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TB Project – Hourglass of Exile

TB Project – Hourglass of Exile

TB Project - Hourglass of Exile

  • Rating: 9/10
  • Release Date: 14 July, 2023
  • Label: tB Audio LLC
  • Musicians:
    Taylor Batory - Guitar, bass, backing vocals
    Chris Sampson - Lead vocals
    Matt Graff - Drums
    Anna Armstrong - Extra vocals/Spoken word
    Miles Izzo - Trumpet
    Michael Pilley - Trombone
    Drew Vandewinckel - Saxophone
    Zach Kamins - guest guitar solo
    Jarod Fedele - guest keys solo
    Mattias IA Eklundh - guitar guitar solo
    Taylor Batory - Mixing and mastering
    Taylor Batory - Music and lyrics
  • Favorite songs:
    That's A Nice Coat, The Messengers, Resign
  • For Fans of:
    Haken, Azure

Here we have the debut album of TB Project, a solo project from Michigan born multi-instrumentalist Taylor Batory, who is the brainchild behind the project. “Hourglass of Exile” is a 77 minute concept album based around the anime “Last Exile”, a 26 episode Japanese anime that aired in 2003. According to Batory, the writing process for “Hourglass of Exile” dates back as early as 2012, with the writing not being completed until 2021, with an additional 2 years of recording and perfecting. Needless to say, “Hourglass of Exile” is a piece of work Batory is incredibly proud of and it shows in the music.


Taylor Batory

This album is a remarkable journey, that never overstays its welcome despite its long run time. Whilst it’s easy to draw comparisons to ‘70s prog, or to “The Mountain”/”Restoration” era Haken, “Hourglass of Exile” really does retain its own identity. Instrumentally, it offers soaring solos and melodies, ethereal acoustic passages, some surprisingly heavy riffs when the music allows for it, and even a horn quartet and synths for when it’s time to get jazzy. The vocals are actually provided by Azure’s Chris Sampson, who offers up a stellar theatrical performance as always, with some seriously impactful high notes, and makes for a fantastic addition to the record. But what I love about this album is how it seamlessly transitions between gripping instrumental passages and addictively catchy vocal melodies. The two complement each other perfectly, but Batory knows when to use each instrumental passage correctly and fine tunes each one to fit perfectly.

As well as Chris Sampson, Batory is joined by Matt Graff on drums, and Zach Kamins from The Flower Kings adds some additional solos. My personal favourite track has to be the mid album track ‘That’s a Nice Coat’, which starts with heavy electronic elements, before giving way to a softer jazz section, and ending with a big atmospheric chorus. Other highlights include the 8 minute ‘The Messengers’ which really sets the tone for the album, and the almost 12 minute finale “Resign”, which ends with one of the coolest solos ever played. “Exile to Hourglass” is an incredibly addictive and captivating experience that constantly chops and changes to keep the listener engaged.

Not only is this Taylor Batory’s crowning achievement, but might honestly be my favourite record that Chris Sampson has ever put his name to. Hopefully the follow up doesn’t take another 10 years to come out, but if “Hourglass of Exile” is anything to go by then maybe it will be worth the wait, because prog albums that are this perfectly crafted are incredibly hard to come by. I really can’t recommend this one enough.

Track List:

  1. Divided Skies (03:53)
  2. The Messengers (08:37)
  3. Seven Stars (05:00
  4. Shadowboxer (07:12)
  5. Swindle (06:26)
  6. Mysterion (01:20
  7. Zeal/Appeal (10:09)
  8. That’s a Nice Coat (06:40)
  9. Silent War (05:08)
  10. Riddles of Exile (08:28)
  11. Sound of Ruin (02:21)
  12. Resign (11:43)

About the Author


Hailing from Lancashire in the North West of England, Sam is a huge nerd for video games, movies, and of course, all things prog. Raised on Grunge and Nu Metal, Sam’s life changed when he heard Dream Theater for the first time and became that one guy at the party that stands in the corner talking about time signatures and music theory. Sam’s other favourite bands include Porcupine Tree, Leprous, Tool, and mostly anything technical and/or progressive. Outside of prog, Sam mostly enjoys doom metal, especially stoner doom and funeral doom, but is always open to pretty much anything. Sam is very family oriented in his personal life, and when he isn’t listening to new music, he’s most likely looking after his three daughters whom he’s incredibly outnumbered by.

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