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The Progfiles Archives: February 2021

By | Feb 28, 2021|The Progfiles

The Progfiles Archives is a new article series here at the Progspace. The idea sprang from the monthly radio show that editor Rune does with his colleague, Cees over at The Progfiles.

If you want to listen to the show live on air, please follow The Progfiles and The Progspace on Facebook to see the events as they go up, and get a reminder.

You can now also listen to the podcast version of the most recent edition in full by clicking on the Soundcloud link below, or you can find direct links to listen to the individual bands via streaming services.

As we are already curating the radio show and presenting the bands on air, we thought “why not use that work to create an article series, where people can go back and enjoy the previous shows, listen to the tracks presented, and follow and support the featured musicians“. Thus “The Progfiles Archives” were born.

The Radio show has at this point been running for several years on Dutch internet radio channel ISKC, and features both young up-and-coming bands and artists in the progressive music landscape, as well as older hidden gems, and obscure albums.

The Progfiles also has a Discord channel that is usually active during the shows, and where you can chat with the hosts of the show, many of the Progspace crew, other progressive music fans, and quite regularly also the musicians being featured, so feel free to join the fun.

If you want a chance to be featured on The Progfiles radio show, and subsequently this article series, please send an email to [email protected], or [email protected].

We listen to everything we are sent and try to feature all the music we like within the time limits of the show. So that being said, I hope you enjoy reading this month’s article, that you find some new great progressive music to enjoy, and that you keep on spreading the proglove!

You can listen to The Progfiles every last Monday of the month at 21.00 CET at ISKC Rocks Radio.

 

Echodrone – Jaded

https://youtu.be/BFB33F4Z4c0

Album: Resurgence

Release Date: March 5th, 2021

‘Jaded’ is the first single from San Francisco band Echodrones upcoming album “Resurgence” that will be released March 5th on Dome A Records. Formed in 2005, their dreamy, eclectic style is a refreshing listen, containing elements of pop, alternative rock, prog and electronic music. Anyone who enjoys some catchy atmospherics should lend an ear to these Californians.

FFO: Pure Reason Revolution, The Gathering, Indukti, Paathos

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Framing Skeletons - II: The Progression

Album: Luminescence

Release Date: February 26th, 2021

Another American band, this time from Texas. Framing Skeletons play a fascinating style of progressive metal, that manages to mix modern and more classic prog stylings. Add in some almost grungy indie-rock elements and you have magic. This track is taken from their third full-length album “Luminescence” which will be self-released on February 26th. This comes hot on the heels of their second release “Odium” that was out in October last year. In fact, the two albums are, sort of, siblings, with “Odium” being the more aggressive release, while the upcoming “Luminescence” will focus on the more contemplative side of the bands’ music. I also must emphasize the voice of vocalist and guitarist Jeremy Burke, as he effortlessly switches between cleans and aggressive screams. Great stuff!  If the track featured here whets your appetite, the full album just released this Friday, and you can read more about what our reviewer Bob thinks about it here!

FFO: Fair to Midland, Tesseract, The Contortionist, Dream Theater, Pain of Salvation

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Kauan - Raivo

Album: Ice Fleet

Release Date: April 9th, 2021

Russian band Kauan has always been interesting. Founder and songwriter Anton Belov has created a band with a foundation in atmospheric doom, and their music can be beautiful beyond belief. This is shown once again with ‘Raivo’ which is the first single from their upcoming album “Ice Fleet” (releasing on April 9th). Kauans music is full of cinematic and progressive elements, as well as inspirations from death metal and post-rock. It’s the type of compositions that really take you on a journey as a listener. As always the concepts and lyrics of the albums seem to be as involved as the music. “Ice Fleet” is focused on the story set in 1930 of the discovery of a flotilla of ships found trapped in the ice along the northern coast of the USSR, and the geological team who were unlucky enough to stumble upon it.

FFO: Green Carnation, Throes of Dawn, Agalloch, Sólstafir 

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Konom – As The Waters Rise

Album: Konom

Release Date: February 26th, 2021

This track is taken from the self-titled debut album of UK prog-band Konom. The band includes, among others, guitarist Dan White, known from progressive death-metal band Spires, and drummer Tom Rice, who also played on one of the best albums of 2020, namely Paul Sadlers solo album “Soon To Be Absorbed”. This is not death-metal however but rather reminds me of a mixture of neoprog and progmetal with both classic and contemporary influences. I also enjoy the contributions of vocalist Arya Bobaie, who has a voice brimming with personality, and at times reminds me of a young Fish (ex-Marillion). The full album dropped just a couple of days ago, and you can read a more in-depth review here!

FFO: Haken, Marillion, Caligulas Horse, Pallas, It Bites

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Riddlebreak – The Hog

Album: Architeuthis EP

Release Date: January 29th, 2021

Riddlebreaks’ “Architeuthis EP” is another very interesting release of early 2021, The band plays alternative/progressive metalcore and hails from South Africa. Anyone who knows me will know that metal/deathcore isn’t the best fit, but this has tons of melody, violin, and nice use of keyboard and piano. Also, the vocals, which is often the weak-point of metalcore for me, is varied, utilizing both screams and growls. Add to that plenty of progressive elements, and what we have is an impressive piece of music.

FFO: The Offering, Humanity’s Last Breath, A Sense of Gravity, Between the Buried and Me

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MEER - Picking Up The Pieces

Album: Playing House

Release Date: January 29th, 2021

Norwegian MEER describe themselves as makers of “orchestral progpop”, which is not wrong at all, but somewhat fails to describe both how catchy and grand their compositions sound. The band compromises eight obviously very talented musicians, and among them are two fantastic vocalists that manage to imbue their music with both joy and melancholy. If you want to learn more about their recently released album “Playing House”, from which this track is taken, you are in luck as our eminent writer Evelina, has a full-length review for you to read here .

FFO: Bent Knee, Ted Glen Extended, Mæll, Fervent Mind, Mew, Thank You Scientist

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Logos – Zaini di elio

Album: Sadako e le mille gru di carta

Release Date: July 1st, 2020

Talk about sleeping in class. I feel that I am usually quite up to date on releases across the whole prog spectrum, but this album by Italian band “Logos” passed me completely by when it was released in July last year. This is 70’s inspired progressive rock at it’s best, and clearly influenced by the Italian greats of the “golden age” of prog. Not surprising since the band apparently started out as a cover band, playing the material of some of those inspirations.

The album concept is touching in itself also, telling the story of Sadako Sasaki, a young Japanese girl who developed leukaemia after being exposed to radiation during the atomic bombing of Hiroshima. Inspired by an old Japanese legend she started folding origami paper cranes, as the legend stated that whoever finished 1000 cranes would be granted a wish. A simply heartbreaking yet inspiring story.

FFO: Banco del Mutua Soccorso, Le Orme, PFM, Museo Rosenbach, Yes, Genesis

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prdr - vanguard

Album: how did the desert bloom

Release Date: February 23rd, 2021

Here we have a finely polished little EP from Australian composer and guitarist Peter Meere. The sound is a very modern, pleasant and smooth blend of atmospheric post-rock and contemporary sounding progressive metal. Vocalist Matt Sky also adds a lot to this recording, as his voice is both graceful and expressive. I can’t say anything but that I’m eager to hear more music from Meere and his compatriots.

FFO: The Contortionist, Caligula’s Horse, Tesseract, Voices From The Fuselage, Plini.  

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Stone Healer - Into the Spoke of Night

Album: Conquistador

Release Date: April 30th, 2021

“Quite unique” is how I’d describe the music of the Americans in Stone Healer. There is definitely some dissonant black/death metal inspirations here, but it’s mixed with almost grunge-like groovy metal. Like Soundgarden meeting Ulcerate or something. There is much more use of clean vocals on this album than you would expect, considering the rawness of the music itself. The cleans are also mixed with black-metalish screams where applicable. I’d argue that these Americans have managed to create a truly progressive approach to their music. The full album will be out on the 30th of April, but until then you can enjoy this single.

FFO: Intronaut, Mastodon, Ved Buens Ende, Virus, Kralice, Deathspell Omega

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Suburban Savages - Iconoclast

Album: Demagogue Days

Release Date: March 5th, 2021

Norwegian avant-prog with some catchy poppy melodies amongst the complexity, The band seems to draw inspiration from all eras and sub-genres of progressive music, as well as adding subtle hints of electronic music.  The album is therefore a very interesting and varied listening experience.  The track featured here ‘Iconoclast’, for example, seems to pay tribute to Gentle Giant in some subtle ways. Vocal duties are shared between several band members, all talented, but especially keyboardist Mari Lesteberg makes me perk up a little extra when I hear her voice.

FFO: MEER, King Crimson, Gentle Giant, Bent Knee

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Tom Doncourt & Mattias Olsson - Poppies in a field

Album: Tom Doncourt & Mattias Olsson's Cathedral

Release Date: December 10th, 2020

Fans of more obscure albums of the 70’s will probably know of American prog-rock band Cathedral, who released their “Stained Glass Stories” back in 1978, just when the “golden era” of progressive rock was on its heels. Tom Doncourt was one of the founders of Cathedral, and the bands’ main songwriter.

During the early ‘90s during what could be called a “Scandinavian revival” of progressive music, one of the early bands were Swedish Änglagård, which was heavily inspired by, among others, the sound of Cathedral, with its heavy layers of ominous Mellotron.

Änglagård drummer Mattias Olsson eventually made contact with Doncourt and they developed a friendship and worked together on several projects.

In 2019 Doncourt sadly passed away, while the two were writing and recording for what would become this album. Over the next year, Olsson finished the album from his studio in Sweden, and it was finally released in December 2020. Like most things Olsson is involved is, this is boundary-breaking and truly progressive. Well worth giving your listening time to.

FFO: Cathedral, Änglagård, Anekdoten, Landberq, King Crimson, Isildurs Bane

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Acolyte - Entropy

Album: TBA

Release Date: TBA

Here we have some powerful progmetal from Australian band Acolyte. The band sounds very modern, but still includes inspirations from more traditional progressive metal, as well as some cinematic and symphonic elements. They do not let those tropes define their sound, however. I think this is partly because of front-woman Morgan-Leigh Brown, who quickly grabs your attention with her unique and forceful voice, and does definitely not sound like your “typical” female symphonic metal vocalist. Add some 80’s style synths, great guitar solos, and catchy choruses, and you have an earworm. The album will be released later this year and seems to have an interesting concept, based on the stages of loss, and is presented as a diary.

FFO: Voyager,  The Gentle Storm, Golden Caves, District 97, Oceans of Slumber. 

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Cave of Swimmers - Double Rainbow

Album: Aurora

Release Date: February 23rd, 2021

Really cool heavy metal with lots of prog elements and excellent melodies from these two Venezuelan musicians living in Miami. “Aurora” makes me think of NWBOHM, but with added influences from sludge, doom and even some surf-rock. They have a penchant for writing catchy and groovy melodies, while still retaining power. As you probably can tell, I’ve been enjoying this album very much. There is a positiveness and lightness to their music, even though it truly rocks. Also, the fact that their first single from the album is called “Double Rainbow”, makes it even better. The full album “Aurora” released on February 23rd, so go listen!

FFO: Dark Quarterer, Heart of Cygnus, Hammers of Misfortune, Manilla Road.

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Cryptodira - Something Other Than Sacrifice

Album: The Angel of History

Release Date: December 4th, 2020

I honestly did not expect to enjoy this album as much as I did, seeing as mentioned above, metal/deathcore is rarely a favourite on the menu for me, but Cryptodira from New York showcases so many styles and influences on this album that I find myself impressed nonetheless. There is a foundation of extreme metal for sure, but layered with progressive and atmospheric parts, hints of jazz-fusion and at times even gothic-rock elements. Skilful use of both clean and harsh vocals also add to the intrigue. Cryptodira’s music can definitely be frantic and challenging at times, yet it’s contrasted beautifully by melancholy and emotion. The album this track was taken from released last December, so if you enjoy what I’ve selected here it’s yours for the listening, or better yet, purchasing, over at their Bandcamp!

FFO: Slice the Cake, Between The Buried and Me, Native Construct, Dillinger Escape Plan, Architects.

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Maudits - Grain Blanc

Album: Maudits

Release Date: October 2nd, 2020

The last song I selected for this edition is by the French band Maudits. ‘Grain Blanc’ is taken from their debut album, released in October 2020. The style is definitely based on instrumental post-rock, but with enough elements from prog and doom-metal to make it interesting for people outside the post-rock scene as well. Some added violin, piano and keyboards (and even a theremin on one of the tracks) from guest performers add even more detail to their soundscapes.  The band has a talent for starting simple and letting the listener familiarize themselves with a theme before building layer upon layer, expanding on the melodies and finally reaching a grand and emotional crescendo.

FFO: Mono, December, Toundra, 65daysofstatic, Wang Wen

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