A while ago I told you to listen to Archaeologist and then immediately premiered a new video from the project. It was clear, even back then, that the project was way more ambitious than many others in its milieu, dedicated and intent on making well composed and executed progressive metal. Which brings us all the way to last week, when Archaeologist released “Winter’s Wake”, a stand alone track/EP clocking in at twelve minutes. Besides featuring amazing guest spots from Scott Carstairs (Fallujah) and Wes Thrailkill (oh my god, please don’t forget about Thraikill) the track also represents a high point for Archaeologist. Taking the promise already nascent in the project, it quite simply pushes everything up to eleven, capitalizing on that promise and raising the project’s sound all the way to where it deserves to be.

Check out the four minute mark for example. Listen to how the faintly harsh vocal scream moves so well into that groovy riff after it and how that riff, backed up by an excellent guitar bridge, turns into a sort of soaring summary for this part of the track. This bridge works as a set-up for Carstairs unmistakable timbre as it arrives in the form of his guest solo, expertly positioned to take advantage of the built up energy that the first part of the track created. Everything culminates in some monstrous drumming, unleashing all that catharsis right into a quieter segment. Then, note how much Kyle Schaefer’s vocals have improved; they were always good but by virtue of the composition on this track their melody and timbre here just works incredibly well. So too his deeper, more abrasive vocals showcased just a minute or so down the line, their presence making the most of their central role in the track’s sound.

I could go on; the track offers much to sink your teeth into during its twelve minute runtime like an excellent bass solo, multiple groovy, quiet parts, and mire. Suffice to say for now that it is a celebration of progressive metal, using tried and true tropes from the genre to excellent effect. The end result is an epic, complex, and varied track which, as I said above, represents a high water mark for the band. Hopefully it puts them on the map as the ambitious, professional, and down-right excellent project they are. I can’t wait to see what comes next.

Make sure you head on over to the project’s Bandcamp page to buy this EP (and some merch) to support them. Remember; independent artists need more than Spotify streams to survive. Support musicians!