Benthos’s debut record, uh… II has been among the many welcome surprises 2021’s metal underground has had to offer. The Italian outfit bring a lush take to modern tech-tinged progressive metal that reminds me a lot of mid-period TesseracT and Australian alt-prog artists like Karnivool and Caligula’s Horse, especially in the vocal department. When I shared the album with the rest of Heavy Blog, the overwhelming response was that they sounded more like Native Construct, who I’m not as familiar with. Listening back to Native Construct’s first and only record, Quiet World (2015), I didn’t really hear it myself. But why speculate when you can simply ask the band themselves? Naturally, I hit up the band for one of our patented Anatomy Of columns in order to get to the bottom of things and was greeted with one of the most detailed and insightful glimpses into an artist’s inspirations we’ve had in a while.
Alberto Fiorani (bass)
Animals As Leaders – The Joy of Motion (2014)
Animals as Leaders are a band I discovered at the age of 15 and have followed since the first record. Actually among all the works they have done I don’t have a favorite, I chose this album maybe because I was listening to it in a sad period of my life and it certainly helped to make my days more beautiful. I’ve always been fascinated by musicians who find innovative ways to play music and Tosin is definitely among them. In addition to the development of classic guitar techniques, I was struck by how he elaborated the bass ones and how he tried to reproduce on the instrument some effects coming from electronic music, all in a djent context, I had never heard anything like this before!
Aaron Parks – Invisible Cinema (2008)
Aaron Parks is artist I discovered at the age of 20 and who immediately impressed me. At that time I had already started to listen to jazz, fusion and improvised music in general, but I didn’t think it was possible to achieve such a result: very smooth harmonies, sometimes influenced by jazz and sometimes by baroque music, often minimal melodies with a middle-eastern sound and finally incredible rhythms, characterized by polymetries and polyrhythms that often form the basis of the pieces. There are also long solos, where jazz languages join the Middle Eastern ones, and vocal lines structured as in pop songs.
Enrico Tripodi (guitar)
Muse – The Origin of Symmetry (2001)
The Origin of Symmetry is one of my favorite albums because Muse was the band that has shaped my musical tastes during my adolescence, and that album is my favorite one of them because the dark and raw sounds are very appealing and sexy to me. Listening to the groovy riffing in songs like “New Born”, “Hyper Music” and “Citizen Erased” were like discovering parts in myself that were there but i didn’t discover yet. Matt Bellamy’s vocals are so extreme yet so polished and powerful, I felt in love with his falsettos as well. Every song sounds like a different band but the album is a whole masterpiece.
Arcane Roots – Blood and Chemistry (2013)
For Blood and Chemistry by Arcane Roots, the first impact was completely shocking. They were the first band that made me like the dirty vocals and that made me get the point. Andrew Groves’ screams are not too extreme but they are always placed at the right time and with the right musical sense and this made them accessible to me. I discovered them when I saw them live for the first time at a muse opening and to see that a Stratocaster could sound so edgy and dissonant was like breathing fresh air.
Gabriele Landillo (vocals)
The Contortionist – Language (2014)
I met this band with this record at the age of 18. It is definitely the band that more than any other has transmitted to me the passion for the musical genre I play. what fascinates me most is the way they make their language extremely varied and unpredictable through the use of refined harmonies, heterogeneous arrangements (especially in the vocal field) and complex polyrhythms.
[Ok, yeah, I totally hear The Contortionist‘s influence on “Talk to Me, Dragonfly!” – Josh]
Brian Eno – Music for Airports (1978)
Thanks to this record and its “1/1”, I have lived one of the most intense experiences of my entire life related to music. I approached this album for the first time thanks to an advice I received from a conservatory teacher at the age of 20 and from that moment on I changed my way of conceiving some musical genres, including “ambiet”. Being practically music without metronomic scanning, the sound context that is created upon listening is one of complete immersion guided, in turn, by extremely expressive melodic and harmonic phrases, which despite being practically always repeated the same, invite you to breathe.
Gabriele Papagni (guitars)
Opeth – Blackwater Park (2001)
I remember the first time that I had listen to “The Drapery Falls” from Opeth; I remain shocked. A part of myself said “this is the most boring stuff that I’ve ever heard”. Two days later, this album become my favorite of all time. I literally discover a side of music that I’ve never heard and everything changed in my perception of listening and writing sounds. I really love the open chords that surrounds all the albums and the emotional vocals that touched me into my deepest feelings. The main fact that impressed me more was their ways to use classical and acoustic stuff, there’s something very theatrical and hypnotic.
Radiohead – Ok Computer (1997)
Another band that really changed my vision of music are definitely Radiohead. I love their “psychedelic side”, they were obviously inspired by the giants of progressive rock like Pink Floyd, King Crimson or Gong but also mixed with tons of electronic music like Aphex Twin and Boards of Canada. Thom Yorke’s voice it’s so delicate, very emotional, and he is also an amazing producer of electronic stuff . Ok Computer is the album that introduced me to their sounds, I feel in love right after hearing “Subterranean Homesick Alien” for the first time. The guitars effects transport the listener to another dimension, surrounded by a softly drumming that creates a super groove dipping the listener in a flux of emotions.
[Agree to disagree – Josh.]
Alessandro Tagliani (drums)
Tesseract – Altered State (2014)
Still today, I think that it’s the most unique sounding album from the djent wave. From the tones to the atmospheres, to the rhythmic section and to the vocal melodies. The polyrhythmic work and how it locks effortlessly with the rest of the song it’s what struck me. Jay Postone’s grooves carry the songs with his use of ghost notes and cymbal accents.
A Lot Like Birds – Conversation Piece (2011)
This album introduced me to the math/post-hardcore wave of the west coast. I fell in love with Joseph Arrington creativity, swinging from emotional grooves to math/prog craziness. You can clearly hear his inspirations, particularly from The Mars Volta, with a sprinkle of jazz and Latin grooves. One thing that I really appreciate from them is how they can be very technical and insightful without stealing the spotlight, making each song unique with their presence.
II is out now, through Eclipse Records.