There’s a somewhat awkward position we at Heavy Blog are placed in whenever one of our own is gearing up to release music. It’s not exactly surprising that many of us involved in this site are musicians ourselves and have our own projects and ambitions completely disconnected from this place we love. It’s also not at all surprising that the music that results from these projects are often things that many of us here unabashedly love. Naturally we’re going to end up writing and producing the kind of music that we talk about wanting to hear. Most recently we have the example of our friend and fellow editor Noyan (aka NYN), whose new album teaser Eden told you is absolutely just a taste of the greatness that is to come (you can listen to the first single from it at Toilet Ov Hell).
Another homegrown project we are immensely fond of comes straight from our dear editor-in-chief, the aforementioned Eden Kupermintz, and our good friend Greg Greenberg (Seven Circles), who, with guitarists Doug Van Bevers and Nick Maini and drummer Travis Orbin (ex-Periphery, Darkest Hour) form Instar, a beautiful fusion of post-rock, math-rock, jazz/metal fusion, and spoken word. Those who are at all familiar with Eden know that he is an ardent lover and connoisseur of sci-fi and a writer himself, and he lends his own illustrative prose and mellifluous voice to give the project a distinctly cosmic post-y feeling. The last time we mentioned the band on this site it was to recommend their debut EP, which featured Eden on one track and other guest vocalists on the other two. Eden has since joined the project as a full-fledged member, and if the lead track from their upcoming album Ex Nihilo Cycles “Stepping Stones” is any indication, Instar is prepared to take an enormous leap for their first full-length release.
Given that the album is based on an original story from Eden, it appears we have a bona fide concept album on our hands, which places “Stepping Stones” right smack in the middle of it. It doesn’t take a close reading of the lyrics and narration present to know though that the track is one preoccupied with love and its cosmic depth across the stars. The narration leads the track heavily, with twinkling synths, staccato/muted guitars, and perfectly punctuated cymbal and snare hits from Orbin filling the space underneath. As Eden wraps up the prose, the track takes a sharp left turn into the kind of brilliant instrumental metal we’ve come to expect from Greenberg and co. The smooth combination of jazzy chords, progressions, and ambiance with beautifully intricate rhythms, riffs, and layers of instrumentation call to mind the best work of instrumental acts like Outrun the Sunlight and Pomegranate Tiger. It’s a track with an abundance of ideas to convey in its sub-6 minute runtime, but one that shifts and swells wonderfully in a way that few bands of this sort are able to achieve.
If you also are finding yourself liking what you’re hearing, you can pre-order Ex Nihilo Cycles at Instar’s Bandcamp. The album comes out September 15, and you can guarantee it will be in many of our heavy rotations.