Folllow Me on Twitter

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Simakdialog - Patahan / Demi Masa

Virtuoso Guitarist, Tohpati, has been a very busy man with his projects including Tohpati Bertiga and Tohpati Ethnomission in the Indonesian Jazz Rock scene and one of the bands that he was in a group called Simakdialog that was launched 20 years ago by keyboardist Riza Arshad in Jarkata. While Indonesia carries the touches of Art and Music, this band really can take the sounds of Jazz Rock up a level with middle-eastern beats, classical, and percussion beats to really get you up off the chair and dance to the rhythm.

In the group which is a five-piece band featuring alongside Riza Arshad and Tohpati, features Adhithya Pramtama on Bass and percussionists Endang Ramdan and Erlan Suwardana. These two albums including the live album Patahan from MoonJune Records and their fifth album, Demi Masa as well, can really come in handy in a big way and you can tell there is some magic and wonder from a five piece that can take you on an amazing adventure you never dreamed of.

The performance was recorded at Goethe Haus in 2006 and from this live recording, you could tell that the audience themselves were in awe and almost have their jaws-dropped from the moment Riza plays the first few notes on the Piano and knowing that this was an experience they’ll never forget. It’s relaxing and the soothing introduction pieces on One Has to Be and Spur of the Moment, which has this resemblance of the smoky jazz clubs in the late ‘50s and early ‘60s as Riza pays tribute to McCoy Tyner as if the group were paying tribute to John Coltrane and Vince Guaraldi in which he does to capture the essence of the sound as if they were writing a sequel to A Love Supreme.

Then, all of a sudden, everything starts to change with the Avant-Garde experimental thumping touches that has a floating atmosphere on Kemarau, featuring some dramatic percussion work before the band go into this Rock In Opposition homage in the midsection with computers going haywire to set up the dystopian universe for the climax while Worthseeing gives the band a chance to do whatever they want and be creative with their instruments as the audience could tell, who were very quiet were in awe from Bebop, ‘70s Rock, and African-Tribe movements filling up the hall.

Then comes the closer, Kain Sigli, which starts off as a poetry reading in German and Indonesian translation as Nyak Ina Raesuki comes in with her vocalization and just gives it all she got as the band follows her voice in this Ambient Bossa-Nova turned Flamenco adventure as she goes high in the melody as it becomes this energetic moment between the members and Nyak for this difficult time changing movement that becomes the highlight of the show to close off with a bang.

Demi Mosa, released in 2009, takes the Jazz Fusion level up a notch and the people from MoonJune Records, do they know Jazz and Prog Rock music very well for the 21st century. This feels like it was recorded in the 1970s and the music seems to carry the torch very well with a lot of the structures for the group to understand the meaning of the influence and it’s something to take note of.

The touches of Fender Rhodes Piano is really just completely out there for Riza to pay tribute to Herbie Hancock, Keith Tippett, Mike Ratledge, and Jan Hammer as he takes the Rhodes for a wonderful road trip into the Indonesian countryside which is evidential on Salilana Pertama (Foerver Part One) and he just goes for it as the band are smiling and knowing they have done their job to give Riza a moment to shine including a duet between him and Tohpati on the lukewarm touches on Tak Jauh Pertama (Not So Far, Part One) before it becomes a percussion thunderstorm.

Elsewhere, the trilogy to Trah Lor (Northern People) is one of the most experimental pieces that they’ve done on Demi Masa. It goes through this Acoustic Guitar and Jazzy Piano lines that makes it like a concerto featuring a swooping synth setting up the scenery (Voices) before it becomes this avant-ambient keyboard movement with a MIDI-like vocal work and then percussion and piano do a freak-out session as it becomes an homage to the Flying Teapot sessions of Gong to close the trilogy off in a Spacey swoosh (Faces and Prints)

The closer Disapih (Separate Away), is Tohpati’s fast and slow meets stop-and-go time signature for his guitar to have a bit of Fun in the style of John McLaughlin turned into another futuristic rock finale to give it the final voyages to boldly go where he's never gone before. Simakdialog are for me, one of the most heart stopping groups to come out of Indonesia. And after hearing these two albums, I’ve began to realize that my heart has finally been opening up the door of hearing world music doing these genres and I hope they are doing another album sometime in the future and let's see what the future will hold for MoonJune Records. I can't wait to see what they will have up their sleeves for 2013

Friday, January 25, 2013

Tohpati Bertiga - Riot

In the era of Guitar Gods, there have been a lot of virtuoso's that have taken the ultra-mile by going further like a speeding NASCAR. People like Robert Fripp, Jimmy Page, John McLaughlin, Frank Zappa, Jimi Hendrix, and Steve Howe have been giving us a lot of mind-blowing work and their guitar lines, rhythm, and solos have blown us away from beginning, middle, and end. And now, there’s a newcomer from the land of Indonesia and as hearing his other project with Ethnopassion’s Save The Planet, Tohpati is one of the most up-and-coming guitarist (his real name is Tohpati Ario Hutomo) to come out of the Jazz Rock scene and creates this wonderful magic on his style of playing that is out of this world.

He has been a very busy man and his other project called, Tohpati Bertiga, which is a trio featuring Indro Hardjodikoro (Ethnopassion), and Drummer Adityo Wibowo in which they are almost this combination of Jazz-Prog-Funk-Metal with a fast time driven beat that is a wonderful “WOW!” factor from the moment you play Riot in its entirety. Beginning with the thumping overdrive on Upload, you could tell that Tohapti is paying tribute to Steve Hackett and Pat Metheny that has this hard rocking edge with a lot of explosive drum work as Tohpati just goes to town with these wonderful lines on the guitar that it’s almost like a road trip to see where the notes will land on the frets that can be an amazing journey.

Elsewhere, it feels that he’s back on the Bullet Train to go on this dangerous ride with the title track in where he does his Mahavishnu Orchestra inspiration for the first few minutes before it becomes this laid-back psychedelic bluesy groove for the last three minutes to give the engine to cool down. Then you have Absurd in which Tohpati gives Indro a moment to shine with his Stanley Clarke bass line as he lays down the funk/soul bass work to show how much amazement he has with his fingers while Middle East has this layered calmness that sees the band go into some difficult changes that I really get a kick out of when a RIO or Jazz Rock band go into that movement.

The guitar structures, the powder keg drums, and the bass lines makes it like a dance-like atmosphere to really get you going. Lost in Space is very atmospheric and warm as the trio go into this calm after the storm after a huge loud and thumping movements in their compositions as Tohpati takes the listener into the Milky Way and soaring into the Solar Systems going into different planets with different chord-lines.

Riot is a knock-out album and something that would make me understand about how Jazz Rock has been revived in its retrospective feel of the 1970s in the golden-era and they understand where it comes from. Tohpati Bertiga album is a spectacular adventure that would make you wish and understand how real good music isn’t dead, but coming back out of the blue to give you a good jump.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Tohpati Ethnomission - Save the Planet

While the blog is a tribute to the label, MoonJune Records, and covering the revival of the Jazz Rock scene from around the globe, I’ve come across some good ones that have completely took me by surprise and there is the solo project that Tohpati (which is his real name) from Indonesia called Tohpati Ethnomission. Now I’m not an expert on the history of Indonesia, but what I have listened to is something that is beyond my wildest dreams and has got me hooked into this amazing virtuoso and that album is called, Save the Planet.

When I was listening to this album, I was completely hooked and not just from Tohpati’s astonishing guitar work, but the way he’s completely just taking the listener into a calm-like atmosphere into sounds of Jazz, Prog, and the Middle-Eastern sounds that captures a sound for Peace among other worlds to stop the two things, War and Anarchy. However, his guitar playing is going through the emotions of crying, anger, moody, and gentle throughout the entire structures on Save the Planet including a soothing vocalization done by Lestari that gave me chills down my spine on Sacred Dance before the band goes into a blistering yet warm-like movement to go into this climatic finale.

Alongside Tohpati the band considers; Indro Jardjodikoro on Bass, Endang Ramdan on percussion, Demas Narawangsa on Drums, and Diki Suwarjiki on Soundscapes and Flute. The music goes through various improvisations like an explosive dance set to mind-boggling music to have audiences just be taken away from hearing this from start to finish.  There’s this wonderful duel between Tohpati, Endang, Demas, and Diki on the 8-minute composition, Ethno Funk where they would do this competition where it would be this wonderful combination between the four instruments creating some difficult time-changes and go through Soft, Haunting, and Driven beats to really get you into an uplifting beat.

But then Tohpati gives a chance for the band members a moment to shine and that’s where Indro’s wonderful bass work comes in resembling Stanley Clarke and Jaco Pastorius on New Inspiration where Tohpati goes into these fast-jazz chords and into a bluesy line and Indro comes in with this unbelievable funky slap on the thumb that is jaw-dropping. Elsewhere, Battle Between Good and Beast has this spiritual yet powerful homage to Steve Morse, Frank Zappa, and John McLaughlin as Gateway of Life has Endang and Tohpati go into this tension moment as they do another competition on who could win the race between percussion and guitar.

The closer, Anger, has this evil and sinister battle aftermath as Tohpati challenges Robert Fripp with an homage to the ending of Prince Rupert’s Lament on King Crimson’s Lizard that is eruptive and hypnotic and an amazing way to close the album off with a Hard Rock Guitar structured rhythm and lead work. It’s just amazing from hearing this album and I can’t wait to see what Tohpati will have up his sleeves and what he would do next.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Ligro - Dictionary 2

One of the most amazing things in the history of Jazz Rock scenes in the ‘70s, is that they would the music level up a notch in fast time changes, funk-driven moments, and some heavy guitar licks in the realms of John McLaughlin. But one of the bands to come out of the revival of the Jazz-Rock scene is a trio coming from the land of Indonesia called Ligro (which in backwards means “crazy people”) which they launched nine years ago. In the band, it considers; Agam Hamzah on Guitar, Adi Darmawan on Bass, and Gusti Hendi on Drums. 

This is the band’s second album called Dictionary 2, and while this is my introduction to the band’s music from the Moonjune label, I’m completely blown away from hearing these guys from start to finish. It’s like a jet engine going six hundred miles per hour with a huge speeding zone that feels as if its coming right at you with a bang and seeing where the roaring beauty goes from one direction to another. Agam Hamzah’s guitar playing is completely out of this world and at times it has this combination of Allan Holdsworth, John McLaughlin, and Robert Fripp all rolled up into one piece and something magical happens when he plays the notes on the fret that is a jaw-dropping effect like no other.

Then you have Gusti Hendi’s drum patterns, as I’ve mentioned other Symphonic and Prog-Metal drummers, they drum work sounds like a Machine gun that reigns rapid fire when it comes to the instrument, and Gusti is one of them with his homage to Bill Bruford, Tony Williams, John Densmore, and Billy Cobham.  And then there’s Adi Darmawan’s bass playing which I imagine when he was a child grew up hearing bass players like Tony Levin, Stanley Clarke, Chris Squire, Jaco Pastorius, and Geddy Lee when he just nails those bass lines to give it a surprising twist and while the three members are carrying the spirit of Prog and Jazz-Rock, it’s a wonderful reception for a delicious dinner to check out and give it a hot and warm reception.

Beginning with a speeding introduction with a King Crimson-like hard rock introduction on the seven-minute piece, Paradox, you begin to think they are just another Jazz Rock band, but they’re not. They are staying true to the core of the ‘70s Jazz-Prog scene that comes at you with a bang. The guitar picking is completely mind-blowing and can really take the listener into another dimension in a far-away land that is beautiful and surreal.  

Then the bass line that Adi does as an introduction to Jaco’s fingering on the Bach piece before seguing into a hypnotic Mahavishnu Orchestra-driven beat on Stravinsky, can come at you out of nowhere and make you give a freight that makes it a perfect antidote to make you run fast for an excellent workout. There are three highlights on the album that just took me by surprise and mind you, you really need to buckle your safety belts because once the car starts going fast, there’s no turning back.

There’s the stop-and-go blues driven roadrunner upbeats on Don Juan with Hamzah’s funky guitar licks and speed and slowed down layered rhythm and lines and Gusti’s drum lines, keeps the tempo flowing by seeing which way the yellow brick road would take them into. Bliker 3 begins with a Piano Concerto that feels like something straight out of Disney’s Fantasia as it goes into this darker and haunting turned into a soaring improvisation that Agam’s bass work as Hamzah gives him some help as they play like a team and then into this ambient avant-garde atmosphere that makes us feel we are inside the mind of a lunatic in an asylum.

Miles Away is a beautiful and loving tribute to Miles Davis’ fusion-era that has some ‘60s Psych beauty that they go into a Jimi Hendrix meets Omar Rodriguez-Lopez momentum that makes you want to dance and just get the groove on as Ligro takes it up a notch. One of the things I love about this band is that they really feel as if they had performed the whole thing live from start to finish. And what this trio has done is something spectacular and give the music of both Prog and Jazz a big warm hug and they know their musical inspiration and roots very well.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Mahogany Frog - Senna

Since their formation in the late ‘90s in Canada, Mahogany Frog’s music is like a trip through time and space to create this wonderful ingredient of Psychedelic and Experimental Music as if they were formed at the end of the Flower revolution. Their album, Senna, released last year, is one of the most amazing journey’s to really get you up into light speed and go into different worlds and beyond the milky way that you’ve never seen before.

This is my introduction to band’s music and let me just say and I’m completely blown away from what I’m hearing from start to finish and do they know their roots of Prog very well. At times it feels like a Space Rock adventure as if the commanders on the ship were the early days of Pink Floyd, Ash Ra Tempel, CAN, Yes, and Hawkwind as they are the new commanders of the Millennium Falcon. The band considers Graham Epp on Guitar and Keyboards, Jesse Warkentin on Guitar and Keyboards, Scott Ellenberger on Bass, and Andy Rudolph on Drums and Percussion, and together it’s a soaring experience on the way they play their instruments and almost as if they had recorded the soundtrack to the 1976 sci-fi cult classic, Logan’s Run.

The Retrospective Sound of the late ‘60s and ‘70s golden era of Progressive Rock on Senna, are completely mind-blowing. There’s the spiritual uplifting organ and guitar-driven beats with a Symphonic Garage-Rock roaring upbeat on Flossing with Buddha that makes it a fun-filled arrangement that would have the Martians have a wonderful dance to this while Expo ’67 they have a grand time with a swirling fuzzy moog introduction before kicking off into Beatlesque Sgt. Pepper-era filled with guitar structures that are layered and powerful drum beats to set the atmosphere.

Meanwhile the suites on Message from Uncle Stan, just keeps getting better and better. Grey Shirt has this wild avant-garde eerie effect that pays tribute to Krautrockers Ash Ra Tempel as Green House goes into this fuzzy bass and keyboard work-out resembling the Nuggets-era of the late ‘60s. And then there’s another suite called Houndstooth, which sounds like a graphic novel written by Alan Moore, goes into this touches of the ‘80s electronic yet gothic-like rebirth scenery with a slide guitar background for a chance to be reborn before it becomes a terrifying Doom Prog-Metal atmosphere featuring this twisted chant on the drums and the evil spirits come to life to reign terror like no other!

I have listened to this about five times already and so far I’m getting hooked into Mahograny Frog’s music after hearing Senna and while they’re no vocals in the album, with straight-on instrumental tracks, I could tell that I’m soon going to be a huge fan of their music this year. It’s a beautiful, magical, and magnificent album that is soon going to be the Soundtrack of a Science-Fiction TV series sometime in the future.

As I’ve mentioned before, if you love the early days of Pink Floyd, Hawkwind, CAN, Yes, and the Nuggets-era, this is it!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013


Almost as if they are following in the footsteps of The Mars Volta, Mogwai, The Cardiacs, Henry Cow, Frank Zappa, Magma, and King Crimson, Belgian’s SH.TG.N is one of the most eruptive and powerful bands to come out of the scene of Post-RIO-Pronk (Punk-Prog) bands to come out of nowhere as if the monster has let loose to reign hell on the small citizens of a tiny village to have a human feast. Their debut album, released on MoonJune Records, is like a volcanic explosion waiting to happen and it is out of this world from start to finish as if they almost recorded this for an experimental animated film from the ‘70s.

The band was founded three years ago by keyboardist Antoine Guenet of The Wrong Object, who wanted to take the genre into a whole new level and push it as far as he can go. And what Antoine has done, he has successfully pushed the envelope with SH.TG.N and it’s a perfect match and makes absolute perfect sense. Alongside Antoine, the band considers;  Wim Segers on Vibraphone, Yannick De Pauw on Guitar, Dries Geusens on Bass, Simon Segers on Drums, and Fulco Otervanger on Lead Vocals.

Fulco’s voice in which it resembles at times Tim Smith, Zach De La Rocha, Cedric Bixler-Zavala and a shrieking version of Marc Ysaye of Machiavel, he is the mad scientist to mix up those bizarre ingredients with his vocals as the band members help him to see which difficult time signature they would go into whether it’s a Hard or Jazz Metallic structures, and the experiments are quite extraordinary.  While they go into a full throttle Interstellar Overdrive with their instruments, it shows they are not showing off, but really push you over the edge for at times quiet and then becomes a throttling adventure.

Segers drum patterns makes it sound like a hail of bullets when he goes into town which is evidential on Deejays Should Have Low Self-Esteem as De Pauw’s guitar work has this raw and energetic Rodriguez-Lopez meets Fripp-like sound that is in your face and give the top ten mainstream radio sponsors, the big middle finger. There is some element of Zappa and a Metallic version of Gentle Giant and some jaw-dropping moments to take listeners by surprise.

There’s the Jazz-Funk-Fusion haunting momentum on Camera Obscura as Segers plays through the Vibraphone as Geusens creates this creepy bass line while Fulco goes into this political view on how everything is completely under controlled, but it isn’t by a world of Fools while it becomes an homage to Sabbath as if they moved away from the Doom scene into a transformation and became a Rock in Opposition pronk band with the thumping tracks; Esta Mierda No Es Democracia, Eraser Her Dad and Shotgun (Afraid Of).

A band that really knows their roots of RIO, Pronk, and Metal, this is a band that is completely mind-blowing and something would really get the underground clubs take notice of, SH.TG.N is soon planning to be one of my favorite up-and-coming bands and MoonJune have scored a huge Home Run!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Machine Mass Trio - As Real As Thinking

It’s hard to imagine hearing music from a different part of the world and listening to the sounds of Avant-Progressive Rock and Jazz Rock at the same time and knowing that this something worth exploring by opening the door and seeing what is inside that closed door. One of the bands that I’ve discovered is a group called, Machine Mass Trio from MoonJune Records and a few others to be worked on later during January and at the end of February as well, is to understand that Prog and Jazz aren’t just four letter words.

The band features two members from douBt featuring Tony Bianco on Drums and Percussion, Michel Delville on Guitar, Bouzouki and Electronics and Jordi Grognard on Sax, Electronic Tempura, Flute, and Bass Clarinet as the band go into this wonderful trance of Free Jazz, Avant-Garde beauty, difficult time changes, and at times, laid-back grooves to make understand on how the wonder of the music is still going in strong. At times, As Real as Thinking, pays homage to Captain Beefheart, Frank Zappa, John Coltrane, Magma, and John McLaughlin, and boy, do they know their musical influences very well.

The band recorded the album in Belgium in 2010 and it was recorded live with no overdubs. Machine Mass Trio shown a lot of improvisation when it comes to Avant-Jazz Rock and it feels like they make it sound like a beautiful and twisted journey with some strange and out-of-this-world moments that would make you get goose bumps to see which direction the yellow brick road they would go into. A lot of crazy saxophone work that Jordi does to pay tribute to Coltrane and to David Jackson of VDGG while Tony Bianco goes into the styles of Elvin Jones and Bill Bruford as Delville creates some Fripp-like work on the guitar that is crunchy, raw and powerful.

Pieces like UFO-RA which has this homage to the Swing-era and the ‘50s Sci-Fi B-Movie scores featuring a thumping bass line, keyboard sounding like a theremin in the midsection, and Jordi going into town with his sax work while the middle-eastern influences kicks into full gear on the ambient/atmosphere surrealism with Khajurao as Delville goes into this spiritual trance on the Bouzouki as Jordi creates this mourning funeral technique on the flute. Then there’s the stop-and-go fusion funk technique on Hero that has this cool vibe as the 18-minute musique-concrete, Falling Up which again, has this surreal improv between Bianco and Delville as it goes into the realms of the Soft Machine's Third-era, King Crimson, and Egg.

I didn’t know how to describe about As Real As Thinking, but after listening to the album about three times, I was completely hooked and Machine Mass Trio are almost the real deal. I hope they would release another album sometime in the future, they really got something up their sleeve. An album that is a journey beyond the infinite.

Friday, January 11, 2013

The Magik Way - Materia Occulta (1997-1999)

Massive touches of Death, Ritual Occults, and Doomy-Prog atmospheres can really take you into a different area and The Magik Way is one of the band’s music to describe how evil, sinister, and strange it is that they can really show their true love of the obscure side of the ‘70s and ‘80s underground rock scene in Italy. Following in the footsteps of Antonius Rex, Devil Doll, and Jacula’s music, the band was formed out of the ashes of Mortuary Drape in 1996, the music is hypnotic and in your face, but it has a hidden, dark, and terrifying dosage of Horror and Gothic storytelling for inspiration.

The band recorded the material in the late ‘90s until thirteen years later to finally see the light of day released under the label, Sad Sun Music. For admires of the Death and Doom-Metal scene, anyone who wants to go into some darken spiritual journey, should definitely fasten their seat belts because the ride is about to be an eruptive and mind-blowing experience that you are about to explore. The first four tracks of the first act, has this blistering, shrieking metallic volcanic eruption with thunderous guitar lines, growling vocals, and rapid firing sounds on the drums, featuring some difficult time-signature movements that they go into, sets the tone on what is about to come.

When they go into the realms of a tribute to the Swedish Extreme Metal bands like the early days of Opeth, which is evidential on The Doubt (il Dubbio) and The Knowledge (La Conoscenza) with this feel of a political speech spoken in Italian featuring this droning sound, there is something amazing going on here with this group. But on The Sacrifice (il Sacrificio), at first the nightmare is completely over with a calming guitar layered introduction, but then it goes into this heavy atmosphere of rumble bass line, bell tolling, and then BAM! It comes at you like a symphonic epic finale to a film for some compelling surroundings.

Then onto the second act (Cosmocaos) released in 1999, show the Materials into uncharted territories. Five centerpieces including the children’s lullaby gone wrong in a dystopian universe and reminds me of Dario Argento’s 1977 cult classic, Suspiria’s first 15 minutes of the film. There are these moments of operatic female singers shouting for their god as if they were tied up in the asylum, singing and becoming mad as well which is shown on Danza Degli Elementi, and  L’Icona. Then there this catholic-church organ sound that resembles a creepy version of Pink Floyd’s Saucerful of Secrets-era on Trasposizione while the militant and political touches on Le Maschere di Pietra goes into the tribute and homage in the realms on Amon Duul II’s Deutsch Nepal.

Yet one of the most surreal atmospheric and ambient pieces on the Materia Occulta, was Pianto ed Estasi. This swarm of moog, quiet turned operatic vocals between a call-and-response from male and female voices, and lushful synths that keeps it a cool and chilled-out compositions sort of resembling the early days of the Phaedra-era of Tangerine Dream. The Magik Way’s music is not easy to listen from start to finish, but it has a very interesting sound going from the shrieking Metal sounds into a doomy dark-like dalek beauty of evil that no one has ever heard before.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Eversin - Tears on the Face of God

The Italian Thrash Metal band, Eversin, who are following in the footsteps of the kings of Slayer and early Metallica, are staying true to the roots of the genre and they are going to hit the Metal circuit and the festivals including Wacken sometime in the future. And their second album, Tears on the Face of God, is described as a massive monolith as a Panzer Tank that will take you on a journey through past and present battlefields. And let me just say, they are absolutely right to take the listener and headbanger from Point A to Point B on this explosive and eruptive album that is like a bullet train into uncharted territories.

And while the cover shows a futuristic utopian city that is now gone horribly wrong, the music itself is raw and powerful that has a lot of heavy vocals, powerful guitar lines and riffs, thumping bass work, and the drums sounding like a machine gun ready to reign fire, you know you are about to explore the darker side of War that you haven’t seen before in all of its glory. While there’s no stop sign on these eight compositions that is a blistering explosion that comes out of nowhere into at times the genre of Power into the core, it starts to make absolute sense to fit everything in its right place.

Angelo Ferrante’s vocal reminds me of Tom Araya of Slayer because he’s not trying to rip him off, but more of an homage and tribute to the music that Eversin grew up listening to which is evidential on the title track. Then there are three centerpieces songs like the ‘80s powder-keg riff explosion on the aftermath of the end of the world on Nuclear Winter which deals with the Post-Apocalypse of Hiroshima that is very powerful while The Tale of a Dying Soldier, with its melodic and sinister narration of the soldier writing his last memoir about hearing the screams and in the silence and darkness, and realizes that War is not right for him and his Sins are shadowed for him to become the self-sacrifice in flames.

Then, there’s the Death Metal race through time that sounds like a Jet Engine soaring over 500 miles per hour on the closing track, Under The Ocean which has this Jekyll and Hyde between clean and whisper-like shrieking vocals that again deals with the issues of War. You have to understand this album is about to hit home with soldiers who are struggling the daily lives to act as normal people and still have flashbacks (PTSD) from Iraq and Eversin has done one hell of a job to really understand on what it is to go inside the mind of a soldier who is suffering from this routine.

If the sounds of Thrash, Death, and Power Metal have combined into one and had a huge revival, then Eversin would fit into the genre and have finally come into full swing and this album is a must listen for people who want to really get into the spirit of the three genres or lend a Soldier a helping hand to let them know how dangerous the War in Iraq or at Home can really be.

Lord Agheros - Demiurgo

Black Metal is not an easy genre to get into from start to finish. Now when you think of the term, Black Metal, you think of Venom, Sepultra, Mayhem, and Mercyful Fate to name a few with shrieking vocals, powerful guitar work, and the drums going up a notch and singing about the occult, and mind you when you hear it, just prepare to take it to the ultimate limit for the preparations you will take. But it can also tell a story as well, and one of the band from Italy is called Lord Agheros which is a solo project from Evangelou Gerassimos, who I imagine was inspired by the four bands along with Ulver, has come a long way since their formation in the mid and late ‘90s and have taken a vantage of classical music, concept album, and operatic atmospheres to really get your mind flowing for an adventure you’ll never forget.

The music itself is terrifying, haunting, and hypnotic and Demiurgo, is a difficult, strange, and yet a mind-bending complex album that has some unexpected moments of a story that feels like something out of the gothic atmosphere. There are some unexpected moments like the musique-concrete ambient structures featuring an operatic vocalization on Erebo, feels like something straight out of the Phaedra period from Tangerine Dream’s early days while the first eight tracks which goes straight into the heart of snarling yet roaring vocalizations that can make you jump out of your listening chair to ask yourself “how in the hell did they do that?”

The vicious tracks like Lyssa, Eris, Thanatos, and Nemesi, punches you right in the gut that suddenly came out of nowhere to prepare for a rumbling earthquake with a lot of rapid machine gunfire including an orchestral background on the keyboards featuring heavy riffing guitar work that at times has a symphonic structured layered background. Then there are some moody and spacey moments on the second part of album in which it deals with the human world as the first part mentions about the infernal reign.

On the atmospheric tracks, as I’ve mentioned before, has a lot of spacey and avant-garde atmospheres on the keyboard and piano to create a calm after the firing storm for a moody yet haunting aftermath of the human race to resurrect. On the sinister touches of Lysimele, Gerassimos who is a virtuoso to play the instruments and the vocalization on the album, does this emotional concerto that feels like the aftermath of the war that has fought during the bloodiest war while he goes into this Ottmar Liebert flamenco turned classical guitar fingerpicking layered beauty on Ker before ending in a Celtic movement on Etere.

While the story feels like its straight out of a science-fiction short story in the realms of Philip K. Dick about the faces between good and evil from Erebo’s Sons and the usage of Greek Mythology, you can tell that Gerassimos has done a lot of research in preparation for the concept to see where he would take it into a different direction. This is an in-your-face turned strange beauty that is about to open the door and give you a huge wake-up call.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Romantic Warriors II: A Progressive Music Saga - About Rock in Opposition

In 1978, at the time when Punk Rock and new wave was happening, and the Prog genre was considered dead by the critics who considered “overblown” and “pretentious dinosaur rock”, it felt as if it was on its death knell. But something strange was happening in the heart of London. The genre was Rock in Opposition (RIO for short), it’s one of the most difficult, twisted, and bizarre genres to come out of the scene that was created by Avant-Prog band, Henry Cow that launched a festival at the Drury Theatre in that time period featuring bands from different parts of Europe including Italy, Belgium, and Sweden; Stormy Six, Univers Zero, and Samla Mammas Manna.

Filmmakers Adele Schmidt and Jose Zegarra Holder, who’ve done the first documentary on the new generation of the Progressive Rock scene back in 2010 with Romantic Warriors: A Progressive Music Saga, has received word-of-mouth through the Prog community and received an Bronze Peer Award for Best Documentary, has shown there is no stop sign for the documentarians to discover the RIO genre. And it is an extraordinary documentary about the history of the genre and why it was completely ahead of its time.

The bands paved the wave for the RIO scene, have finally been given the recognition they deserve as Adele and Jose are the Doctor Watson and Sherlock Holmes of this documentary by carefully researching each of the band’s music and interviewing members who were a part of that movement including Chris Cutler, member of Henry Cow and label manager of Recommended Records, was a wonderful moment and a great moment in the film explained how the genre was short-lived and how he started out the label and opened the door for new indie labels like Crammed Discs, AltRock, and Cuneiform Records to name a few, helped get the RIO genre to be resurrected in the underground circuit.

However, one of the bands that started the RIO revolution was in 1970 by the French Zeuhl group, Magma. And while they weren't a part of the movement, they were an inspiration for the genre. Drummer Christian Vander, who almost looks like a mad scientist, is another excellent moment of the film in where he talks about how he came up with the Zeuhl movement and why they wanted to move away from the Hippie scenery into darker territories of anti-war and sober, silent music and the cosmic universe, “I knew many people who suddenly become ‘Love People’. He says, “I didn’t fall for that, I said to myself, maybe someday, but this is not the time. We were waging a war. Something had to happen.” And that is an impressive concept to get away from the whole peace and love movement into something more evil and terrifying.

Today, new bands like Miriodor (Canada), Sleepytime Gorilla Museum (USA),  Yugen (Italy),  Ruins Alone (Japan), and Guapo (UK), are paying homage to the movement and they have done one hell of a job to carry the flaming fire. One of the bands that I was completely blown away by was Thinking Plague by singing Dead Silence for rehearsals in which it has this King Crimson meets Frank Zappa attitude as if it was recorded in the ‘80s and a small performance at Orion Sound Studios. Also Hamster Theatre at the Orion Sound Studios creating this Avant-Swing Jazz sound performance as if they recorded the score for the Triplets of Belleville and while I adore the new bands like Guapo, Yugen, and Miriodor, I hope to check these bands out later on this year. 

So if you hate the commerciality of top ten radio and can’t stand it, watch this documentary and you can tell how these bands took it into different levels and where they can take it up a notch and push the envelope like no other!