Album Review: Watchtower – Concepts of Math: Book One

maxresdefault-2Watchtower might be the antithesis of a prolific band, with two albums and an EP in over twenty years, but they show they are still alive with Concepts of Math: Book One, a five-track EP serving as a foreplay to their upcoming full-length, Mathematics.

In the years between Control and Resistance and Concepts of Math: Book One, main guitarist Ron Jarzombek has gone through a lot: Spastic Ink, Gordian Knot, Blotted Science, Terrestrial Exiled, and a solo album, as well as many guest appearances. His works on twelve-tone serialism, most important in Blotted Science and Terrestrial Exiled, have clearly made a huge impact on his compositional style and overall sound. So much so that the new Watchtower doesn’t sound like it used to, but rather a new form of Ron’s serialist composition. Continue reading

Red Seas Fire Are ‘Stuck’

Red Seas Fire just released ‘Stuck’, a new single off of their upcoming release and debut album. The formation surprised the djent world, back in 2011, with their self-titled debut EP. So much so that their main writer and lead guitarist, Adam Getgood, better known as ‘Nolly’, was hired by Periphery to play bass for their live shows, and was later a full member of the band. Continue reading

Roundabout: Meshuggah – The Violent Sleep of Reason

It’s time again for a new iteration of our Roundabout column, where all of us who desire to contribute write an independent, short review on their own before putting them all together on the site. Today’s victim is Meshuggah‘s eighth studio album, The Violent Sleep of Reason. It came out on October 7th through Nuclear Blast. Differently from their previous albums, this one has been recorded live, to capture a more honest and raw sound. It bears ten songs, and clocks in at just under an hour. Listen to the official ‘Born in Dissonance’ and ‘Clockworks’ tracks and read our views on the record below!

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Album Review: Levin Minnemann Rudess – From the Law Offices Of

It speaks volumeslmr of a band when a musician’s side project surpasses it in quality. Such a case in the prog world is Transatlantic, which blew away The Flower Kings, Marillion and Dream Theater with their 2009 release The Whirlwind at a time where the parent bands weren’t faring all that too well. The same can be said of Levin Minnemann Rudess, well, at least a third of it – From the Law Offices Of is the trio’s second prog / jazz fusion showcase which flaunts the instrumental creativity and energy that many prog bands – namely Dream Theater – so sorely lack nowadays. Continue reading

The Neal Morse Band Destroys the City of Expectations

Not so long ago, The Neal Morse Band released ‘Long Day/Overture’ as a teaser for their upcoming album, The Similitude of a Dream, and we thought it wasn’t that bad. This week, the band released ‘City of Destruction’, along with a music video, which you can watch above.

As per the title and images from the video shared on Facebook, I was skeptical and feared the usual ‘single’ track. Obviously, my fears became flesh when I listened to the song. It’s the same, lame rock track with barely a hint of prog in it. This is part of the marketing scheme of every big prog album, nowadays it seems. Bands will promote their most generic, bland, and tasteless piece. It’s the lowest common denominator strategy, and it sucks for prog fans.

‘City of Delusions’ is probably an important chapter in The Similitude of a Dream, if it’s a conceptual double album, but, on its own, it’s nothing more than a distasteful ‘dad prog’ anthem. Let’s hope I am right and this is actually the least interesting track on the album.

Beyond the Wall: North Atlantic Oscillation – Fog Electric

noaAlthough they’ve settled into the Kscope label for a while now, many prog fans haven’t heard of NAO – mainly because it’s not exactly prog, and maybe because they’re currently on hiatus. Scottish group North Atlantic Oscillation skirt the borders of the progressive, or ‘nu-prog’, with whimsical song structures whilst holding a firm stead in electronica influenced rock, hilariously to some prog purists’ dismay.

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Animals as Leaders’ The Brain Dance Is the Real Mestís 2.0

Animals as Leaders recently released The Brain Dance as a single for their upcoming album, The Madness of Many, due November 11th. It’s not really what you’d expect from an AaL song, as it’s centered around an acoustic guitar lick. There’s no information as of now on who is actually playing that part, but my guess would be Javier Reyes. Why? Well, in 2012, he released a solo EP under the Mestís moniker. ‘Basal Ganglia was exploring the merger of djent with Latin music and flamenco. Most of the songs on the album were played on an 8-string electric guitar, but would’ve been just as fine played on a classical guitar just like this one, which Javier recently acquired.- ‘Basal Ganglia

Basal Ganglia was great, emotional, and I think succeeded in approaching djent music from a different angle. Unfortunately, this seems to have been lost for their debut album, Polysemy, which came out late last year. It’s a really good album, but it has lost the charm that made songs like Te mato and Luz y cielo memorable.

Now, with AaL‘s new single, there’s hope that we will see a proper spiritual successor to Basal Ganglia. Since The Brain Dance is the only song available, we can only speculate. Chances are the whole album will be axed towards electric guitar, as the band’s previous albums were, but there’s a glimmer of hope. We can dream!