Four EPs to end the week on a strong note
Today is official EP day so it seems! We are highlighting four mid-length releases, that are as divers as the are of equally high quality. Two times modern prog metal from the UK, but with quite different twists, we have new releases from Novena and Exist Immortal today (both The Progspace Online Festival alumni by the way). Dark and ethereal music comes from iamthemorning-enchantress Mariana Semkina with her new EP “Disillusioned”, and Norway’s legends of Enslaved continue their exploration of northern viking-prog-psychedelia with “Caravan to the Outer Worlds”. A lot to discover, as you can see, and it doesn’t stop there! Check out the other releases as well either in our Spotify Playlist or below the mini reviews.
Novena - The Stopped Clock EP
Merely a week after announcing their new EP “The Stopped Clock” with the single and video for their surprise cover of Billie Eilish’s ‘Bury A Friend’ (blastbeats anyone?), Novena are dropping the whole thing already for all prog lovers to devour and play on repeat. Even more surprisingly, ‘Bury A Friend’ isn’t merely a bonus track or something like that, it is the centerpiece, sitting comfortably between the two massive new original compositions ‘The Stopped Clock’ and ‘In Loving Memory’. The former title track being a monster of a 12 minute prog epic and the aptly titled latter a heartfelt farewell to a close friend (no need to hold back your tears, it’s ok to let them flow!). Dual vocalists Ross Jennings (Haken) and Gareth Edwards (Slice the Cake) are inciting each other to some of their best performances to date on these three new recordings, Novena won Best Debut Album of the Year in our first The Progspace Awards last year with their first full length release ‘Eleventh Hour’ in a landslide (and rightfully so), and “The Stopped Clock” is from the same caliber if not a step up even. The sky is the limit. One of the very best EPs of the year without a doubt!
Exist Immortal - Act Three: Water EP
More modern UK prog metal comes from The Progspace Online Festival alumni Exist Immortal today. They are releasing their new EP “Act Three: Water” today via Seek & Strike. The third in a row of EPs (obviously), and the second in 2021 already, the three concise, catchy tracks are perfectly summing up what Exist Immortal are all about: huge melodies, bouncy, angular riffs and an all around uplifting atmosphere. I have to admit, the March installment “Act Two: Gold” didn’t catch me as much as the 2020 start of the trilogy “Act One: Rebirth” did, but the concluding piece of the Triptych is hitting right home again. Catch them on Nov. 6th at the Techabilitation mini festival in Derby, organized by the people from UK Tech Fest if you’re in the vicinity. I, for one, hope to see one of their energetic live shows again soon! But for now, I’m gonna check out the three EPs in a row.
Mariana Semkina - Disillusioned EP
Iamthemorning’s Marjana Semkina continues her solo endeavours (as Mariana Semkina) that started last year with “Sleepwalking”. On “Disillusioned”, her sound evolves a little further away from her chamber prog band, giving it an overall darker flavour with carefully placed electronica elements. Comprised of 3 original songs and 2 cover versions (reminding us of Iamthemorning’s little holiday season release “Counting the Ghosts” from last year), the 16 minutes long EP’s highlight is of course Majana’s stellar voice which is as lovely and at the same time eerie as ever. This is especially true for the two short versions of the Hungarian ‘Ne Hagyj Itt’ and the Icelandic ‘Land Míns Föður’ where Marjana creates her own choir with multiple layers of vocals. They stand in contrast to the other 3 songs ‘Friend’, ‘Disillusioned’ and ‘An End’ with their lush instrumentation, mostly based on guitars (Vlad Avy) and the beautiful string arrangements created by Grigory Losenkov – who also plays piano, synths and bass – and held together by the rich percussion courtesy of Svetlana Shumkova. The arrangements are stunning, everything flows and every note is perfectly placed where it belongs. Lyrically, the 3 songs are once again inspired by Victorian stories, which should not come as a surprise to anyone familiar with Marjana’s work. Anyone who finds pleasure in laid-back, subtle but beautiful melodies and great vocal work will enjoy this (much too short) piece of musical art – and for fans of Iamthemorning or Gleb Kolyadin’s and Marjana’s solo work this is a no-brainer anyway.
Enslaved - Caravans to the Outer Worlds EP
Almost one year, to the day, after the release of their fantastic 2020 album “Utgard”, Norwegian progressive extreme-metallers Enslaved is back with another chapter in their saga, that at this point stretches all the way back to 1991. “Caravans to the Outer Worlds” is the name of this new EP, consisting of only four tracks, where two of them are shorter pieces, called ‘Intermezzo I and II’. These interludes still feel like complete pieces in their own right, with 70’s style keys and innovative melodies. The name of the EP is a great description of the music found within, where “Utgard” was more introspective and introverted, this release comes across as more exploratory and adventurous. The listener is carried along on some psychedelic spirit journey, starting with the brilliant title track, a mix of pure energy and atmosphere, that might be some of the strongest work I’ve heard from the band in a while. The second full-length track ‘Ruun II – The Epitaph’ harkens back to the 2006 album of the same name, and re-visits some of the themes found there, though in a very insightful and innovative way. The EP makes me feel like Enslaved once again is standing at a crossroad, and I can’t wait to see where the path leads next.
More releases for 01 October, 2021
- Abstract Void - Wishdream (Sept. 30) Bandcamp
- Katre - Behind the Resilience (Sept. 30)
- Juçara Marçal - Delta Estácio Blues (Sept. 30)
- Frontierer - Oxidized Bandcamp
- 6:33 - Feary Tales For Strange Lullabies: The DomeRead Our Review
- Yes - The Quest (Inside Out Music)Read Our Review
- Franklin Zoo - The Dandelion Child (Elevation PR)
- Four Stroke Baron - Classics (Prosthetic Records) Bandcamp
- Reaping Asmodeia - Darkened Infinity (Prosthetic Records) Bandcamp
- Full of Hell - Garden of Burning Apparitions (Relapse Records) Bandcamp
- Xenosis - Paralleled Existence Bandcamp
- Theodore Wild Ride - Theodore Wild Ride (Icarus Records/Consouling Sounds) Bandcamp
- King of Sweden - The Training
- Prisma - Gold (Loudville Records) Bandcamp
- Abstracter - Abominion Bandcamp
- Gondhawa - Käampâla (Stolen Body Records) Bandcamp
- Snares of Sixes - Moon Bladder (Nefarious Industries/Transcending Records) Bandcamp
- Himmellegeme - Variola Vera (Karisma Records) Bandcamp
- The Maledict - Remembrance Bandcamp
- Diagonal - 4 (Cobblers Records) Bandcamp
- Emerge Restless - Ursus Maritimus Bandcamp
- Heiress - Distant Fires (Satanik Royalty Records) Bandcamp
- Wage War - Manic (Fearless Records/Spinefarm Records)
- Black Dice - Mod Prog Sic (FourFour Records) Bandcamp
- The Body & Big|Brave - Leaving None But Small Birds (Thrill Jockey Records) Bandcamp
- Katatonia - Mnemosynean (Peaceville Records) Bandcamp
- Nektar - ...Sounds Like Swiss [Live] (Glass Onyon PR)
- Pale Kaiori - Notions From the Void EP Bandcamp
- Imaginature - Imaginature Bandcamp
- Niket - Niket EP (Kewn Records) Bandcamp