I deliberated a lot on how to start this piece. How can one even do justice to an album so timeless and revered; and more importantly, an album that has been written about to hell and back for over a decade now? An album that not only single-handedly jump-started the band’s illustrious career, but also manages to retain its impeccable excellence next to releases today?
These posts are written by: Ahmed Hasan
For all the ubiquity it enjoys today, our current, ‘mainstream’ iteration of progressive metal was hardly all that visible before the turn of the last decade outside of a few relatively tight internet circles. The community around it remained constrained to a few forums, as current ringleaders such as Misha Mansoor and Acle Kahney quietly uploaded bedroom recordings to relatively small audiences.
Most blog readers may be at the very least familiar with the name Kamasi Washington, considering that we covered his excellent…
Welcome to “Beyond the Veil“! In this feature, its name (partially) taken from the Gods of Eden track, we’re going to delve into…
While tech death has seen a consistent stream of high-quality albums over the past few years, it’s stood for a little while now…
Full disclosure: by a certain metric, this recommendation post is coming in just over a year late. But virtuosic jazz guitarist Julian Lage is one prolific fellow, and has put out not one, not even two, but three releases in the time span between then and now. It’s not hard to see why; the man’s improvisation skills are stunning to behold, tossing out fully realized lead moments left and right with comfortable ease.
One of the most enjoyable trends we as a community have seen over the past few years is the gradual increase in bands and artists that are unafraid to diversify their sound from the outset. There are certainly arguments to be made for sonic consistency, but a band implementing a variety of influences and sounds over a metal skeleton is generally seen as a noble endeavor; a band challenging themselves musically and consequently elevating their sound is, at least on paper, a clear win-win situation for them. But for that to translate into music that is just as entertaining and enjoyable from the average listener’s perspective? That requires a bit more; a narrow balance needs to be struck between monotonous consistency and wildly unfocused eclecticism.
Considering the prog metal trajectory they’ve been on for just shy of a decade now, it’s easy to forget that Canadian stalwarts Protest the Hero started out their career as a punk band. Of course, the punk roots are still intermittently noticeable throughout their post-Kezia discography — take the verses in “Spoils”, for instance — but for the most part, it’s plainly apparent that the band have comfortably adapted to a more technical, progressive sound over the years. In light of this, it’s actually somewhat surprising in retrospect that it took until 2017 for a more punk-oriented side project to arise from the band, but we’re now presented with Mystery Weekend, a three-piece featuring vocalist Rody Walker and drummer Mike Ieradi from Protest alongside guitarist/bassist Dan Hay.
While we’ve previously covered topics more along the lines of specific scales, intervals, and chords, today’s topic is unique in that it concerns a technique (or, well, a subset of that technique) that’s mostly specific to guitar playing, as opposed to a general musical concept.
As has been discussed on the podcast twice now, the French Canadian death metal scene has continued to be unbelievably innovative and prolific for over two decades now. Propped up by a roster of key musicians who often have multiple projects to their respective names, it goes without saying that the scene has birthed entirely new approaches to tech death. Just last year, we were treated to stellar releases from both long-established acts (Gorguts) and equally excellent debut albums (First Fragment) — but it appears the scene insists on being the gift that keeps on giving well into 2017 as well.
Enter Samskaras, a two piece featuring multi-instrumentalist and vocalist Eric Burnet of Derelict alongside drummer Alexandre Dupras of Unhuman. At its core — as one might expect — the debut EP Asunder is built on the same fundamentals underlying most of the French Canadian scene, both in its approach to technicality as well as its sense of melody.