The Anatomy Of: As Oceans

North Carolina is an underappreciated hotbed of talent in the American metal scene, where bands like Between the Buried and Me and Corrosion of Conformity, among many others, have come up to inform the progression of their respective musical niches on a worldwide scale. It also doesn’t hurt that acts…

Between the Buried and Me – Automata I

As they approach 20 years of activity, Between the Buried and Me have surely attained the status of legacy act in the realm of progressive metal with a weight to their name comparable to that of Opeth and Dream Theater; they’re world-class headliners and have crafted some of the greatest records to ever come out of the genre, and they arguably had a hand of influence in the influx of progressive metalcore acts that emerged in the mid-to-late 2000’s. With that prolific status comes its drawbacks, however; much like Opeth and Dream Theater, later-era works are the topic of much debate and are subject to higher scrutiny, and being guilty of creating an album that is just okay is damning.

The Anatomy Of: Kaoteon

It’s always thrilling to find extreme metal in unlikely places. Labenese (by way of Amsterdam) blackened death metal act Kaoteon are embracing their status as unique cultural representatives by writing some truly compelling music while smashing middle-eastern stereotypes. Regardless of locality though, Kaoteon crushes. Spearheaded by duo Anthony Kaoteon (guitar) and…

Vexes – Ancient Geometry

In what circumstances does a new band’s direct unabashed influence from a well known active band make those newcomers derivative, redundant, and irrelevant? International prog supergroup Soen, for instance, gets a pass at their obvious take on Tool because of Tool’s inactivity over the last decade; at this point, it’s…

The Anatomy Of: Vexes

Surely by now you’ve all heard some of the buzz surrounding the up-and-coming hard rock / post-hardcore group Vexes. Featuring former members of A Life Once Lost, Vessl, Fury of Five, and Downstage, the act are gearing up to release their debut album Ancient Geometry this week, and if you’re a fan…

Love Letter – Playing Prog Rock Fucking Loud

You know the part: the drums, thick and resonating, pick up pace, the bass licks in anticipation of the crescendo and all of a sudden the synths are there, Hammond goodness washing over the soaring guitar parts as the vocals explode into a high note. This structure of “ensemble buildup”, where the entire band join forces to form the climax of a track, is a staple of many genres but progressive rock has always been the best at it. King Crimson’s “Starless”, Yes’s “Heart of the Sunrise”, Wishbone Ash’s “Warrior” (containing one of the world’s most famous and most forgotten solos), Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon and many, many other tracks and albums come to mind. Even younger bands operating today and paying homage to the style (like Malady, Wobbler, Witchcraft and more) adopt the prominence of the climax and full band collaboration.

FULL ALBUM STREAM: Launch on a Psychedelic Journey from Mother Engine’s Hangar

The “jam” is one of those musical devices that walks a delicately drawn fine line. On one side are classics like Can’s “Halleluwah” or The Velvet Underground’s “Sister Ray,” both of which are defined by an embrace of improvisation, interplay and gradual evolution that keep the song fresh throughout a roughly 20-minute run time. But on the other side, you have endless journeys of gratuitous musical masturbation that create a significant imbalance of enjoyment between the players and their audience. Walking this line is obviously difficult; though defined by higher tier musicianship, an effective jam band can’t venerate their abilities as musicians at the expense of songcraft, particularly in terms of defining the genres and styles from which the extended composition is being drawn out of. All of this makes it that much more impressive that Mother Engine have not only mastered the “jam” formula, but excelled at replicating that equation fourfold on their third full-length outing Hangar, which we’re stoked to be able to premiere for you in full.