get in bed with the album, and every time I have to leave. “Is There Anybody Out There?” was an absolutely awful song and a rant most likely about Phil Anselmo. I had a bad feeling if their upcoming album was going to be like this song, it was going to be rough….and in my eyes I think it was. I thought when Robb posted the acoustic set of “Bastards” I envisioned it as another rant and spur of the moment song venting frustration….I DID NOT EXPECT IT TO BE A MACHINE HEAD SONG! Voilatile is a good song musically, but when I heard he admitted he wrote the lyrics after the Charlotteville attacks was even more sketchy. As soon as a big event happens, you decide to write song lyrics about it…..and bitch about politics again. How, original. Let’s see if the band is done forever, or he can pull more rabbits out of his ass like he did for Ashes Of Empires and arguably the band’s greatest effort The Blackening. Oh, and the whole band costume thing is kinda gay…..like KISS gay.
- Threatin. Yeah that shit was rough too. Great for the guy he self booked and funded a European tour for his music, but feel bad for the poor bastards that temporarily took part in this shitshow. Nobody bought the guy’s merchandise or even went to the shows. I feel just as bad for the bands that opened up for the few shows Threatin played. Just an absolute embarrassment all around. To play devil’s advocate, it is pretty impressive logistically how the guy pulled this thing off financially and got artists to play his music (well for a few shows at least). Disappointing to say the least but was there any stigma at all when he booked? Was it his fucked up masterplan that was to create a huge online presence (after he bought many Facebook likes) and promote himself? We won’t really know…or will we?
- Unique Leader Records and their fuckery. COME AT ME BRO! It’s true, and their ever-growing laundry list of bands that have left the label is just insane. They keep signing so many bands to the point they’re overloading their roster and also possibly ignoring bands. Death metal made that label, modern metal bands are filling up their roster and the number of bands on the record label is sky rocketing unlike The Challenger. With the unfortunate passing of label founder Erik Lindmark (Deeds of Flesh), other label coworkers took over the work in Erik’s absence. It took them over a month to put some of their releases on Bandcamp, and kept making excuses (when it doesn’t take long) why they haven’t yet. They recently signed another band, and I mentioned it again on their facebook announcement of another generic death core band. They ignored and asked me if I listened to that band yet and said they should promote the bands on their label already instead of adding more. They immediately took down their comment on their facebook page, trying to divert my attention from my comment and they failed….like they’re failing Erik who’s currently rolling over in his grave. AND GET THIS…..they’re currently running a contest to buy one of their albums on their band camp website, and you’re then entered to WIN A CHANCE TO OWN THEIR ENTIRE LIBRARY OF MUSIC! Doesn’t that reek of even more desperation? This shit is fishy as fuck metalheads. While they may house some great bands, shame on Unique Leader for their unprofessional fuckery and ignorance. Shit like this is why more bands go independent.
The Astral Cadence released “Paradigm” during this past fall in September. They’re an instrumental progressive metal band with ambient influences. The trio has a great sound that a lot of these instrumental prog bands generally nail…..great atmosphere and melody. “Paradigm” is a great representation of the diversity of the band that branches out to several realms of the music world. They really write music from their heart, and it shows. The guitar melodies really, really soar for The Astral Cadence.
THE ASTRAL CADENCE:
Sean Washington – Guitars
Dennis Lars Torrent – Bass
Bill Angelini – Drums
The nasty grooves that Bill and Dennis lay down make it easier for Sean on guitar to do his thing on his end that help expand their songs even more. The trio flawlessly transitions from section to section, helping paint a great picture for the band’s listeners. The Astral Cadence is a very welcome addition to the ever so growing instrumental progressive metal movement. The band also got the opportunity to open up for Angel Vivaldi
in November on his “Guitar Collective” Tour in November. Also on that tour is Nita Strauss and Jacky Vincent. Stay up to date with what the guys are doing as this is only the start of many great things to come.