If you’re like me, you’ve been wishing that the Nine Inch Nails-Tool collaborative project called Tapeworm worked out. Imagine an industrial feel for some massive alternative metal riffs. We may never hear any of those alleged demoes never-to-be-released, but we can all imagine what those songs sounded like. Insert Kentucky industrial rock band The Seas, a quartet of amazing musicians unaffiliated with either of those bands, but have released what I can visualize that collaboration sounding like with their newest album “Give Up The Ghost” earlier this year. A more guitar-centered album than most industrial artists, we can all experience the conflicting feelings of tension and hope together as we play this album.Read More »
New Zealand rock band Villainy have released their latest album “Dead Sight” last month, and thanks are in order to record label Collision Course, who have only added to my addiction to music from the Outback and its surrounding areas. Ranging in sound from rock, metal, and industrial, I couldn’t help but underestimate Villainy’s sound from their first single entitled “Syria.” Sounding somewhere between Finger Eleven and Our Lady Peace, I was expecting an album full of radio-friendly rock and metal tunes. To my surprise, “Dead Sight” packs one hell of a punch, one that I deserved for my preconceived opinions. Sure, it’s an accessible album for anyone who listens to rock music in general, but varying rhythms and sounds help make this album more than just stereotypical “radio rock.”Read More »
Swedish alternative metal band Prehistoric Animals released their first single last month called “One Day Came A Ghost”. This duo has created a fantastic debut single with great production value, and an interesting mix between heavier, metal pieces with poppy, airy vocals and synthesizers. With influences from bands like Porcupine Tree, Mew, Muse, and Katatonia, I can definitely feel the direction the band is attempting with their music.Read More »
Reading through the many communities and music pages that I follow on Facebook, I stopped upon a post that grabbed my attention. All it took was the album cover, and I was immediately drawn. I mean, look at it; I can’t think of anything more hauntingly eerie as that. With a recommendation from the one and only Prog Magazine, I decided to give the band Kingcrow a well-deserved listen. One play through their hour long “Eidos” is all it took to get me hooked.
Have you ever found an album, and after only a few listens wondered why you had never heard this band until now? I have this experience more than most people, but I have recently felt this way with a new band I found through Twitter. After only a few repeats, I cannot stop playing the band Caligula’s Horse.
A band with one hell of an interesting name (I’d like to hear how they decided on that), Caligula’s Horse resides in Melbourne, Australia, which my readers should already be familiar with my almost unhealthy obsession with Australian rock. The band consists of Jim Grey on vocals, Dave Couper on bass, Geoff Irish on drums, Zac Greensill on guitar, and Sam Vallen on lead guitar. The sound they create is incredible, one that ranges between progressive and alternative metal, with even some moments of djent and tech metal. Their latest album “The Tide, The Thief, & River’s End” is a collaboration of extremely talented musicians, and is a culmination of everything great about progressive metal.
Right from the start, “The Tide…” hooks the listener on the song “A Gift to Afterthought.” The album begins with a voice declaring “Here, and now, it ends,” which sets the tone and creates anticipation for what’s in store for the entire album. After a delayed clean guitar riff reminiscent of the band Karnivool, a deep snare-driven drumbeat, and a djent-like rhythm, the album is underway. I am immediately hooked on the song as Grey sings in a very hushed voice, as if drawing the listener closer to tell a secret, only to declare a chorus full of warning. With a vocal style similar to Tool’s Maynard James Keenan, Grey belts those lyrics and lets loose throughout this album. The entire song is full of rises and falls, and my heart beats faster and slower as the song progresses. I personally vote this song as one of the best intro songs on an album ever. (Sound off below on what your favorite intro song is!)
My readers may have noticed a pattern of progressive rock and metal albums mentioned in this blog, but may have a hard time differentiating between the albums due to the similarity of the bands in this niche. One of my favorite aspects of this album is what makes this progressive metal album different from the rest: the unpredictable and sudden shift from slow and soft to fast and hard. The first time listening to this album, I was almost frustrated because this drastic change occurs many times throughout this album, especially between the songs “A Gift to Afterthought” and “Water’s Edge.” After several listens though, I must compliment Caligula’s Horse on their flawless execution. The change in tempo does not diminish the album at all, and gives the listener a chance to catch their breath. The drum work and guitar riffs flow perfectly between these changes, and only adds to the listener’s emotional state throughout the album.
I do have to admit, though, that when listening to this album in the car, I must turn the volume up during the softer parts, only to get a jolt when Grey, Irish, and Greensill blast in unexpectedly. In a way, they master this technique to a fault, as I want to either bash my head longer, or live in the soft moments just a little longer.
I had the opportunity to ask singer and lyricist Jim Grey about the album’s lyrics and theme. Here’s what he had to say about the concept around “The Tide…”:
“Basically the story of the album surrounds two cities – one with a tyrant that ends in disaster, and the other of survivors of the disaster, former prisoners of the tyrant who escape to form a new home.
But the old habits creep up in their new city, and the same corruption and violence begins anew. There is a lot more in there with specific characters, but that’s the overarching theme of River’s End.
Sam and I had worked on the material for the new album for a while before we realized this concept in full – there was a conceptual basis for the content of each individual song, but along the way we decided to weave those stories together, and began working on the full piece. We couldn’t be happier with it, and we’re glad people are loving it around the world.”
Overall, Caligula’s Horse is a great addition to the progressive metal scene. They provide originality, flawlessly changing between an atmospheric and melodic sound to a technical and deep sound. The lyrics are sung with such passion that are sadly missing in many albums I’ve listened to. Irish is a beast on the album, providing the most precise and technical drums hits I’ve heard. Greensill and Vallen compliment the djenty rhythms and blaring solos perfectly. Couper rounds the band out with his great bass lines that bring everything together. There aren’t too many albums like this, but I could compare them to bands like TesseracT, Hemina, and even bands like Dream Theater and The Dear Hunter. Please support this band by checking out their Bandcamp and Facebook pages.
Enjoy a complimentary listen of “The Tide, The Thief, & River’s End” through Bandcamp below!
I found this next band using one of my five methods of finding new music. After searching Coheed and Cambria’s homepage a year ago, I noticed they were touring with two special guest bands as their openers, one of them whom I instantly fell in love with. Although I did not have the chance to see this band live, I was instantly hooked on their new album. After several listens came a long period of time without hearing their album. Only recently have I put Arcane Roots’ newest album back on my iPhone, and I’ve realized how much I’ve missed it.
Arcane Roots is a three-piece band from England, consisting of Andrew Groves on vocals/guitar, Adam Burton on bass/vocals, and Daryl Atkins on drums. This band definitely falls into the genre of alternative rock, but can even be considered in the genres post-hardcore, indie rock, progressive rock/metal, and math rock. With such a unique sound that varies between soft melodies to dirty vocals and heavy riffs, their newest album “Blood & Chemistry” is definitely worth a listen.
The drums and bass guitar that Atkins and Burton provide in this album contain some seriously heavy and adrenaline-laden riffs throughout the album. Songs like “Resolve” and “Sacred Shapes” are by far the hardest tracks on the album, using a mixture of crashing cymbals and bass pedals on the drums. They perfectly complement both singers, generating a beat matching their tempo. Even in softer songs like “Hell & High Water,” Atkins does an amazing job of creating powerful yet simple drum beats to add character to the song. The drum work is fascinating because Atkins is able to add so much to the atmosphere without taking away from his bandmates.
The best thing about this album is the guitar riffs of Andrew Groves, along with the vocals provided by Groves and Burton. When I listen to this album, I feel as if I’m listening to two different albums: one with a more math-rock and post-hardcore style, the other a more indie rock and progressive rock/metal style. Using complex riffs with varying time signatures, Groves’ sound generates that complicated yet fascinating style of math rock, similar to bands like Fall of Troy and The Dillinger Escape Plan. The most complicated song, “Triptych,” contains great tapping during the chorus, and a bridge section that is difficult to head-bang to because of its time signature changes. Other songs like “Second Breath” and “Resolve” follow this same pattern, using softer tones to change the pace during the verse and chorus. In addition to this harder style of guitar work, Groves also changes his style to a more softer side. Songs like “Belief,” “Hell & High Water,” and “Held Like Kites” use a clean guitar (in some cases an acoustic guitar), helping to bring the listener down from the high generated on the previous song. The mix of clean and dirty guitars makes this album an interesting listen.
On top of the wide variety of sound the band provides, Groves and Burton provide a mix of clean and dirty vocals. Switching between singers, the dirty vocals are interspersed through the album, and do not make up a majority of the vocals on this album. Groves’ vocal range is controlled, yet surprising. Ranging between mid and high notes, his voice is reminiscent of Caleb Followill of the band Kings of Leon. Although not necessarily the strongest voice in my iTunes Library, the meaning and passion behind Groves’ vocals are easily felt by the listener. My favorite song on this album happens to be the song containing Groves’ most powerful performance, “You Keep Me Here.” Closing the album is a song mixed with heavy riffs in the beginning and dreamlike atmosphere in the end. My favorite lyric is within the song’s chorus:
“So save me lady / Open up and give it with some grace / hold on to me / give me one good reason to be here”
The ending of the song reminds me of lost love, and is beautifully portrayed in the end of the song with a repetition of the words with such a passionate instrumental:
“Love, you’re better for me” (source)
Their album “Blood & Chemistry”, clocking in at just under an hour, is a must listen for fans of bands like Kings of Leon, Fall of Troy, Like Vultures, and other bands that fall in the indie rock, progressive rock/metal, and alternative rock scene. This band is definitely arcane as its name states, as I have yet to find another person who has heard of this band before me. Please support Arcane Roots’ “Blood & Chemistry” by visiting their website or finding them on iTunes. If you are enjoying this band, they also have an EP released before this album called “Left Fire.”