A kew’s tag – Hephioz
With so much music being released these days, especially under the incredibly wide umbrella of ‘progressive’ music, it is still getting harder and harder to find something truly groundbreaking and new, as more or less all thinkable and unthinkable sounds have been explored and all paths have been tread and explored…
German band A kew’s tag are striving for the innovative in an otherwise stagnant, sometimes even stale genre – and succeed with flying colours! Yes, their band name is a phonetic play on the word ‘acoustic’, already hinting at their unique selling point: despite playing progressive rock that even borders on the heaviness of metal from time to time, the sole lead and rhythm guitar in the band is an acoustic one. How does that even work you might ask? Splendidly, I have to answer.
A kew’s tag – Hephioz (click here if the video doesn’t play)
“Hephioz” is their second album after 2015’s “Silence of the Sirens” and it tells the mythical story of a young bird striving for freedom. Classic prog territory with a concept album it is then, with a narrator and different characters, all masterfully and expressively portrayed by vocalist Julian Helms. But how does the music sound? Well, as I alluded to at the beginning of this review, this is one of the freshest sounding albums I had the pleasure of listening to in a while…
A kew’s tag – The Phi Oziris (click here if the video doesn’t play)
Starting off with a few mellow seconds, the short album opener ‘… T.R.U.T.H.’ is already brimming with fresh ideas and probably contains more progginess in its 1 minute and 40 seconds than certain other “progressive” bands manage to fit into their 60-120-minute albums.. It is setting the musical tone for “Hephioz” quite ably and after the story-telling intro of ‘Prologue: Congregation’, we are treated to a full-on instrumental overture of sorts, summarizing musically everything that’s yet to come in a succinct musical ‘[Synopsis]’.
A kew’s tag – metamorphioz (click here if the video doesn’t play)
Now what is about to unfold in the following 50 minutes is nothing short of a sprawling display of creativity: Groovy, funky, anthemic, heavy, soft, triumphant, searching, grieving… Switching from the incredibly rocking acoustic guitar from Johannes Weik and the furiously flamboyant drum hurricane of Florian Weik to the soft textures of an exquisitely arranged string quartet in ‘metamorphioz’, ‘…To Reveal A Grieving Goddess’ and the ‘Epilogue: The Firebird’s Legacy’ even adds another dimension on top to an album that is already very vivid to begin with.
A kew’s tag – Calling Nemesis (click here if the video doesn’t play)
You still can’t picture how a progressive metal album with acoustic guitar would sound? Well, in the case of “Hephioz”: think “Visions”-era Haken melodies and Nuno Bettencourt‘s groundbreaking ‘Midnight Express’ guitar dancing with BTBAM’s craziness and quirkiness. Or even better: go get the gorgeous vinyl and listen for yourself!
A kew’s tag – …To Reveal A Grieving Goddess (click here if the video doesn’t play)
- … T.R.U.T.H.
- Prologue: Congregation
- Building Stravozphere
- The Phi Oziris
- Calling Nemesis
- … To Reveal A Grieving Goddess
- Epilogue: The Firebird’s Legacy