Howling Sycamore – Howling Sycamore

Howling Sycamore is a supergroup which does interesting things within the avant-garde milieu but also does much that doesn’t immediately fall into the definition. Comprised of the cream of the crop of progressive metal, namely Jason McMaster (Watchtower), Davide Tiso (Ephel Duath), and Hannes Grossman (Necrophagist, Obscura), Howling Sycamore’s self-titled debut is a whirling mass of influences, ideas and composition drawn from the diverse world of progressive metal. These ideas, however, have been fed through a mirror darkly and now carry a distinctly sinister vibe that is wholly avant-garde. The result is an album that is often bewildering and scattered but which also feels convinced of where it’s heading, as paradoxical as that might sound.

EXCLUSIVE PREMIERE: The Fusion Brilliance Of Pitts Minnemann Project – Imaginary Numbers

Me and fellow editor Nick are always on the lookout for more jazz fusion. A lot of progressive metal has jazz influences, but those usually feel more like metal with jazz on the side, whereas pure jazz metal is hard to find. Enter Pitts Minnemann Project, which is exactly what it sounds like. It’s an instrumental prog/jazz fusion project featuring Jimmy Pitts of Scholomance and Marco Minnemann of, well, every band ever (Necrophagist, Ephel Duath, Joe Satriani and more). Also in the lineup are Tom “Fountainhead” Geldschlager on guitar (including fretless guitar, which he also played on the latest Obscura album) and Jerry Twyford (Scholomance). Excited yet? Well, their new track “Imaginary Numbers” off their upcoming crowd-funded album The Psychic Planetarium is a delightful jazz piece with tasteful sax and trumpet usage. I mean, can it be any more enticing?

Avant-Garde Metal Week: The Beginning

For no apparent reason, we declare this week avant-garde metal week. What does avant-garde mean? It means that a work of art is experimental, it pushes and shatters boundaries of convention. Typically, avant-garde metal takes influence from jazz, noise, ambiance and sometimes electronica. We feel that the coverage of this…