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This news story was originally published here:
UMÆ Release "Turn Back Time" Single, Feat. John Wesley (Porcupine Tree) and Conner Green (Haken)

International progressive rock power trio UMÆ — singer/guitarist Anthony Cliplef, guitarist Guðjón Sveinsson, and drummer Samy-George Salib — is pleased to announce the release of the single “Turn Back Time” taken from the upcoming album Lost in the View. Hear it below.

UMÆ have collaborated with several guest musicians on Lost in the View. “Turn Back Time” features former Porcupine Tree session guitarist and singer John Wesley on vocals and Haken bassist Conner Green, alongside vocalist Hulda Kristín Kolbrúnardóttir, keyboardist Magnús Jóhann Ragnarsson, violinist Eyja Ragnheiðardóttr, and Sólný Pálsdóttir on backing vocals.

Commented Anthony Cliplef: “‘Turn Back Time’ was written in a batch of songs I’d been compiling, hoping for a future album back in 2009/2010. I was listening heavily to Transatlantic’s ‘The Whirlwind’ and loved the powerful, anthemic themes and the prominent influences of older bands like YesRush, and Genesis, which, to me were heavily present in their music. When the opportunity arose to go to Iceland and write and demo music with Guðjón, I proposed this track. The themes from this song ended up becoming the glue that binds this album together, both musically and lyrically, manifesting itself in different ways at various points in the album.

The trio will launch Lost in the View by the end of 2018. Mixed and mastered by Jens Bogren at the Fascination Street Studios, Lost in the View is a concept album featuring a wide range of performing personnel, including vocalist John Wesley(Porcupine Tree), keyboardist Adam Holzman (Miles Davis, Steven Wilson), guitarist Eric Gillette (Neal Morse Band), and bassist Conner Green (Haken).

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This news story was originally published here:
Premiere: FRACTAL CYPHER's New Music Video Reaches "From The Above And To The Stars"

Montreal prog quartet Fractal Cypher are premiering their first single and music video “From The Above And To The Stars” here on Prog Sphere. The track is off the band’s upcoming mini-album Prelude To An Impending Outcome due out this coming November. Watch the video below.

The band commented: “This is the heaviest song on the record, it’s got lots of heavy guitar riffs, it has a Djenty vibe that is quite obvious all the way through. This track was influenced a bit from what we did on our past ‘The Human Paradox’ in terms of the balance between heavy riffs and melodies. On the lyrical aspect, the main topic of the track is about sci-fi stuff, talking about the possibilities of the existence of another civilization in the universe. We made the music relate to the lyrics in terms of chords choices and sonority.

Prelude To An Impending Outcome is a 4 song mini-album produced by Chris Donaldson (Cryptopsy, The Agonist, Beyond Creation) that promises to be a roller coaster of genres across completely different sounding songs with intimate lyrics influenced by personal experiences. Each track has a different prominent genre influence from power ballad, blues, djent and jazz with the band’s heavy and melodic base as an anchor. The album artwork was done by Silent Q Design out of Montreal and foreshadows the moody and existential prog metal that lies within. Although this album is more intimate with different textures and influences, the reception to its predecessor should be a prime indication of the talents of Fractal Cypher; this next release is sure to be a masterwork.

The band adds:

Prelude To An Impending Outcome‘ is a mini album of 4 songs that are completely different from one to another to create a maximum roller coaster effect and make it non linear and interesting to listen to. The clash of style is more important and more obvious than our previous album, but the songs have gained in maturity in term of songwriting and sound. The vibe of this mini-album is really more intimate, due to the lyrics and the overall ambiance/universe of the songs. The melodic side of the band is still really present, offering catchy vocal lines and outstanding solos all over the songs.

Prelude To An Impending Outcome is slated for self-release on November 8, 2018 and available for pre-order on the band’s Bandcamp here.

For more info:

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Fractal Cypher - Prelude to an Impending Outcome

This news story was originally published here:
Exclusive: Dallas Post-Hardcore Smashers THIRD & DELAWARE Release "Ardor" Video

Post-hardcore five-piece from Dallas, Third & Delaware recently premiered a video for the song “Ardor” with us here at Prog Sphere, a tune taken from their debut EP ‘Generations.’ Singer Richy Xiong talked about the EP, writing, and more.

Define the mission of Third & Delaware.

Richy: Our mission is to deliver a unique yet familiar sound to the hardcore and metalcore scene while providing a means to express one’s true self.

Tell me about the creative process that informed your debut EP “Generations” and the themes it captures.

Richy: Each song in the EP represents a different emotion felt at different times in my life: Anger, depression, betrayal, independence, and hope. Since it’s the first release with me as the new vocalist, I wanted to encompass multiple themes in the EP as we find our “new sound”.

What is the message you are trying to give with “Generations”?

Richy: Since each song has such a different lyrical feeling to it, the overall message would be to never forget your experiences through life. You are who you are because of everything you’ve been through; the good, the bad, and everything in between. Live and learn, be yourself, and never give up.

Third & Delaware - Generations

How did you document the music while it was being formulated?

Richy: I wrote every song on my phone, most of them while I was eating lunch before a lab class I had during the summer semester. I had all of the instrumental tracks on my phone, and I would just listen to them on repeat while I was thinking what to theme them about.

Is the dynamic flow of the pieces carefully architected?

Richy: In our live performances, yes. Our guitarist Revin chose the order of the songs for the EP, while I chose the order of the songs for our live sets. I made sure the lyrics and themes of each song flows well into the next.

Describe the approach to recording the EP.

Richy: Drink beer, write a riffy verse, take a shot then come up with the chorus.

How long “Generations” was in the making?

Richy: If I’m not mistaken, the band had some of the songs on the EP written for months. The instrumental tracks were basically done and they were just waiting to get vocals onto them. I’m glad that my input to our music was well received when I first joined the band.

Which bands or artists influenced your work on the release?

Richy: All That Remains, Bullet for my Valentine, and August Burns Red were the biggest influences when I was writing the vocal cadences of the EP.

What is your view on technology in music?

Richy: The ambience that backings can provide can really be what makes one local band different from the others. Technology is amazing, and if it adds to the music, I don’t have a problem with it.

Do you see your music as serving a purpose beyond music?

Richy: I think that art in general always serves a greater purpose than the art itself. Making music basically requires vulnerability. It played a big part of not only making me who I am today, it also allowed me to express myself in a way I never have before. Because of music, I am my best self. If I could instill that feeling in others, even if it was just one person, it would literally be a dream come true.

What are your plans for the future?

Richy: The band’s main plan for the future is to write more music. I can’t wait to see what we come up with now that I have input into the instrumentals of an upcoming full length album. We’ll definitely jump on as many shows as we can while we continue to write.

Generations is out now; check it out on Bandcamp.

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Alberta Sludge/Doom Riffmakers HAAZE Release “Swamp Mama” Single

Finding inspiration in writing tunes that fans can bang their heads to, Red Deer, Alberta power trio Haaze are all set to launch their new album. Coming out on January 7th in digital form, as well as a limited LP edition of 100 available via Transistor 66 RecordsSwamp Mama is a crushing release both musically and lyrically. The band partnered up with Doomed & Stoned for an exclusive premiere of the title track off of the upcoming album. Have a listen below.

Singer and guitarist Mitchell Soloway reflected on the creative process of the upcoming album.

It’s funny because there never was a set process. Alex and I had just finished and released our EP ‘Riff.’ On our very first show as HAAZE the guy who did sound for us came up to us and was like, ‘you guys have a killer sound and I would like to try recording you live off the floor in my studio.’ Both Alex and I were like ‘hell yeah, we can do that!,’ knowing fully we just recorded all the material we had. Lucky for us the date was a couple months away. When we did meet up with him (Ranjit Ranawaya) we recorded three songs in about 12 hours, two of which eventually made it to the album (‘Stereotypically Doomed’ and ’35 Indians’). A few months later we decided to do a video and release ‘Stereotypically Doomed’ as a single to help promote us, we also gained a full time bass player (Jack Sutherland) and decided to track four more songs which all made the cut. Basically half our album was recorded about five months apart from the other half but we did all the songs live off the floor in the studio with Ranjit which we are super proud of. What you hear on our record is what you get live.

HAAZE’s main goal with Swamp Mama was to put out a record that was heavy.

Soloway went on saying: “I have played in so many bands over the years where it wasn’t quite what I wanted to do, but I played anyway because of being with friends or whatever. When the singer for our last band bailed on Alex and I we took a break for a bit but my intention was to start writing the type of shit I had always had in my back pocket and wanted to play. I had no gear, and was just playing on an acoustic guitar. I would send Alex riffs that I recorded with my phone being like, ‘dude, check it out,’ and probably annoyed the hell out of him. Once I committed to too forking out the cash I built my rig and the rest was history.

Lyrically, on Swamp Mama HAAZE explore everything from Soloway’s own personal issues and thoughts to making up stupid characters and just running with that.

I try not to write lyrics in a serious way or super literal but the songs have their meanings. Really, when it comes time to write lyrics I just write about what’s in my head at that time. When we worked on all of these songs I was going through a really rough patch in my life where my dad had passed away and I wasn’t dealing with it in the most healthy way possible. Not to mention the place I used to work was a super toxic environment so it fueled a lot of writing. The lyrical content ranges from missing old friends and accepting my borderline alcoholism to singing about a swamp monster who is a “fucboi” by day and serial killer at night. Or in the song ‘AL’ I wrote it from the perspective of a companion AI that realizes its own potential and how it is being abused. The AI takes matters into their own hands, destroys the master and creates an army of synthetic beings who convert humans into fuel for their rocket ship so they can explore the universe.

Swamp Mama is out on January 7th, 2019; pre-order it here. Listen to the first single and title track below.

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HAAZE - Swamp Mama

This news story was originally published here:

Bangalore, India’s progressive rock unit Rainburn return with the release of Insignify (review here) on November 7th, a concept album denoting the quest for purpose in the overarching meaninglessness of life. Today, the band is launching the second single from the upcoming release. Watch a lyric video for “Mirrors” below, exclusively brought to you by Prog Sphere.

Commented singer and guitarist Vats Iyengar, “‘Mirrors’ represents the dark underbelly of what we know as the ‘after-party’. Most such social gatherings seem to be centred around role playing and narcissism/insecurity, built upon false promises of taking away your loneliness or boredom, yet everyone is expected to enjoy them all the time.

Compared to the first single, ”Suicide Note” which was premiered by PROG magazine — which was busy and technical, “Mirrors” is, musically, very sparse but every bit as intense, perhaps even more so.

I think the two songs, together, say a lot not only about the variety of music on the album, but also about this band’s maturity, in that we don’t feel compelled to throw every instrumental trick we know into every single song, something that many “prog” bands seem to struggle with,” Vats stated.

Insignify is out on November 7th. For further info visit Rainburn’s website. Watch a lyric video for “Mirrors” below.

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Rainburn - Insignify

This news story was originally published here:
Project Sapiens

“Copenhagen’s progressive metal duo Project Sapiens assault listeners’ ears with highly energetic and sporadic bursts of brilliant dynamics on debut EP Here We Are,” are the words Prog Sphere’s Darryl Johnson opens his review of Danish prog metal duo Project Sapiens’ debut release. Multi-instrumentalist and composer Poul Jakobsen opens up about the debut release and sheds light on what it took to write the EP, its themes, and more.

Define the mission of Project Sapiens.

The overarching idea was always to write music about everything that is human – our emotions, fears, reflections on the past events, social change and the future of mankind. Lyrics are a big part of our work and we hope that both, music and lyrics, will speak to those looking for a deeper connection, some inspiration and topics to ponder.

Tell me about the creative process that informed your debut EP Here We Are and the themes it captures.

I was writing a lot of songs for Project Sapiens that spanned from pop, pop-rock to prog-metal, but shared the same goal – discussing the social change, future of mankind and emotional journey of an individual trying to comprehend the surrounding world. However, the incoherence of the sound and genre forced me to recalibrate and well… I had to choose which direction to go. Here We Are is a metal EP and it’s my first attempt to find my musical identity, both as a guitarist and lyricist.

Project Sapiens - EP Cover

What is the message you are trying to give with Here We Are?

As mentioned, this song is rooted in feelings of anxiety and fear caused by the pace of global change. I think we are living in extraordinary times, but the next years might be crucial to the future of mankind. It might very much be the case that we are witnessing the end of an era – end of the post cold-war order, change from the physical to digital forms of expression, total datafication of our lives, shortage of natural resources. Here We Are is narrated by a person who speaks for all of us and reflects on these changes, but also asks questions about the future. It might be that our generation is the one who will find out if what we are seeing is the end, or the beginning of a great new chapter in the history of humankind. Possibilities to prolong our lives (maybe even indefinitely in some digital way), need to redefine such concepts as money, religion, freedom or privacy… it gets quite overwhelming when you start to reflect on these new developments and what do they mean for the future of mankind. That’s what Here We Are is all about.

How did you document the music while it was being formulated?

Most of the music was written as a result of improvisation in the open C tuning. Once I got some coherent structure, I recorded a draft on my phone and tried to work my way up. Melodies often come to me already at the guitar draft stage and the riff progression inspires some particular thoughts that I explore further in the process.

Is the dynamic flow of the pieces carefully architected?

Yes, I wanted the album to flow in a certain way despite not being a real concept album. You’ve got the opening track (“Here We Are”), which is rooted in anxiety caused by the global change and sets the scene for the rest of the EP. It’s followed by an aggressive “Uprising”, which is a reflection on the tragic events of the Warsaw uprising of 1944 and its’ impact on the Polish nation. “My Prison Cell” is a story of an internal struggle focusing on how an individual fails to deal with self-inflicted pain and self-acceptance. “Anger”, on the other hand, takes a little turn and looks into the outside world through the glasses of a person, who cannot comprehend acts of violence. I wrote this song shortly after the wave of terrorist attacks in Europe, which shattered my sense of security and made me wonder about the root cause of terrorism and the concept of violence… The closing track “Keepers of the Realm” takes the listener from our earthly problems into space. It reflects on the nature and the future of mankind, possibilities for space colonisation, and eternal life.

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Describe the approach to recording the EP.

It was a long process mostly because of my lack of experience with recording music. I played in many bands, but it was usually related to playing live gigs. Sitting in front of a computer trying to figure all the technical aspects out, producing your own music, getting involved in the mixing and mastering process – it’s quite an adventure. I changed the gear several times, recorded some of the songs several times due to some technical issues or just being too sloppy to document the setup and sounds.

Once I got all the instruments recorded, I wrote melodies and then the lyrics. Since I’m not that much of a singer, I asked my good friend Mads [Rahbaek, vocals] if he’d like to join the project and record the vocals. Luckily, he said yes and we’ve been working together ever since. It was a long process, as the music and vocal parts took us into previously unexplored territories.

How long Here We Are was in the making?

From the decision to go in the metal/prog-metal direction to getting the EP ready to be released… it took probably around a year. On top of that there are the visuals, which took additional time to coordinate.

Which bands or artists influenced your work on the release?

The main impact on the writing process and the sound was the decision to tune my guitar in the open C tuning, which I first saw on electric guitar when I got to know the music of Devin Townsend. Other than that, it’s hard to say what bands influenced the writing process… As mentioned, it was my first attempt in finding my musical identity, so I guess that there are bits and pieces of all the bands that I listened to over the years. I have quite broad musical interests, from Gojira to Pink Floyd or Chopin.

What is your view on technology in music?

I think it enables creativity and makes it possible for people like me to give their dreams about making music a real shot. If you’re determined enough, you can get a long way without ever leaving apartment. All the amazing plugins, sample libraries and software make it possible to record albums at home and giving big studios run for their money. Here We Are was recorded on a laptop at home without having a real band… twenty years ago it wouldn’t be possible.

Do you see your music as serving a purpose beyond music?

I hope that it will help people to connect with themselves, inspire to think about the surrounding world and face some of the fears. I guess I’m not the only person pondering issues of global change, having problems with anxiety and self-acceptance… If the music we’re making connects with somebody else out there and helps them through the day, to figure stuff out… it would be really amazing.

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What are your plans for the future?

So that’s where it gets fun. We are currently recording the next album, which is a beginning of a three piece concept story. It’s a tale about a demon, who is tired of his lonely life in hell and decides to come to earth and force humans into loving him, which is supposed to fill the void in his heart. He’s got an evil companion and a pretty messed up plan how to conquer the earth… I hope that we will be ready with the first out of three albums in the first quarter of 2019. The release date is dependent on the funding as the entire album will be released as an animated cartoon. Three albums, three animated episodes, hopefully one each year. All depends on the time and support we get, but these upcoming albums are so much fun that it would be a dream come true to get them released. And yes, it’s going to be heavy, epic and prog, but not necessarily in a conventional way. You can think of it as an album and a cartoon for adults who enjoy head-banging to metal and don’t mind having few laughs while doing so. And I forgot to mention, it’s a musical… You can follow the progress on the new album on our facebook page where we often stream from studio, so stay tuned.

Here We Are is out now and is available to order from Bandcamp

This news story was originally published here:
Rainburn - Insignify

Indian masters of progressive rock, Rainburn, are returning this November 7th with the release of their full-length debut. Titled Insignify, a follow-up to 2014’s excellent Canvas of Sİlence, is a concept album “told from a musician’s point of view, that deals with issues of existentialism, the significance of human life, narcissism, craving importance, insecurity and the search for reason.” 

Insignify is an amazing journey filled with passages of extreme high intensity, soft introspection, delicate acoustic transitions, and high exaltation. In places it will instantly take you from a powerful, relentless, drummer Praveen Kumar’s driven musical blitzkrieg to a soft and inspiring dreamy passage. Tons of ideas and melodies flow through the album, and even though the inspired instrumental parts and the odd time signatures are always there, the music and the melodies remain accessible for anyone. There’s just so much talent here.

Indian Prog Rockers RAINBURN Launch "Suicide Note" Lyric Video

It’s clearly a “larger than the sum of its parts” album, but still one can find plenty of highlights in it. Like “Merchant of Dreams” for example, or the Dream Theater inspired lead single “Suicide Note.”

“Someone New” is clearly one of many band moments on the album—the guys are delivering astounding instrumental work led by Vats Iyengar’s voice, who also handles guitar duties.  

Closing “School of Atlantis” starts with lines of jazz chord progressions, but it’s not for too long until incredible odd signatures come in. Full of emotion and divine melodies, Rainburn pour their heart on this piece. 

Insignify lives in that magical sweet spot where the listener doesn’t know what is coming next, but when it happens recognizes it couldn’t have gone any other way. It should go without saying that if you already know Rainburn you will absolutely love this album. It is well within the “typical” style of complex music enhanced with adequate lyrics. 

The album is amped up into something unique. It is clear evidence that Rainburn is continuing to grow and elevate the quality of its music. Then again, it’s hard to imagine there is a ceiling to the quality of this band’s output. There simply are no weaknesses in this lineup and each member provides a powerful contribution that makes the whole even greater.

Insignify is out on November 7th. For more information about Rainburn visit their website here.

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