Dario | Nov 15, 2023 | 0
November releases continue to show up in a wonderful variety
Releases of the Week 45/2023 with Ions, Aeolian, Shylmagohgnar, Dissona, Galahad, The Ritual Aura, Passage, Autarkh, Codex Anima, Hashshashin, The Color of Rain & Chaos Divine
The second week of November 2023 comes along with 65 new releases! Among our 12 carefully picked highlights, you can find
- Cinematic Progmetal from Czechia and the USA by Ions and Dissona
- Mighty Melodic Death Metal from Mallorca by Aeolian
- Three Extreme Metal releases from The Netherlands by Shylmagoghnar, The Color of Rain and Autarkh
- Two mind blowing representatives from Perth, Australia with The Ritual Aura and Chaos Divine
- Mesmerizing instrumental prog from Canada and Australia by Passage and Hashshashin
- Classic Progrock from the UK by Galahad
- Crazy electronic music from France by Codex Anima
Discover all Releases of the Week through our mini reviews and the Bandcamp links in the list below, and our highlights in our weekly updated Spotify playlist – Enjoy! https://theprogspace.com/rotw-playlist
Ions - Counterintuitive
Exploring the depths of the human psyche lyrically like many bands before, Czech five-piece Ions is wrapping their tales in a modern prog metal sound that oozes atmosphere and emotions through every pore. With synth swathes and floating odd meter riffs reminiscent of bands like Ihlo, Leprous, Rendezvous Point, VOLA, Kingcrow, the more subtle and less heavy moments of vulnerable melodic sensibility could also be likened to The Pineapple Thief (or the other famous PT band if you will). “Counterintuitive” is the bands’ sophomore effort and it’s an absolutely excellent one at that. The only wish that’s left after I’ve listened to it in its 50 minute glory is that maybe they could go for a couple more of those harder metal parts that are just so satisfyingly hard hitting. And/or to listen to “Counterintuitive” again. And again.
Aeolian - Echoes of the Future
Hailing from the beautiful Island of Mallorca, five-piece Aeolian fly the Melodic Death Metal flag high there since 2016, and now share the last chapter of their thought- provoking trilogy, that started with “Silent Witness” (2018) and “The Negationist” (2020). For “Echoes of the Future”, they put us in the shoes of our counterparts from a not-so-distant future, who guide us through humanity’s difficulties in order to survive on a planet that is increasingly inhospitable because of past mistakes.
Opening track ‘Hominis Obscura’ rumbles forcefully out of the speakers, with a mighty riff and the rhythm section firing on all cylinders, but also offers some peaceful interludes. Next up is ‘Dreams or Reality’, for which they keep this high tempo, and the guitars delivering marvelous melodic parts in contrast to the harsh, powerful growls. ‘The Miracle’ comes along on rather light feet and a catchy main motif that gets its reprise instrumental- and vocal-wise. They continue to work with these ingredients, skillfully switching between hard-hitting and calmer, atmospheric moments.
The trilogy’s final chapter is mind- blowing yet accessible, well produced, diverse in its compositions, and even though they lose a bit of their initial high energy towards the end, “Echoes of the Future” as an entirety is another step forward for the Spanish powerhouse. With the stunning artwork by Ryan T. Hancock, they are not only delivering on the sonic but also (again) on the visual side – Recommended to crank it up.
Shylmagoghnar - Convergence
Finding a unique band name these days is a challenge, but Dutch Atmospheric Black Metal act Shylmagoghnar clearly managed to create one by puzzling together several syllables that had a special meaning for them. What started as a duo in 2004 meanwhile turned into a one-man project by multi-instrumentalist and founding member Nimblkorg, who now shares his marvelous, third album, “Convergence”, closing a trilogy that began with “Emergence” (2014) and “Transience” (2018). Musically speaking, the genre tag doesn’t do justice to describe the compositional diversity of “Convergence” for me, as there is so much more going on here, often coming along mighty and cinematic, then again peaceful and mesmerizing. The songs indeed build up an intense, often gloomy atmosphere, and the vocals are mostly rooted into Black Metal stylistically, yet the music also wanders into the wide fields of Progressive and Melodic Death Metal, well supported by a clean, detailed production, and fortunately prevail my personal reservations regarding this kind of raspy singing. Especially the wonderful guitar and piano parts catch my attention every time, so do the great synth arrangements, and considering this is a solo, home recorded project makes things even more impressive. All-together, this mix works very well – Check it out!
Dissona - Dreadfully Dinstinct EP
Chicago based progmetal band Dissona had fully recorded their third album when the pandemic hit, so they made the bold decision to postpone the release until things would be back to normal. Nevertheless, the need to express musically remained also during lockdown and made them write 3 Blade Runner-related tracks, with each focusing on one character of this special sci-fi universe. The music on “Dreadfully Distinct” is best described as epic, building up a dark, suspenseful atmosphere through the cinematic background orchestration. While the stories are told expressively thanks to the anthemic vocal performance, the powerful yet varied guitar and rhythm work brings in a great dynamic. Track Number 3, ‘Skinjob’, comes along differently with its futuristic, electronic sound, and the pulsing beat underlining the striking replicant – human theme.
Since I wasn’t yet familiar with Dissona, this EP was a pleasant surprise for me, offering a consistent concept, wonderfully diverse compositions, and great musicianship. I’m digging their kind of musical story-telling, where everything seems to be in the right place, perfectly supported by the well-balanced, yet full-sounding production. With the earlier mentioned already recorded album on the horizon, it feels like a good time to dive into their back-catalog before the new opus will be released, which is highly anticipated now 🙂
Galahad - The Long Goodbye
Long standing British Prog Rockers of Galahad are slowly but steadily approaching their 40th band anniversary in two years time, but only in the last 1 ½ decades they seem to have reached a certain momentum ever since the release of their seminal masterpiece (“Empires Never Last”, 2007). Their special blend of whimsical and grandiose, tackling some serious topics in their inimitable tongue-in-cheek style still sets them apart from most of the other so called Neo Prog bands that simply drown in keyboard layers. Don’t get me wrong, there’s still lots of keys on “The Long Goodbye”. But they never overshadow the whole picture, while still remaining a vital key point to Galahad’s well balanced band sound (no pun intended). While the aforementioned “Empires Never Last” (2007) and the following double punch “Battle Scars”/”Beyond the Realms of Euphoria” (2012) still remains my favorite of the whole Galahad discography, “The Long Goodbye” is thoroughly enjoyable in its own right.
The Ritual Aura - Heresiarch
No idea what’s going on Down Under right now, but I’m really impressed by the musical output coming from Australia this year, not only in quantity, but also in quality, and The Ritual Aura is another fine example. Adorned by a mighty dragon, the Tech Death band from Perth just unleashed their 4th album, and it’s indeed a beast! “Heresiarch” consists of eight lyrical suites that work as leitmotifs over the entire record, exploring different elements, characters and perspectives of the lore. This approach brings an interesting depth and diversity into the music, so does the long list of instruments that would not necessarily be connected with the genre. This being said, they take their time to build up a dense atmosphere with additional strings, piano, sax, and a rather doomy opening track, so the first blast beats appear after 5 minutes. From now on things get really wild as you already might have expected, and they absolutely deliver. Every now and then, the highly technical parts get a bit out of hand, but they quickly find their way back on track, and with some calmer classical or even avantgarde inspired interludes, they expand the overall listening experience in a wonderful way.
Passage - Oblique
After having spent the past days excessively with mighty Melodic Death, epic Progressive Metal and complex Tech Death, my mind was longing for some rest. Since it’s a grey, rainy November day right now, the cover artwork of Passage’s album “Oblique” immediately spoke to me when scrolling by, and the first chords welcomed me in an amazing way. Hailing from Canada, the band was formed in 2001, and after having started in the heavier doom / gothic direction, they completely changed their musical approach in 2022 and now explore the wide fields of instrumental, cinematic post rock, with the focus on light guitar and piano melodies, playful drums, and wonderful string arrangements. The result is mesmerizing and heart-warming, coming along with a certain melancholy, but also a beautiful lightness, and might be best enjoyed in a quiet surrounding.
Autarkh - Emergent
“Emergent” is the name of the second album of Cynic bass god Sean Malone’s quasi solo project Gordian Knot. It is also the name of the second album by Dutch collective Autarkh, following their baffling 2021 debut “Form In Motion”. That one featured one of the most iconic riffs lately (in my book at least) with the last 1 ½ minutes or so of the track ‘Alignment’ (even though it’s ‘only’ a reprise of a motif from ‘Cyclic Terror’). “Emergent” shows the sonic explorations of Michel Nienhuis (Our Oceans, ex-Exivious, ex-Dodecahedron) and companions heading into a tad less extreme and abrasive industrial territories compared to the debut, but their knack for vast, angular, dissonant riffs in an electronic landscape is still intact, and the increasingly clean vocals enhance the sense of melody and harmony a thousandfold without abandoning their harsh roots at all. A singular voice, at least to my knowledge, in modern progressive extreme metal, Autarkh continue to be absolutely vital to the advancement of what is possible sonically in a modern extreme prog metal environment.
Codex Anima - ω EP
This is not prog. Not at all. Even though it is pulling the same trick as Riverside’s “Second Life Syndrome” conceptually, namely placing the Outro at the beginning and the Intro at the end, It is rather an experiment, that sounds like a random conglomeration of art, philosophy and music students that tried their hands at electronic techno music or something of that sort. And accidentally created something so unique and transcendental, that they just might win over some open minded prog heads with their limitlessly engrossing debut EP “ω”. Codex Anima from France is a forward thinking enigma and I need more of it! But beware, if you don’t like electronic music at all, this might not be to your liking either. Proceed to some handmade Prog Metal with our following live release of the week…
Hashshashin - Śaraṇaṃ
Another odd one out, Sydney’s Eastern Psychedelic Post Droners of Hashshashin present a three track EP with “Śaraṇaṃ”, full of meditative desert vibes that’s prepared to take you on a tranced out trip of roughly 24 minutes. Hardly comparable to anything else I know, I think I can best describe it as a less fusion-y, more psychedelic/droney version of Consider the Source. Very chill vibes from this Australian trio, led by Art As Catharsis label boss Lachlan Dale on the Rubab, an Afghan instrument he’s been studying intensively over the last few years. Trippy and engaging, provided you’re into these eastern sounds and don’t mind the absence of electric guitars.
The Color of Rain - Oceans Above
The second Dutch release that sails under the Atmospheric Black Metal banner this week is The Color of Rain’s debut album “Oceans Above”. Its sound is vastly different from Shylmagoghnar’s though. It is an endearing underground approach, constantly flirting with Progressive ideas that make this otherwise decidedly Black Metal release worth checking out.
Chaos Divine - The Human Connection - Live at Badlands
And here we are, with the second album release of a Perthian band this week, but it’s a live recording of Chaos Divine’s “The Human Connection”, their live rendition commemorating the 10th anniversary of their sophomore album. Recorded at the legendary Badlands in their hometown of Perth (a live venue a lot of Prog bands from Western Australia have played numerous times, but sadly is closing down now, going out with a big bang of three sold out Karnivool shows in a row on Dec. 20/21/22), bookended by the smash hit ‘One Door’ and the epic ‘No Road Home (Solastalgia)’, plus some bonus tracks including their legendary cover of Toto’s ‘Africa’, available as Video on Demand on Vimeo, this release is an excellent testament and reminder of the qualities Chaos Divine have to offer with their catchy Karnivool goes Melodic Death Metal high energy prog. It’s been more than three years since the release of their last studio effort “Legacies” as well, so here’s to hopefully some new Chaos Divine material soon!
More releases for 10 November, 2023
- Deorbit - Retrogradient Bandcamp
- Crescendium - Within Bandcamp
- Unreal - From Beyond (Nov. 07) Bandcamp
- Confusion Field - Future Impact of Past Diversions
- Maailmanpuu - Kaimalkuu Bandcamp
- Hinayana - Shatter and Fall (Napalm Records) Bandcamp
- Sons of Sounds - Seven (El Puerto Records) Bandcamp
- Isometry - Break the Look Bandcamp
- Sâver - From Ember And Rust (Pelagic Records) Bandcamp
- Space Weather - Jaded and Dreaming Bandcamp
- Psychedelic Porn Crumpets - Fronzoli Bandcamp
- Oslo Tapes - Staring at the Sun before goin' blind Bandcamp
- Kanaan - Diversions Vol. 2: Enter the Astral Plane (Jansen Records) Bandcamp
- Fallen Utopia - Ruin (Nov. 11) Bandcamp
- The Neologist - Between the Darkness and the Fade Bandcamp
- Suru - Under the Red Sun EP Bandcamp
- The Mosaic Window - Plight of Acceptance (Willowtip Records) Bandcamp
- Night Crowned - Tales (Noble Demon) Bandcamp
- The Fall of Mother Earth - Shattered Memories Bandcamp
- Mephorash - Krystl-Ah (Regain Records) Bandcamp
- Highborne - Spectral Séances EP Bandcamp
- Marsh of Swans - Heartwood Bandcamp
- Aeons Abyss - Insidious Truth EP Bandcamp
- Halvar - State of the Nation (MMD Records) Bandcamp
- Hypaethral - Hypaethral Bandcamp
- Rivers Ablaze - Omnipresence Bandcamp
- Darkness Ablaze - It All Shall Burn (Nov. 09) Bandcamp
- Plague Rider - Intensities (Transcending Obscurity Records) Bandcamp
- Vastum - Inward To Gethsemane (20 Buck Spin Records) Bandcamp
- Night Hag / Burial - Utterances From Below (Rotted Life) Bandcamp
- Acid Throne - Kingdom's Death (Nov. 08) Bandcamp
- Phantom Winter - Her Cold Materials (This Charming Man Records) Bandcamp
- Pyrolatrous - Inveterate (Gilead Media) Bandcamp
- Lidandet - konsten att dansa utan fötter Bandcamp
- Lower 13 - Deception EP Bandcamp
- Left Eye Perspective - Conundrum (Argonauta Records) Bandcamp
- I Met a Yeti - Time Erasure EP Bandcamp
- Burn Ritual - Grave Watcher Bandcamp
- Aglo - Build Fear Bandcamp
- Horsewhip - Consume and Burn (Iodine Recordings) Bandcamp
- First Flame - Beneath the Surface (Geenger Records) Bandcamp
- MouthBreather - Self-Tape (Good Fight) Bandcamp
- Ex Everything - Slow Change Will Pull Us Apart (Neurot Recordings) Bandcamp
- Fucked Up - Show Friends EP (Nov. 07, Merge Records) Bandcamp
- Déhà / Dryàda - Plague (Charity Compilation) Bandcamp
- Sébastien Guérive - Obscure Clarity (Atypeek Music) Bandcamp
- Secret Sphere - Blackened Heartbeat (Frontiers Music)
- D'Virgilio, Morse & Jennings - Sophomore (Inside Out Music) Bandcamp
- Retrospective - Live Progfrog Holland mini LP Bandcamp
- Dagtum - Revered Decadence (Re-Release) (Nov. 08, Malevolent Sound) Bandcamp
- Ashbreather - Hivemind (Instrumental) (Nov. 11) Bandcamp
- Triumph of Death - Resurrection of the Flesh (Live) (Prowling Death Records)
- Tarja - Dark Christmas (earMusic)