9 diverse highlights, 50 releases overall: October 2022 ends with a bang!
October 2022 says goodbye with an absolutely MASSIVE release week: 9 highlights and 50 new releases overall. That’s your halloween listening sorted I guess. Happy Halloween!
Axiom - Soteria EP
Birmingham-based instrumental trio Axiom first came to my attention with their performance for the first UK Tech Fest at Home Event in July 2020 and they knew how to convince me instantly with their enthusiasm, dedication, playfulness and style. I have to say that I really like how their technical, yet very atmospheric instrumental prog provides space for all three of them to shine on their new EP “Soteria”. Featuring the two singles ‘Hidden’ and ‘Pyre’ plus two new songs, this is the perfect bite-sized appetizer for more Axiom stuff in the future – or more amazing new music to discover today if you just keep scrolling and reading…
behind closed doors - caged in helices
Contemporary classical inspired instrumental prog/post/djent enhanced by the sounds of a proper string quartet? The prospect of this glorious fusion had my mouth watering in anticipation after reading the promo email for the single ‘the anti will’. And the closer inspection of the musical content of said single and the full album “caged in helices” thankfully was able to satiate the whetted appetite for something extraordinary. In a nerdy subgenre, where a lot of new releases are caged in repeated standard tropes, multi-national trio behind closed doors managed to steer clear of all the usual prog by numbers and concocted something very unique with “caged in helices”, their second full length album. I know the chances are relatively slim with an underground project like that, but still one can hope that the three musicians on guitar, bass and drums will be able to perform these songs live together with an actual string quartet. I’ll be there in the first row! And I’m glad they’re playing their music not only behind closed doors.
Enma - Apathy Awakened
Dutch drummer Yuma van Eekelen (Exivious, Our Oceans…) is pulling a double shift in this edition of the Releases of the Week (as he did at the joint release gig of both bands at the Little Devil Bar in Tilburg on Friday), lending his talents not only to the fantastic behind closed doors (see above), but also to grunge prog newcomers Enma, albeit only as a guest here. Their debut album “Apathy Awakened”, which we premiered on Thursday already here on The Progspace, is a very groovy affair, as is befitting for a band quite obviously influenced by the grungy side of heavy music. Hints of later Opeth, some Tool-esque rhythms and a quick glimpse of Ghost in the latin bit of ‘Debita Nostra’ can be heard, while the voice of singer Alex Schenkels has a nice grit and the perfect amount of gravitas to it, complementing the instrumental part of the music perfectly. Yoeri van Helvoirt’s low end rumble is grooving very satisfyingly along Yuma’s precise drumming and the guitar work from Tom Adams and Wessel Speelmann is riffing away most of the time with tasteful and subtle lead outbreaks or more acoustic pluckings here and there. A strong debut that is completed with top notch artwork from renowned artists Maarten Donders (Roadburn Festival, Opeth) and Arno Frericks (Dodecahedron, Ulsect, Autarkh). A young band to watch out for.
Galahad - The Last Great Adventurer
I’ve been following british prog veterans Galahad ever since the release of their 2007 masterpiece “Empires Never Last” (a major hit in the Progulus online radio community back then), and while I have to say that no release after that was able to challenge it as my favorite Galahad album, they managed to keep their sound always fresh. The electric infusions into an otherwise rather classic neo prog sounds courtesy of keyboardist Dean Baker, together with Stu Nicholson’s inimitable voice and poignant lyricism are still somewhat the unique selling point of Galahad and on their new studio album, “The Last Great Adventurer”, and those two are on display as strong as ever. With five diverse and epic songs, plus two bonus tracks that are just as good as the ‘regular’ ones, the album clocks in at just shy of an hour and adds another great release to the Galahad discography.
Psychonaut - Violate Consensus Reality
When Psychonaut released debut album “Unfold the God Man” in 2018 after two EPs, it was clear that the new kid on the post-metal block was making quite an impact. The album received positive reviews and feedback from fans, praising the band for its innovative and progressive ways. After a few minor releases, including a split with Såver, we have now arrived at the release of the band’s second album. Will Psychonaut be able to live up to the expectations with “Violate Consensus Reality”?
Fans don’t need to worry at all: Psychonaut hasn’t changed much, but also hasn’t stagnated. The music is a bit less atmospheric than before, leaning more towards progressive elements and a healthy dose of aggression, but there is no major shift in style. From the beginning to the end, the band fires interesting harmonies, rhythmic shifts and a varied vocal style at the listeners, clearly with the aim to overwhelm and captivate. Considering Psychonaut’s significant musical talents, this mission is successful and you will easily find yourself in a state of trance, forgetting about the world around you. Highlight of the album is the title track, which is also the most atmospheric song on the album, enhanced by dreamy guest vocals from Stefanie Mannaerts (Brutus) and the desperate screams of Colin van Eeckhout (Amenra).
While I personally have a slight preference for “Unfold the God Man”, I believe that fans of progressive post-metal can find plenty of great music on “Violate Consensus Reality” as well. The quality is consistent throughout the album and I strongly recommend fans of The Ocean, Mastodon and Hacride to give this a chance. You will not regret it!
Obsidious - Iconic
Ever wondered how glorious it would be to marry neo classical metal with tech death? Well of course it has been done to a certain degree here and there, a prime example being First Fragment’s 2021 masterpiece “Gloire Éternelle”, but most of these attempts were missing a key ingredient as far as I was concerned: the inclusion of proper clean vocals. The newly founded supergroup of sorts Obsidious is here to finally fill that gap. Founded by virtuoso trio Linus Klausenitzer (bass), Sebastian Lanser (drums) and Rafael Trujillo (guitars) upon their departure from Obscura, their recruitment of vocalist Javi Perera proved to be a stroke of genius. He is obviously able to cover both the relentless death growls, but when he’s putting his cleans forward, reminiscent of masters such as Kelly Sundown Carpenter (Adagio, Beyond Twilight) or Russel Allen (Symphony X), it gives “Iconic” that much needed edge and unique feature in a more and more overcrowded sea of tech death that might give Obsidious the much needed distinction to stand out from the crowd and turn some heads. But then again the level of songwriting, musicianship and production on “Iconic” is already so high that I’m almost reluctant to file it under ‘debut album’. On the one hand no real surprise given the protagonists involved, on the other hand it’s quite reassuring that all the expectations stirred by the line-up as such and the numerous singles released in advance were easily met with the release of the full album now. A definite no-brainer for tech death and neo classical metal fans alike, this is an album absolutely every metal head should hear this year. And then everything major metal Festival should book them for next year’s summer festival season. Obsidious is sure to melt some faces out there.
Anna Pest & Colin MacAndrew - A Moor Beneath the Cold Dead Sun EP
Continuing with more brutal stuff, our very own Colin MacAndrew (drummer for Montreal based sludge proggers of Ashbreather and resident research king here at The Progspace for both the Releases of the Week articles and What’s Hot?! playlist articles) has brewed up a nasty little three track collab EP with Ashbreather producer Anna Pest. The not so subtle ‘ding’ 12 seconds into ‘A Vision of the End’, the first song on “A Moor Beneath the Cold Dead Sun”, is kinda giving away one key component here: brutal deathcore. All guns blazing (or blasting), dissonant solos, pig squeals and heaviest-matter-of-the-universe-breakdowns, while applying all the standard deathcore tropes vicious- and ferociously, there’s enough variety to be found in these crystal clear yet heavy af produced 15 minutes to last for days, making it properly proggy as far as I’m concerned. Oh and just before the end a wild RO1 appears out of the blue with a sick keyboard solo. DING!
Worm - Bluenothing EP
To complete this exquisite triple of extreme releases this week, let’s dive into “Bluenothing”, into the super slo mo swamps of symphonic blackened doom created by a band called Worm. Previously unaware of the project, I was absolutely shocked by the ridiculousness of the lead guitar sounds and shred attacks from an entity called Wroth Septentrion, but when I found out it was Phil Tougas from First Fragment all along, it all made sense suddenly. I have no idea how Worm sounded before they enlisted his talents, but the result is absolutely stunning. With organs and atmospheres that make you feel like you’re standing in the great halls of Khazad-dûm, or staring into even deeper voids of Lovecraftian dimensions, “Bluenothing” is there to swallow you whole whether you like it or not. If you’re susceptible to the raw sounds of doom metal that is. “Bluenothing” is a true underground gem.
Ricky Patel - Silent Awakening
And here’s one very last minute addition to make the 50 releases full: “Silent Awakening” is an immersive cinematic offering by UK based musician Ricky Patel, and given the impeccable sound quality, it’s hard to believe that this is basically an independent solo bedroom debut release. Soothing and relaxing synth layers and hushed vocals meet with few proggy outbreaks, subdued electronic beats and gorgeous piano lines. Just the right thing after all this preceding brutality if you’re coming from the three releases previously discussed right above in this article… Wonderful and dreamy, “Silent Awakening” is showing massive potential already and all fans of cinematic, ambient pop music should definitely check it out!
More releases for 28 October, 2022
- Burn the Sun - Le Roi Soleil (Oct. 25, Sliptrick Records) Bandcamp
- Knekelput - Teloorgang (Oct. 25) Bandcamp
- Cécile Delpoïo - Tuolla (Oct. 26) Bandcamp
- The Separatists - Axioms EP (Oct. 26) Bandcamp
- Voidthrone - Metaphysical Degradation (Oct. 27, Total Dissonance Worship) Bandcamp
- Polyphia - Remember That You Will Die (Rise Records)
- Hoaxed - Two Shadows Bandcamp
- Edena Gardens - Edena Gardens (El Paraiso)
- Spell - Tragic Magic (Bad Omen Records) Bandcamp
- Godzilla in the Kitchen - Exodus (Argonauta Records) Bandcamp
- Forlesen - Black Terrain (I, Voidhanger Records) Bandcamp
- Sheer Cerebral Power - Sucker Punch’d Bandcamp
- Anima Morte - Serpents in the Fields of Sleep Bandcamp
- Royal Hunt - Dystopia: Part II
- Therion - Leviathan II
- Diagonal Path - Atheist Cathedrals Bandcamp
- Antipope - Rex Mundi
- BRIAN! - The Cataclysmic Engine (Nefarious Industries) Bandcamp
- Ascends - Lost in Gravity
- Universally Estranged - Dimension of Deviant Clusters Bandcamp
- Nostromo - Bucephale (Hummus Records) Bandcamp
- Oiseaux-Tempete - What on Earth (Que Diable) Bandcamp
- Guranfoe - Gumbo Gumbo Bandcamp
- Devenial Verdict - Ash Blind (Transcending Obscurity Records) Bandcamp
- Alpha Mountain - Alpha Mountain (Vallis Lupi Productions) Bandcamp
- Blessed - Circuitous (Flemish Eye) Bandcamp
- Ryr - Transient (Golden Antenna Records) Bandcamp
- MindAhead - 6119 - Part 1 (Rockshots Records)
- Thotcrime - D1G1T4L_DR1FT (Prosthetic Records) Bandcamp
- Blacklist - Afterworld (Profound Lore Records) Bandcamp
- Slaughter the Giant - Depravity (Hammerheart Records)
- Brusque - Boite Noire Bandcamp
- Nionde Plagan - Transformation Bandcamp
- Throwing Bricks - The Burden (Tartarus Records) Bandcamp
- King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard - Changes Bandcamp
- lostlemming - 61 Cygni Bandcamp
- Implore - The Burden of Existence (Church Road Records) Bandcamp
- Faetooth - Remnants of the Vessel (Dune Altar) Bandcamp
- Sugar Horse - Waterloo Teeth EP (Art As Catharsis) Bandcamp
- Wand - Spiders in the Rain (Drag City Records) Bandcamp
- Sigur Ros - ( ) [20th Anniversary Edition] (Krunk) Bandcamp