Check, check, is this thing on? It’s the end of December so it feels like the plug has been pulled while I’m still on stage, the lights slowly dimming. But hey, it sounds as if the proverbial center-stage microphone is on so I’m going to use it to recommend more music to you anyway. This time around we have A Great Adventure or Nothing, a one man post-rock/progressive metal project I first told you about way back in 2016. The then released self-titled album was a great exploration of the verdant fields between dreamy, contemplative post-rock and heavier, more pronounced tones from the pools of progressive metal, almost verging on nu-prog. Now, the project is back with The Portal and it is a massive step forward. Showcasing a more fully fleshed out presence on both sides of the spectrum, it also introduces plenty of ambience and electronics into the mix to create one powerful instrumental album. Head on down below for your first (and second) taste!
I chose this doublet of songs, which follow on another on the album, since they showcase my favorite things and improvements on this album. “Shore of Illusions” has that beautiful groove running through its middle, backed up by one of the best guitar leads I’ve heard from the project. It reminds me of Sleeping Bear or sleepmakeswaves in its delayed goodness and tone. The track which follows it, “Black Leaves”, is way heavier, with a chuggy main riff, blast beats in its middle, and an overall more progressive metal attitude which evokes names like Reformat. But it also showcases some of the more dreamy tones from the track before, juxtaposing them with the heavier stuff to create a rich, full soundscape for the track in general.
Both tracks rely on a sort of technicality that feels completely effortless. More so even than with the previous release, The Portal is a whole other world you can fall into. Other tracks on the album do a great job of painting in the blanks and continuing to create this other-worldly place in which the album exists and invites you to. All the while, the music remains engaging and complex, running through a wide variety of expressions and feelings. Put simply, and in summary, The Portal sees A Great Adventure Or Nothing push the boundaries of what the project means and can create, resulting in a rich, evocative, and wonderful album.
Make sure you don’t miss it just because the year is “over”. Head on over to the project’s Bandcamp above to buy it; remember to support independent artists!