Axios- Erased

29542529_1999509893644809_7417302098468474811_n.jpg

 

Chicago progressive rock quintet Axios has recently released their full length album “Erased”. It’s a very cool thing to occasionally see progressive and experimental bands focus on the song and soundscape, not always the odd timings and technicality as much as I love my face always being melted.  They have a great somber and meaningful tone….every song is a totally different trip.  Nothing sounds the same, and some growls here and there as well! There’s beautiful soaring melodies throughout “Erased” and also some chunky riffs that compliment the constant mood changes.

Axios is:

Jake Mikolas – Guitar/Vocals
Ashley Tracey – Keys/Vocals
Kevin Coppola – Drums/Vocals
Blake Schwarz – Guitar/Vocals
Jake La Bahn – Bass/Vocals

 

The band focuses on layering their tracks, but not going overboard……it’s very tasteful music with all sorts of vocal harmonies between the members.  It’s far from dry and uninspired…..the rhythm section is held down damn nicely between Jake and Kevin.  Its hard to believe they’re very new (2016 mind you) as the sound of Axios is very mature in it’s infancy and sound like seasoned veterans.  There’s plenty of diversity in Axios for any prog fan from melancholy tones (Steven Wilson) to keyboard/synth layers and some bright melodies (Dream Theater/Rush) and some heaviness at times (Mastodon level heaviness).  Proggers of all backgrounds and ages can appreciate the hard work of Axios and is a good start for an introduction for people not familiar with the genre.

 

You can buy the album “Erased” online digitally or physically through many outlets.

 

https://axiosband.bandcamp.com

https://www.amazon.com/Erased-Axios/dp/B07B1XTNR5/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1522066164&sr=8-1&keywords=axios+erased

 

 

31277536_2012787655650366_6398757193725771776_n.jpg

 

Wrack- Hollow Sun

32187292_2029660707295793_3393534960005545984_n

 

Wrack is a progressive metal project by Tyler Cox.  It’s set to be released on June 15th of this year.  It’s a very heavy EP…..also, very rhythmic.  There’s some mood changes which give it more variation than your normal prog band, but for the most part it is a straight headbanger.  There’s a couple cool guitar duals that add some ear candy throughout the listening experience of Hollow Sun.

 

wrack.bandcamp.com

 

Hollow Sun is an energetic album, especially vocally. This turned out to be one of the better EP’S of 2018 so far, and a great surprise.  I’m glad I came across this when I did, it’s a release that’s definitely worth your time I can guarantee that. Preorder the album directly at the bandcamp link at the beginning of the article.

Fire Garden May 2018 Interview

14570412_934288286675330_7128295914381419826_n

My Fire Garden homies are one of the most underrated progressive rock bands in the scene right now.  I saw the guys last summer in Niagara Falls at the Evening Star and damn, do they put on a great show.  Oh…..and they’re cool guys, to boot.  What’s not to like about Fire Garden?

As part of the monthly showcase (I tried last month for Angel Vivaldi….nobody got back to me. I at least tried!) an interview of some sorts is conducted with the featured band or artist.  I hope you get a good look into the creative minds and personalties that make Fire Garden the quality band they’ve morphed into.

Fire Garden is:

Zee Baig – Lead Vocals & Guitars

MM: Marc Malitz – Bass and Backing Vocals

Al: Allen Ladis – Lead and Rhythm Guitars

BK: Bill Kiser – Drums

 

 

TMR: How did the band come to be?

Zee: I formed this band while I was living in Kazakhstan, played few shows under the Fire Garden name and had a MySpace page as well (anyone remember?).  We wrote a few originals but there was never a serious plan to record and release music, when I moved to USA I decided to continue the journey hired few session musicians to record a 3 song EP called “The Prelude”. The response was great and people started to like it, so I decided to write a full-length record which became “Sound of Majestic Colors”.  That record caught some attention in the PROG community including Jordan Rudess of Dream Theater. So, it was obvious to do a follow-up. This time I went to find people who can play this music live as well. Luckily, I found these guys (Marc Malitz, Bill Kiser, Allen Ladis) and I am blown away with the response of Far and Near and our live shows. The good thing is whoever comes to our shows they appreciate the music. We are constantly working on our live show we try to keep things fresh and I am excited for the future ahead.

 

TMR: What is the meaning behind the band name? Is it a Steve vai reference? 🙂

Zee: Yes!!! I am a big fan of Steve Vai and the name represent perfectly with the style of music I enjoy. “Fire” is for aggressive side and “Garden” is for mellow side…does that make sense? 😉 … BTW do you know Steve Vai is a Bee Keeper? And, his garden is called Fire Garden.

 

TMR: What was it like recording the vocals for Far and Near? Did it feel more pure putting your voice on the music as Zee Baig, rather than someone else singing? Totally different sound and texture than the vocalist that sang on Sound of Majestic Colors.

Zee: It was one of the best decisions I took in my life. Sometimes you are not familiar with your own inner potential. I am a performer and I always want to play live music. When you have a different frontman with every release, it is hard for fans to relate to the band. Therefore, I decided to do vocals myself and I am happy with the results and fans loved it.

TMR: What is everyone’s favorite piece of gear past or present?

 

Zee: Probably my studio computer

MM: Schroeder bass cabinet

AL: My Fractal Axe Fx I XL

BK: My 20” Zildjian K Constantinople Medium Thin Low ride cymbal.


TMR: You guys finish playing a long set and are starving ….what’s the first food you’re craving?

 

Zee: Mediterranean food  

MM: Tacos

AL: Pizza or Burritos

BK: Pizza

 

TMR: How is the writing process for the latest fire garden album going?

 

Zee: Writing process is going well, a little slower than my expectation.  This time I am taking a slightly different approach, experimenting with different instruments and taking influences from other genres. I think the world doesn’t need another Dream Theater or Porcupine Tree. Let’s see how successful I am 🙂


TMR: What’s everyone’s favorite drink of choice at the bar?

 

Zee: I don’t drink alcohol so Ginger Ale or lemonade for me

MM: Beer

AL: Beer and Tequila

BK: Red wine. Always


TMR: Who is everyone’s bucket list band they’d love to see live?

 

Zee: Past David Bowie, Led Zeppelin, and Queen….Present Peter Gabriel, Guns n Roses (Yes I missed the last tour)  

MM: The Kinks

AL: RUSH reunion show

BK: Going to the past, early Zeppelin and Genesis 73 era.

20228867_1192126477558175_1172797177947453552_n

TMR: What band would you guys want to play with that’s also on your bucket list?

 

Zee: So many to list..but opening for Opeth or Steven Wilson would be great.

MM: Pineapple Thief, Opeth, Steven Wilson, Haken, Steve Hackett, Peter Gabriel, Radiohead, King Crimson, and Primus

AL: Symphony X

BK: Any cool band with great energy.

 

TMR: You’re putting together an all day festival….what bands are you guys booking? Let’s say for conversation’s sake 10 total including you guys, so 9 other bands.

Zee: Dream Theater, Steven Wilson, Opeth, Nine Inch Nails, Roger Waters, Opeth, Coldplay, Steve Vai, Junoon (Pakistani band) and of course Fire Garden.

MM: Pineapple Thief, Opeth, Steven Wilson, Haken, Steve Hackett, Peter Gabriel, Radiohead, King Crimson, and Primus

AL: Circle of Illusion, Frost, Voyager, Moon Safari, Haken, Dream Theater , Porcupine Tree, Steve Vai, Joe Satriani

BK: Janes addiction, tool, opeth, king crimson, Syd Arthur, Radiohead, primus, marillion, bela fleck. 🙂

23722397_1300048446765977_1630135527374147059_n


TMR: What’s everyone listening rotation usually consist of?

Zee: I listen to different styles and post my playlist every month on www.firegardenmusic.com/blog and my MixTapes on Spotify https://open.spotify.com/user/1235065471/playlist/7ykyYeJoJQ0ZhnH44Fa2tb?si=rEnFbP8LQgKvb4oXRjFjyg

MM: Prog, Jazz, Metal, Classic Rock

AL: Dream Theater, RUSH, repeat

BK: Constantly evolving but always includes Rush, Jellyfish, Genesis, Radiohead and Laura Marling to name but a few.

 


TMR: What 2018 releases are you guys looking forward to? And your favorites that have been released so far this year, as well.

 

Zee: Nine Inch Nails, The Sea Within, The Pineapple Thief … favorite so far don’t have one yet.

MM: Looking forward to new releases by Riverside, TesseracT, The Sea Within, Pineapple Thief, favorites so far are releases from Judas Priest, Between the Buried and Me, and Joe Satriani

AL:  Not really up on new releases.. In my bubble I guess

BK: Tool

 

TMR: You guitarists rock those Kiesel and music man guitars nicely….sponsorship would be cool! You guys should totally hit them up.

 

Zee: Would love to, but I am not a big fan of endorsements. I like to keep my options open, you might see me playing different instruments in the future.

AL: I’m a little fish in a big pond. Maybe?  

 

 

TMR: Music theory or no music theory? It’s very helpful, yet on the other end you don’t want to be so focused on music theory and not write great music….what are your opinions on it?

 

Zee: It helps but I don’t like to put boundaries when writing music. I am not good in theory at all. I just write what I hear in my head.

MM: Learning theory and music content is great, but should only be used as a tool.

AL: I never learned theory.  Wish I had.. Definitely helps writing.

BK: For drummers knowledge of rhythm is important.

 

 

TMR: What hobbies do you guys have outside of the band and being an artist?

 

Zee: I like to play sports whenever I can, cricket or tennis…. these days into tennis a lot.

MM: I collect comic books

AL: Camping, Fishing, Outdoor stuff I guess..

BK: I’m a closet guitar player and love to run, outside preferably.


TMR: What else do you guys do outside of fire garden whether it’s music related or not? Link your other endeavors and projects here for people to check out.

 

Zee: I run my own production company where I record/mix/produce other people’s music. Also, I love doing movie scores for short films and direct music videos. You can contact me at info@firegardenmusic.com

MM: I play in a Jazz group called, The Nascent Jazz Trio: https://www.facebook.com/NascentJazzTrio/

AL: No other projects right now. So mostly family, work, the band..  And most importantly my beard!!!!

BK: Of course family time, running, reading, wine drinking and a fun original instrumental band called Mute, as time allows.

29598027_1426849614085859_3190439723222093559_n

firegardenmusic.com

 

The Slyde- Awakening

TheSlyde Awakening cover_preview.jpeg

 

Canadian Progressive Rock/Metal band The Slyde is releasing “Awakening” on May 18th.  I figured I would share their greatness with everyone before their album drops. Preorder their album before its release day! Great influences of Dream Theater, Rush and Haken…..this band is definitely staged to turn some heads.

 

 

 

Here’s a few tracks to tide you over until May 18th. I’ve been listening to them for under a week now….I’m loving it.

https://www.theslyde.ca/

https://www.facebook.com/theslydecanada

twitter- @theslydecanada

https://www.youtube.com/theslydecanada

https://www.instagram.com/theslydecanada/

 

669904.jpg

Graham Young- A Portrait Of The Artist As A Young Man

 

Progressive Instrumentalist Graham Young has recently released a full length album “A Portrait Of The Artist As A Young Man”. Why is he a unique instrumentalist? Young isn’t a shredder…..he plays fast sometimes as a guitarist, but seeks for lots of melodic guitar leads and emotion.  It shows throughout his latest release with flying colors. Why shouldn’t he be bundled with the millions of guitarists that write instrumentals? Graham is very keen to writing songs, and not shred-a-thons.  What I mean by that translated to English is he has heart and soul.  He looks at his songs and music as a whole…..lots of heavily layered tracks and lots of effort was put into writing this album.

Young’s music is very experimental, moody, slightly heavy….and also a genre crosser that appeals to a wide range of fans younger and older.  He has really cool and flashy moments that bring back memories for you instrumental fusion proggers of the late Allan Holdsworth and John McLaughlin as well.  He has added lots of keyboard and synthesizer parts throughout his album, as well.  His layered clean tracks are heavily rooted in reverb, delay, chorus, flange and various effects that add huge psychedelic hints too reminiscent of the 1970’s music scene.  I think I even heard some electronic xylophone at one point!

Young’s music has impressed me on many levels as a fellow guitarist and writer. His music is a big reason why TMR exists and strives to promote artsy music whether its very technical or very underground or independent.  A lot of these great artists need the help, exposure and respect of fellow artists and music lovers out there.

You can purchase his latest album digitally and physically at his bandcamp, among his other releases as well. Help keep your favorite artists around, we don’t do this stuff for free ya know.

https://grahamyoung1.bandcamp.com/music

0005875289_100.png

Matter of Planets April 2018 Interview

30729438_10155783584857800_1877791134722796538_n.jpg

Matter Of Planets is an instrumental progressive rock/metal band from Ohio that has finished a follow up to their technical, intricate and smashing debut album “Ballad Of Baberaham”.  I recently had a conversation with the drummer Joel about the band amongst other things. Their new album “Somewhere Out Among The Stars Is Home” drops Friday, don’t miss it fools. Stay updated!

 

TMR: What’s the meaning behind your band name?

I originally came up with the band name when I was in Michigan many years ago visiting my Dad right after a terrible motorcycle crash. I was looking for something positive in a name, in a meaning. Light, cosmic, universal, but solid and grounding. Matter of Planets almost literally means “As a matter of fact, we are all made of Stardust” Thanks Carl Sagan!
TMR: Any information on your new album “Somewhere Out Among The Stars Is Home”  you want to share?

The last album was us figuring out how to be this band and how we were going to take our previous material and adapt it to our new form (we had a vocalist once upon a time but don’t tell anyone). The new album is definitely us very much at home with who we are now. What we are now. There’s less traditional song structures, more timing changes and multi-movement songs. Varying song length. More focus on the narrative and sonic exploration. It’s also the first time we’ve been in the studio with Roger on bass.

TMR: What are your personal favorite albums of all time and any newer releases as well?
My personal favorite albums are:
TOOL – Aenima

The Blood Brothers – …Burn, Piano Island, Burn

Converge – Jane Doe

Aesop Rock – Labor Days

Fugazi – 13 Songs

The Party of Helicopters – Space, and how sweet it was

Bad Religion – Process of Belief

BTBAM – Parallax II: Future Sequence

The Hot Snakes – Suicide Invoice

Godspeed, You! Black Emperor – Lift Your Skinny Fists Like Antennas

Beastie Boys – Ill Communication
NAS – Illmatic
N.E.R.D – Fly or Die
Deftones – White Pony
Radiohead – O.K. Computer

I don’t know. There are so many. I come from a jazz background where my love for Big Band runs deep. I think that the early 2000’s should be known as the Golden Era of Underground Hip-Hop (Rhymesayers, Def Jux, Living Legends). Wu-Tang FOREVER!

Husbandry from Brooklyn put out the best release of 2017 with their E.P. Bad Weeds never Die. I hope that works for you.

TMR: How did you all get started as musicians?

I started playing and jamming with folks in my late teens. Didn’t get into a serious band until 2004. Joe has been in punk bands forever, pretty sure we all got started as kids in school or in our teens.

TMR: How was the recording and writing process different than your first full length “Ballad Of Baberaham”?

It was a very similar process. Different studio, bass player, and songs but other than that it was close. Well….kinda. Andy Sartain was still in the control booth but Oranjudio provided a very different environment than Electraplay had. Bigger room, different toys, a grand piano (that shows up on the record more than once). But, like last time, we were very well rehearsed, knew what we were doing before we got there, and only spent a few days recording. The songs were honed over 2 years at least so when we get in there, we bang it out.

10710565_10152479127952800_1629930252040013713_n

 

TMR: Chicago or New York City style Pizza?

Pat’s Cheese steaks.

TMR: What band would you guys love to play a show with currently?

And So I Watch You From Afar would be amazing! I’d take Baroness, Torche, Lizzard Wizzard, Rosetta, or Russian Circles are also choice picks.

TMR: What led Matter Of Planets to being instrumental rather than just another metal/prog band? Your band’s sound is like no other.

Gosh..It’s all the different influences. I love love prog and metal but sometimes they just aren’t any fun. We really want to have fun. It has to keep us interested as a whole, we play what we want to hear I think. That’s probably why it comes off so ADD and crazy. But at the end of the set, when I feel like I’ve run a marathon, it feels pretty damn good.

TMR: Intimate shows are the best….the only show I saw of yours was here in Buffalo at a house show. I love those types of shows, or small ones in general where you can talk to the band afterwards and have an actual interaction rather than feeling so far away. I’m not crazy for stadium shows and sold out shows.

Intimate shows are the best. I want to connect with the band/artist. I want to feel what they feel and vice versa. But there is something to be said about the vibe of a large venue too.

TMR: What are your opinions on music theory? Some artists love it and hate it.

Music theory to me is like many other things, a tool. It’s something to have in your arsenal that enhances your playing and songwriting. Do I find it tiresome when a band is overly technical? Yes. Do I think that musicians can become mired in theory at expense of the music? Yes. But on the other hand, when people want to shit on extraordinarily talented and technically gifted musicians, it makes me crazy!! That has to come from a place of jealousy and it’s sad. Just cause it’s not your think does not make it bad.

TMR: What tour or festival would your band love to play on one day?We are such a festival band.

All of them. Austin City Limits, SXSW, Pitchfork, Bunbury, Maryland Deathfest or Doomfest, big, small, national, local, whatever. I’m working on one for Columbus. I don’t know if I’d ever really want to do a big tour like Mayhem or Slaughter though. I just want to tour and play killer shows, make new friends, meet new people, see places, experience life. It’s a good time. Sometimes we are lucky enough to be able to tour with our friends and that’s a treat.

TMR: What are some of your favorite pieces of gear recording or instrument wise past and present? 

When we recorded the last album I played on a 14″x6.5″ DW Collector’s Series snare drum. I went and bought immediately after. Blake plays this awesome Yamaha SG. We play with the same stuff on tour that we record with and we’ve all spent some serious money and time over the years putting together rigs that we really like and help us craft the sounds we want.

TMR: Any endeavors you guys have outside of Matter of Planets please link here whether its music related or not.

Thanks man!

https://matterofplanets.bandcamp.com

16473958_10154569036287800_7231817506637027094_n.jpg

Jollymon- Void Walker song premeire

jollymon_voidwalker_coverart.jpg

 

Melodic Stoner Rock Band Jollymon is releasing Void Walker On June 8th.  We have a melodic, sludgy, heavy release for you all.

 

VOIDWALKER SONG PREMIERE

Pretty cool…..right? It’s kinda like Mastodon, Black Sabbath, Pink Floyd and Clutch got drunk and had a child. But, it was not a mistake! This is a gritty, melodic band with relentless riffs and killer rhythms that make you want more. John’s guitar playing is very eclectic….all kinds of mood changes and great guitar leads that should make you wear your seat belt while driving.

Mark and Carey’s chemistry in the rhythm section on the Drums and Bass respectively add a lot more flavor to Jollymon.  Carey also has some cool occasional vocal effects that make their music spacey, if ya know what I mean.

Enjoy the track folks. Expect more when their album drops June 8th.

https://www.facebook.com/PDX.Jollymon/

https://www.jollymonband.com

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCB-9qPtMRxBWlTJjd_199kg

jollymon_pressshot

Infinitee- The Possibilities Are Endless Album Stream

_MG_8983-Edit.jpg

I present you the official album stream for Infinitee’s The Possibilities Are Endless. Have to say it was an honor listening to this before release day.  You can check out my Infinitee- The Possibilities Are Endless album review for my opinions on this masterpiece. Yeah, I said it…..it’s a masterpiece.

Enough of my blabbering, let’s get down to business.  I hope you enjoy this album, as does Tres.

_MG_8975-Edit.jpg

 

Infinitee-band-2018-683x1024

Tres Thomas will definitely give you that sad look if you don’t buy his album, as will I.

The Possibitlies Are Endless is available on digital platforms to purchase. Don’t be a bum and purchase this album after you listen to the stream. I want him to be able to afford to keep creating this cool instrumental insanity…..as should everyone else!

Infinitee- The Possibilities Are Endless

383489

 

Infinitee is an instrumental project by Tres Thomas of Tales Of The Tomb.  This is a project that is very melodic and heavy.  There’s a great use of electronics that enhances his experimental nature and further adds to the originality.  What I love as a guitar player is how he doesn’t care about speed….it’s great to play fast leads and melodies sometimes but he has a great niche of finding solid melody without wanting to play at 1,000 BPM.

What makes Thomas’ debut solo album a great offering is his combination of a wide range of influence……lots of ambience and electronics that again break up an ocassionally repetitive genre at times.  Thomas stated that he has a 2nd album demoed and music for a third album before Infinitee’s debut actually is officially released!

I’m so glad I do what I do to discover new music and artists I never heard of this is another instance that is one of at least 15 to 20 times since I started this site in February (wow almost 3 months old!). I’m so lucky to get so many album releases of the genres I mainly cover of many bands and in return preorder them helping support these artists (just like I did yesterday when I only heard one song!). Tres Thomas’ album really resonated with me, and I hope it does with the general public. I have no problem pushing a well crafted album and that is what was accomplished here.   “The Possibilities Are Endless” is officially being released this Friday April 20th.  You can preorder the album through the band camp website and on iTunes as well.

 

The Possibilities Are Endless

Track Listing:
1. Xenocybin (3:24)
2, Lost (3:23)
3. Robots vs. The Wooden Chairs Pt.1 (3:39)
4. Robots vs. The Wooden Chairs Pt.2 (5:00)
5. The Possibilities Are Endless (3:59)
6. Free (4:41)

 

InfiniteeBand.bandcamp.com

Facebook.com/InfiniteeBand

Instagram.com/InfiniteeBand

Youtube: Infinitee

Robots Vs. The Wooden Chairs Pt. 1 Playthrough

Free Playthrough

 

Infinitee-band-2018-683x1024

 

 

 

 

Between The Buried & Me- Automata

 

26805396_10156167397828189_4407381383592741456_n.jpg

 

 

Between The Buried and Me have released another spectacular piece of music titled “Automata” an EP.  The rumor has it there is more on the way, the other half to be released around summertime this year.  BTBAM has never disappointed and has only evolved every album they have progressed.  Since the “Parallax” series and the last full length “Coma Ecliptic” the band has progressed into a greater understanding of melody, more singing and more experimentation.  BTBAM has been always very heavy, but lately tailed off in that sense and added many more keyboard and synthesizer parts.  More acoustic and clean guitar tones occasionally, and some string work and more singing as well.  The band can not do any wrong…..but what brought a smile to my face was the heaviness that hasn’t really been around the infamous “Colors” and “Alaska” era…..the heaviest of the heavy for the North Carolina gentlemen.

BTBAM is the epitome of modern day progressive metal, and in general one of the best storytellers lyrically and musically which enhances the stories being told.  They have taken a liking to concept albums starting with the aforementioned “Parallax” EP and full length continuing with “Coma Ecliptic”. Lyrically it seems with “Automata” there is another concept about dreaming and reality.  They are not a dull band and wow you more than just musically there’s some cool vocal melodies, lyrical themes and melodies as well.

Automata is not a departure of any sorts.  Some fans may not be happy with the experimentation they have been doing on the last few releases, but whats the point of releasing the same material every time? Automata is a great start to hopefully the other half is just as promising.  There’s great drumming, bass lines and guitar duals all over the new album.  I can’t honestly say enough good things about Automata.

 

betweentheburiedandmejan2018promo_638