ProgSphere

This news story was originally published here: http://www.prog-sphere.com/interviews/scythian-fate-interview/

Sydney, Australia-based heavy metal trio Scythian Fate started their journey in 2012, and since then the band launched an EP ‘Drakaena Scythia‘ (2016), and earlier this year they have come up with a full-length debut titled ‘Matrimony in Madness.’ Guitarists Tom Kotsonis and Nino Morano, and singer Toby Heal spoke for Prog Sphere about their work.

Define the mission of Scythian Fate?

Tom: To play great kick arse metal that appeals across the genres and create our own unique signature sound. Whilst raised on a diet of classic, power, thrash, death and prog metal; we endeavour to avoid cliches and forge our own path. We want metal heads to listen and say “Fuck yeah that’s Fate”.

Tell me about the creative process that informed your debut album “Matrimony in Madness” and the themes it captures.

Tom: Scythian Fate is a very collaborative metal band. Nino and I worked very closely on the musical and thematic aspects of the album. When we started working on “Matrimony” we were looking for a vocalist. Once we recruited Toby, he introduced his aggressive vocal  style that helped shape the final product.

The album opens with Crimson Snow which depicts Napoleon’s defeat in Russia and transitions into balkan ghosts; a tune which explores the political history and ethnic complexities of the balkans. From there it covers multitude of different themes, ranging from philosophical, religious bigotry, hypocrisy, media shock jocks and injustices in society.

What is the message you are trying to give with “Matrimony in Madness”?  

Tom: The album’s defining message is a  mosaic of the lunacy that surrounds us! We are all married to this madness that comprises society. The epic cover art by Ed Sleiman captures the essence of this theme. The Multi faceted images are entwined with subliminal messages, manifesting into the primordial beast as the centerpiece of the artwork. Ed’s masterpiece on canvass, portrays our lyrical and musical themes. There is an overarching architect behind this smokescreen of insanity.

Scythian Fate - Matrimony in Darkness

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

Tom: I cannot read music and tend to play by ear. When I create riffs l piece them together in various sequences with a specific theme in mind. The riffs live in my head for several weeks/months. Nino’s creative process is somewhat different to mine, where creates many riffs over the years and eventually finds a home for them. When we get together, we play our riffs to each other and assess their suitability. We then record a rough skeleton of the prospective song and keep it on digital files. It Also helps to video our riffs to help remember the fingerings on the fretboard. We then review it over the months and fine tune. Our approach is highly collaborative and we exchange and swap riffs to eventually mould the finished piece. Now with Toby onboard we will introduce him early on in the process and get his input as well.

Is the dynamic flow of the pieces carefully architected? 

Tom: Absolutely! We spend an eternity working on the timings and musical dynamics of the pieces. We are very clear on the direction of the metal we want to play and we stick to our guns. Very careful consideration was given to the order of the tunes on the album as well to ensure there is a balanced flow of tempos and variation. We don’t want a jackhammer approach throughout the entire album. Tony Iommi’s philosophy of “light and shade” definitely applies here.

Describe the approach to recording the album?

Nino: Once we had selected which tracks to include on our album we worked on all the song structures first. Over time then we finalised all of the song structures for the selected music. Then we completed a series of demo versions of each track. When we were completely satisfied with all of that we got on with the actual final recording of the album. Firstly the drum tracks were recorded along with a pilot demo rhyme guitar track. The next step was to then record all of the bass guitar tracks. We then re-recorded all the fine tuned rhyme guitar tracks & harmonies to our liking. Then I completed all the lead guitar work. And then finally all the vocal tracks were recorded at the end to complete the process. The whole album was then mastered.

How long “Matrimony in Madness” was in the making?

Tom: Around three years all up including the artwork. A number of the songs were already in progress while we were completing our EP “Drakaena Scythia”.

Which bands or artists influenced your work on the release?

Toby: We all have similar tastes in metal but at the same time we’re very different.  Tom is very keen on his teutonic thrash and death metal, Nino has very progressive leanings and I’m a big fan of folk metal and melodeath.  For Matrimony in Madness the influences that shaped the album came strongly from bands like Kreator, Nevermore, Dream Theater and Death.  Indeed our single, Echoes Of The Pharisee was written in tribute to the late Death frontman, Chuck Schuldiner.

What is your view on technology in music?

Nino: Well my personal view is that technology in music is a double edged sword. It has certainly made it more affordable and cheaper to record your own music in your own space. Whether that is in your bedroom or a small free space somewhere else. You can make some quite good recordings within a small home studio now. On the flip side though, it definitely hinders the music artists ability to sell their own music. Obviously this is because technology makes it easy to share music & download music illegally via peer to peer platform and torrent sites. All we as musicians who spend are lot of our time and effort making our music can hope for is that firstly; 1. If someone downloads our music for free and really likes what they hear, then they please support us by buying the music. 2. If they could like and follow us on social media platforms plus stream our music via Spotify, Deezer, YouTube, iTunes  etc.… Every little bit helps self funded independent bands like us continue to make more music for our fans & supporters.

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

Tom: For sure! Our music is an attitude and a philosophy. We want to deliver thought provoking themes that stamp an impression on the listener. Our music, like all metal is a form of therapy and escape from the bullshit around us.

What are your plans for the future?

Toby: We are already hard at work writing songs for our next release.  However, another big goal for us is to fill out the rest of our band and play some live shows.  We’re excited for people to not only hear our music but to see us perform it live!

Nino: Yes we will keep trying to promote our ‘Matrimony In Madness’ album as much as we can into the future. Down the track we definitely would like to continue to record new material & as Toby also mentioned, complete our lineup and play some live shows.

Matrimony in Madness is out now; get it from Bandcamp. For more info about Scythian Fate visit their website, and follow them on Facebook and Instagram.

The post SCYTHIAN FATE: Forging Own Paths appeared first on Prog Sphere.

This news story was originally published here: http://www.prog-sphere.com/specials/3-well-behaved-rock-stars-broke-mould/

It’s not so much a stereotype as an unalienable fact to say that rock stars in general are a different breed. They’re crazy, wild, enigmatic souls that are often hard to tame and keep away from the headlines.

While Vince Neil and Nikki Sixx’s antics might have provided great material for the Netflix film The Dirt, they hardly helped the band’s commercial reputation. Behaving well and staying out of the headlines might be frowned upon by some, but it’s a sure fire way of having a successful, profitable career.

A rock star with a good reputation can make serious money from commercial endorsements, putting their name to all manner of things like cars, clothing ranges and many more. Some, like Kiss for example, even have their own slot games – and they’re not the only ones. There are a whole host of online slots themed around your favourite rock stars, so if you’re a true fan of music, it’s your duty to check them out.

Let’s take a look at three rock stars who have challenged the stereotype and built solid reputations.

Paul David Hewson – AKA Bono

Better known around the world as Bono, the Irish singer has been entertaining rock fans for over 40 years as the lead vocalist in U2. The band have released 14 studio albums in that time, selling an estimated 170 million records worldwide.

Sure, there are critics and fans that would like to do down the importance and reach of U2, but they have undoubtedly been one of the best bands in the world for well over two decades. The Irish group have rarely made the headlines for the wrong reasons, with Bono being key to that.

The frontman has dedicated himself to activism and philanthropy for the past 30 years. After being inspired by Live Aid, Bono visited Africa with his wife Ali Stewart and was compelled to start his own charity work in earnest.

Over the years Bono has raised millions of dollars for a wide range of Christian relief charities, although controversy has reigned over how much of his own wealth he has donated. In 2018 it was reported that the singer only donated $25,000 of his personal wealth to his own charity in an article entitled ‘Bono’s endless hypocrisy’.

But overall, it’s hard to argue with the fact Bono’s a pretty good guy.

Dave Grohl

The 50-year-old rocker is one of the most famous musicians in the world, and has been the lead singer of the Foo Fighters for the past 25 years. Prior to that Grohl has sat behind the drums for some of the biggest names in the industry; Queens of the Stone Age, Tenacious D, Pearl Jam and most notably Nirvana.

Nikki Sixx infamously died for two minutes after suffering a heroin overdose, later releasing Kickstart My Heart with Motley Crue in homage to his brush with death. The closest that Grohl has come to something similar was in 2009 when he was admitted to hospital with chest pains brought about by drinking too much coffee.

The Foo Fighters frontman is a vocal critic of drugs after seeing the negative impact that they have had on his former friends – notably his Nirvana bandmate Kurt Cobain, who was addicted to heroin prior to committing suicide at the age of 27. In his teenage years Grohl dabbled with cannabis and LSD before completely giving up narcotics at the age of 20 having never tried cocaine, heroin or speed.

Dave Grohl spoke about having a ‘normal life’ in this interview on BBC Breakfast

Grohl has used his profile to promote liberal causes. In 2012 he played My Hero at a Democrat Convention in honour of then President Barack Obama. Grohl has also been a big advocate of LGBT rights since the 1990s when along with the other members of Nirvana he performed at a fundraiser that was fighting Oregon Ballet Measure 9.

All in all Grohl is a pretty good guy apart from his 2000 DUI in Australia for driving a scooter after drinking one too many beers. For a rock star though, his life has been pretty tame.

Sir Paul McCartney

The former Beatle was part of the biggest band in history. Whilst there is some consternation from rock fans over whether or not The Beatles were actually a rock band or a pop band, one thing is clear…

The Beatles were certainly classified as a rock band when they first appeared on radio sets around the world in the 1950s. Their music has inspired a multitude of budding rock stars and allowed young musicians the freedom to express themselves.

Like most rock stars, Sir Paul McCartney has had his issues most notably with drugs, but in fairness he was performing during the ‘rise of the hippies’. Many rock stars were smoking cannabis in the 1960s and McCartney was no different. In fact such was McCartney’s love for the drug that he and his band mates took out a national advert in The Times Newspaper calling for its legalisation in 1967.

His allegiance to the legalisation of cannabis did not adversely affect his career to the extent that it did for other artists. McCartney’s reputation as a ‘do-gooder’ has remained intact for decades, thanks to his numerous charitable donations, fundraisers and movements.

Despite Sir Paul McCartney’s activism and good work this ‘song’ is still an affront to music…

McCartney has a long history of performing at charity events, including Ferry Aid, Band Aid, Live Aid and The People of Kampuchea. Sir Paul is also a vegan, having initially being vegetarian since the mid-1970s. At the turn of the millennium McCartney publicly wrote to the Dalai Lama encouraging him to forego meat and switch to veganism.

In recent years McCartney has also supported movements to ban fracking and fox hunting in the UK. Such is the extent of McCartney’s philanthropy that many people seem to have forgotten that he was one of the most famous rock stars in the world.

In 2015 he collaborated with Kanye West and Rihanna on the song FourFiveSeconds. That led one Kanye fan to write on social media: “props to Kanye for giving up and coming artists like Paul McCartney a chance in the industry.”

Summary

There’s no doubting that today’s rock stars are a little less notorious from the ones of the late 20th century. You don’t hear much about crazy parties and wild dressing room stories featuring the likes of Chris Martin, for example. So perhaps Bono, Grohl and McCartney may have had more influence on the world of music than they’ve previously been credited for – transforming a whole generation of music stars into do-gooders.

The post 3 Well Behaved Rock Stars Who Broke the Mould appeared first on Prog Sphere.

This news story was originally published here: http://www.prog-sphere.com/specials/surface-of-the-sun-premiere/

Devon Eggers and his solo project Surface of the Sun have announced a new single ”Oblivion” taken from the upcoming album Panacea, which will be released on September 6, 2019. Listen to the song below, exclusively brought to you by Prog Sphere.

Since his first recording in 2011, Eggers has worked hard to make a more polished, detailed, and refined second effort and the result, Panacea definitely brings that aspiration alive with more elaborate song arrangements that still have the Surface of the Sun feel.

The EP consists of four songs, each providing a unique element and feel to the release. They all have their own character, but are complementary to each other. Eggers outlines the details in the single ”Oblivion”:

‘Oblivion’ starts with a unique bass guitar riff, which is one of the few songs primarily written on the instrument. It’s a little lighter than the others and builds through a series of verses and breakdowns supplemented with Asian instruments until bursting into the first chorus. ’Oblivion’ also has an elaborate bridge section with energy that ebbs and flows, before ramping up into an explosive ending.

All vocals and music are written, performed and recorded by Devon Eggers except for the drums, which were performed and composed by Chris Warunki (Omnisight).

Heavy, creative and catchy, Surface of the Sun is appealing for all fans of progressive metal, especially those with an interest in Tool, Karnivool, and Chevelle.

Listen to ”Oblivion” below.

Pancaea Track Listing:

1. The Science Says (5:03)
2. Oblivion (5:22)
3. The Silence (6:16)
4. Panacea (8:52)
EP Length: 25:34

Surface of the Sun - Pancaea

The post Exclusive: One-Man Prog Band SURFACE OF THE SUN Streaming New Single “Oblivion” appeared first on Prog Sphere.

This news story was originally published here: https://www.prog-sphere.com/news/opeth-release-first-single-in-cauda-venenum/

One of 2019’s most anticipated heavy rock/metal albums, In Cauda Venenum, will be released by Swedish prog masters Opeth on September 27th via Moderbolaget / Nuclear Blast Entertainment. Today, the band has unveiled a bi-lingual visualizer the record’s first new song, “Hjärtat Vet Vad Handen Gör” / “Heart In Hand,” and has invited followers to pre-order the record now:

store.moderbolagetrecords.com
opeth.com/stores

Watch the visualizer for “Hjärtat Vet Vad Handen Gör” / “Heart In Hand” below.

Commenting on the new song, vocalist/guitarist/songwriter Mikael Åkerfeldt says, “‘Hjärtat Vet Vad Handen Gör’ or ‘Heart in Hand’ as it’s called in English is one of the first couple of songs I wrote for ‘In Cauda Venenum.’ I immediately knew that it would probably be favoured by ‘the powers that be’ when talks of future singles for the record would commence. And I was right. I generally leave it up to the labels or managements to pick the so-called singles. I’m indifferent as I put an equal amount of dedication into all songs, so it doesn’t matter all that much to me. I guess it’s one of the more straightforward songs on the album. A rather rocking little thing. It’s got one of the ‘happy mistakes’ in it too. Mendez bass broke down in the middle of recording. At the time he played an old Hofner Beatles-esue bass guitar that started humming real bad, but it sounded so good we immediately decided to keep it in there. I’d be putting myself down if I said that noise is the best part of the song, but it’s up there. I like when stuff happens out of your control, and it actually adds to the piece. This is the first full taster of the new Opeth album, and of course I hope you like it. All the songs on the new album are different from each other and therefore equally representable in my view. Enjoy!

Recorded last year at Stockholm’s Park Studios, In Cauda Venenum will be released in two versions, in both Swedish and English languages.

Regarding the sonic direction of the new record, Åkerfeldt adds, “For us, at this stage with ‘In Cauda Venenum,’ heaviness isn’t guitars tuned down with screaming vocals over the top. That’s not necessarily what I call ‘heavy’ music these days. I can listen to Korn and say, ‘OK, that’s heavy.’ But it doesn’t really mean anything to me. I mean, I catch up on things in magazines or online. I read about bands that have the ‘heaviest record ever,’ and I’m not too impressed by that. OK, it’s cool but what does it say? What does it mean? It’s an impossible mission, to be the heaviest. That’s been done before. Over time, I got tired of that tag. Of course, when I was younger it meant everything to me. I was always on the pursuit for heaviness in my youth, trying to find the next level of heaviness. First it was death metal, then it was bands like Meshuggah, but heaviness is now more about emotions, heavy chord progressions, music that has feelings. Heaviness doesn’t mean Meshuggah anymore, although indeed they’re a fucking heavy band. I’m not trying to tap into that anymore.

Opeth will be performing shows in support of In Cauda Venenum around the world through the end of the year. Dates are listed below and tickets are on sale now at www.opeth.com/tour-dates. Additional touring will be announced soon.

Pre-order In Cauda Venenum in various formats, here:
store.moderbolagetrecords.com
opeth.com/stores

Listen to the band’s new track on all DSPs. Pick your version below:
English: http://geni.us/OpethInCaudaVenenumENG
Swedish: http://geni.us/OpethInCaudaVenenumSWE

In Cauda Venenum Tracklising:
1. Livet’s Trädgård / Garden Of Earthly Delights
2. Svekets Prins / Dignity
3. Hjärtat Vet Vad Handen Gör / Heart In Hand
4. De Närmast Sörjande / Next Of Kin
5. Minnets Yta / Lovelorn Crime
6. Charlatan
7. Ingen Sanning Är Allas / Universal Truth
8. Banemannen / The Garroter
9. Kontinuerlig Drift / Continuum
10. Allting Tar Slut / All Things Will Pass

OPETH Tour Dates:
July 12 – Warsaw, Poland – Prog In Park III
July 27 – Sibiu, Romania – ARTmania Festival
Aug 2 – Wacken, Germany – Wacken Open Air
Aug 3 – Borgholm, Sweden – Borgholm Brinner
Aug 9 – Kortrijk, Belgium – Alcatraz Festival
Aug 11 – Leeuwarden, Netherlands – Into The Grave Fest
Aug 18 – Las Vegas, NV – Psycho Las Vegas @ Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino
Oct 27 – Norwich, United Kingdom – UEA LCR
Oct 29 – London, United Kingdom – London Palladium
Oct 31 – Glasgow, United Kingdom – SWG3 Galvanizers
Nov 1 – Leeds, United Kingdom – Damnation Festival
Nov 3 – Bristol, United Kingdom – O2 Academy Bristol
Nov 6 – Brussels, Belgium – Ancienne Belgique
Nov 8 – Munich, Germany – Backstage Werk
Nov 9 – Milano, Italy – Alcatraz
Nov 10 – Zurich, Switzerland – Volkshaus Zurich
Nov 11 – Paris, France – L’Olympia Bruno Coquatrix
Nov 13 – Koln, Germany – E-Werk
Nov 14 – Munich, Germany – Schlachthof
Nov 15 – Nuremberg, Germany – Meistersingerhalle
Nov 16 – Berlin, Germany – Huxley’s Neue Welt
Nov 17 – Kobenhavn K, Denmark – Det Kgl. Teater
Dec 5 – Osaka, Japan – Club Quattro
Dec 6 – Tokyo, Japan – Zepp Tokyo
Dec 10 – Torrensville, Australia – The Barton Theatre
Dec 11 – Perth, Australia – The Astor Theatre
Dec 13 – Melbourne, Australia – Palais Theatre
Dec 14 – Sydney, Australia – The State Theatre
Dec 15 – Brisbane, Australia – The Tivoli

Opeth - In Cauda Venenum

The post OPETH Release First Single Off of Upcoming Album; Pre-Orders Now Open appeared first on Prog Sphere.

This news story was originally published here: https://www.prog-sphere.com/specials/empress-beyond-the-sleep-premiere/

Female-fronted Philadelphia-based symphonic power metal five-piece EMPRESS are launching a music video for “Beyond the Sleep” exclusively via Prog Sphere. Watch it below.

About what inspired “Beyond the Sleep” and the story behind the new single, the band stated:

‘Beyond the Sleep’ refers to that place we all will go to one day—what lies beyond our final rest. The thing is, no one truly knows, and everyone has a belief or idea as to what they think will happen and where we’ll end up when that day comes. The only ones who truly know are those who have departed, and since we have no way of asking them, they take the answers to that secret with them when they go. As a result, this leaves those of us left behind to wonder and, more unfortunately, argue over where we think they’ve gone and what waits for us there. This has led to many taking advantage of and manipulating this fear to get people to live in accordance with their own ideals and principles, promising an even better place to go to if you obey them and do as they say. Ultimately, they are using people’s grief and fear to control them by claiming to speak on behalf of those who are not here to say otherwise and this song was inspired by musings in that vein.

The video for “Beyond the Sleep” was directed by EMPRESS’ guitarist Vlad Khavin. Singer Barbara Blackthorne reflected on this experience:

We did this all completely ourselves, with Vlad in the director’s chair. There were quite a few late nights, so lack of sleep was definitely a big one. At one point we even had the police show up to tell us to ‘stop playing,’ not just keep the noise down, so going forward we had to play as quietly as we could—thankfully we were finished filming drums at that point!

Khavin added: “The whole thing was pretty new to all of us, which made it both more fun and more challenging. I had done some still photography in the past so I was able to lean on a bunch of that experience but there was a whole lot I had to learn along the way! Yeah, the late night visit from the police while we were filming just put the icing on the whole thing. It somehow felt so much more heavy metal after that. In the end, I think I will never again take for granted what I see in the movies. It no longer looks like magic to me, but I have an appreciation of how much work goes into it now. Despite all of the late nights and sleep deprivation, we had loads of fun making this video.  It was a really great experience.

The band is currently writing new material and they plan to get into the studio to record their full-length debut.

Khavin commented: “We already have a number of songs that we perform live that may be released as singles before that happens, but that depends on a number of things. Also, we’ve been performing live which has been great! We’re definitely looking forward to doing more of that.

Barbara added: “The reception so far has been incredible and we’re very excited to continue sharing this world that we’ve been creating!

Stream a video for “Beyond the Sleep” below. For more information about EMPRESS visit their website, and follow them on Facebook and Instagram.

EMPRESS line-up:

  • Barbara Blackthorne – vocals
  • Vlad Khavin – guitar
  • Mark Stainthorpe – drums
  • Joseph Muir – guitar
  • Nicholas Bonsanto – bass

The post Exclusive: Watch a Video for “Beyond the Sleep” by Philadelphia Metal Act EMPRESS appeared first on Prog Sphere.

This news story was originally published here: https://www.prog-sphere.com/specials/3-rock-musicians-interesting-hobbies/

The rock industry is a rather competitive one. Only a handful of exceptional singers manage to rise to the top and have their albums heard by millions. Those singers, although they are regular people, they often have interesting behaviors and hobbies.

Besides the classic rock concerts and partying these singers engaged in, they also have a couple of less usual but surely fascinating personal hobbies. In this article, we will showcase three rock legends with very interesting hobbies. Although they are best known for their love for music, we will try to focus more on their other passions in this piece.

Lemmy – Gambling

If there’s one singer known for his gambling passion in the rock community it surely has to be Lemmy, the lead singer of Motorhead. His band is responsible for creating a timeless rock song focused on gambling, “The Ace of Spades.” If you’re stepping into any land-based casino the chances of stumbling upon this song are quite high. By many, it is considered to be the greatest gambling song of all time.

While other musicians are into card games and roulette, Lemmy had other preferences. The iconic rocker was a fan of slot machines, which he was frequently playing in particular club from London. He also liked playing blackjack but, not as much as the slots.

His legacy in the gambling community is so big that you might even stumble upon his songs in certain virtual casinos while playing the online slots or other casino games. If not, you can always play them on your computer to enhance the gambling experience.

This online form of gambling is often quite good for comfort since you don’t have to leave the house. Lemmy was surely a fan of comfort since he often used to play the slots for relaxation. This makes you wonder if he would’ve switched to online gambling because of its advantages or not.

Eric Clapton – Fishing

This might come as a surprise to many but, yes, Eric Clapton, the man behind many classic rock songs is into fishing. He’s one of the greatest musicians ever, a former member of bands like Cream, the creator of “Layla” and “Wonderful Tonight” but, also a fishing enthusiast.

In fact, we can call him more than a fishing enthusiast considering that his fishing journeys always had satisfying results. He went fishing in Iceland a couple of times, always catching huge fish that would surprise even professional fishermen. Clapton even managed to catch one of the year’s biggest salmon in Iceland, in 2016 and 2017.

Many might see fishing as a hobby for retired people. Although Eric cut back on his partying and rockstar lifestyle, he is surely not retired. He’s just about to finish the Eric Clapton World Tour (2019) this September. He had shows in five locations from Asia, seven from Europe and is going to finish off with five more concerts in the US.

James Hetfield – Custom Cars

You probably know this singer for his contribution to the world-famous metal band called Metallica. He spends plenty of time on tour and other rock gigs, putting his mark on the world. However, when he’s at home, he spends more time on his hobby, customizing cars and bikes.

Many rockstars have a passion for cars and bikes but Hetfield’s involvement in this hobby is exceptional. He owned a large number of classic cars throughout the years, all of them custom made to fit his taste. They all look very eye-catching.

Conclusion

Most rock musicians are known for their extravagant lifestyles and the legendary music they created. They are less known for their hobbies and personal pursuits. The three rockstars mentioned above surely had a couple of interesting hobbies that they could have performed at a professional level, if not for their love for rock.

The post 3 Rock Musicians and Their Interesting Hobbies appeared first on Prog Sphere.

This news story was originally published here: https://www.prog-sphere.com/reviews/drummond-in-sand-review/

What do you look for in good music? Perhaps a beat you can move to, or lyrics that inspire you. Maybe you just like some tight vocal talent. What I don’t often hear is that people are drawn to strictly instrumental music these days. It would be accurate to lump me into that category as well. That’s why the new EP by guitarist Drummond from New York made me re-evaluate what kind of a listener I truly am.

“In Sand” is not your typical studio EP. I don’t know how to accurately summarize it in a sentence, but the best I can do is to say that it is an experience that touches on emotion and movement, culture and creativity. There is a lot of experimentation and melding of genres.

One of the best examples of this is the closing title piece, which is over four and a half solid minutes of transitional music that transcends the stereotypical instrumental, and flirts with the realm of concepts carried through art.

For the mellow mood, you can feed your soul with the uplifting “Root,” which is just perfect burst of melody and emotion. “Submerge” has a very worldly, cultural feel to it. It does carry a bit more forwardness and the interweaving of various instrumental supports. Both of these songs are expertly arranged and never lose the appeal that many instrumental pieces are often at risk of.

It’s been a long time since I’ve been so quickly swayed to appreciate an artist I’ve not only never listened to, but never heard of before. Drummond is a game changer on that front. With such a wide spectrum of musical decisions so well placed in this collection, this artist proves that he is one of the many musicians of this generation that’s going to change where we are going.

Music is no longer a single genre spectacle, it’s a multifaceted experience, and this is your proof. Welcome to the future.

In Sand is available from Bandcamp here.

The post EP Review: Drummond – In Sand appeared first on Prog Sphere.

This news story was originally published here: http://www.prog-sphere.com/reviews/ominous-conclusions-prequel-review/

Over the last few years, instrumental releases within the progressive rock/metal genre have been on the rise, and like with everything else, the quality of the releases vary from hit-and-miss to some absolutely amazing gems. Ominous Conclusions, based in Lyon, France, is a project of Louis Nas, a composer and guitarist. “Prequel” is a full-length debut by Nas, released on July 9th, 2019.

Well composed, arranged and wonderfully performed, “Prequel” is an ambitious piece of largely instrumental prog rock/metal, with more than enough epic ideas to keep a listener engaged and attentive. Suffice to say, there is more than enough of a variety to keep the music from sounding stale or rehashed. Although Nas’ true calling lies in melody-driven progressive metal guitar, the stylistic curveballs here are fully-realized and sound great. “Mind Control Facility,” the album’s opener, is an excellent example of Nas’ skill as a multi-faceted composer. And this skill just keeps on improving throughout the six-track release. Song structures seem arranged to cater to a string of individually satisfying moments, as opposed to the ideas all contributing to the overall whole of a composition. Even in the most ambitious progressive rock/metal moments, I tend to look for some of the same qualities found in conventionally good songwriting.

Obviously, much of the spotlight here is placed on Nas’ prodigious grasp of the electric guitar. Although the album’s djenty side doesn’t stand any bit above what we’ve already heard from that corner of prog metal, Louis makes himself out to be an absolutely brilliant fusion guitarist. The title track might be my favourite track on the album for this very reason; Nas’ marriage of keen instrumental wandering and tight melodic passages is gorgeous.

“Prequel” is an album packed with instrumental inventiveness and technical proficiency. Louis Nas excels here both as a composer and musician. Grab the album from Bandcamp.

The post Album Review: Ominous Conclusions – Prequel appeared first on Prog Sphere.

This news story was originally published here: http://www.prog-sphere.com/interviews/ominous-conclusions-interview/

Ominous Conclusions is an instrumental progressive metal project by a French guitarist and composer Louis Nas, combining lyric lead guitar along with virtual electronic instruments and symphonic orchestrations. Nas is about to launch his debut album with the project, entitled ‘Prequel‘ and in an interview for Prog Sphere he talked about it.

Define the mission of Ominous Conclusions.

Well, let’s put it that way (“the mission” being such a big word): with this project I try, like everybody else I suppose, to create music that doesn’t sound like anything else in this genre, something unique (of course, who wouldn’t, right?).

Not only is it a hundred percent instrumental music, but its purpose is to tell stories, without the use of words, like a good movie soundtrack, or classical music. If you listen to it, something must take place in your mind, like images, or scenes, situations involving characters maybe; and if I tell you what it’s about, suddenly it will make perfect sense.

In a near future, the mission of Ominous Conclusions will be more precisely to spread fear, anxiety and wonder in people’s hearts through the same process.

Tell me about the creative process that informed your upcoming album “Prequel.”

The creative process in this case is somewhat chaotic really. This is the first album of my solo project, Ominous Conclusions, and it stands for the absolute beginning, hence the title. It’s a kind of melting pot of what I planned to do, and what I do now. Some of the tracks were written years ago when I planned to form a band with that, and along the way, I finally decided to go solo. Some tracks where even supposed to host vocals. Some I wrote in weeks, or month, and others took me years, like Prequel, which was at first meant for a band with a singer, and I modified it here and there to make it fully instrumental in the end.

This album represents a clean slate from where I’ll go deeper in the meaning of this project, with the way I work now.

Although “Prequel” is an instrumental release for the most part, is there a certain message you are trying to give with it?

There’s not so much a message as there are stories told through the composing. There’s only one track that caries a message per se: “Mind Control Facility.” This one is about the concept of Freedom, and the fact that it doesn’t come cheap. If one wants to be free, one has to make his/her own decisions and live with the consequences no matter what.

This track, using electronic instruments and drums, Djent-like rythms and fat sounding distortion riffs, depicts kind of a synthetic world where we’re all trapped by social conventions, laws, money, work, or even family… We face walls everywhere. And the middle section, with its extended guitar solo that grows more and more lyric, is the expression of this growing desire of Freedom. And in the end, the solo goes on over the last section, which is a chorus, thus depicting the perpetual fight between this desire, and our overwhelming world.

Other than this track, the other ones tell fictional stories, like Prequel, which is about the creation of our Solar System and planet Earth.

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

While composing, I mainly use softwares such as Guitar Pro, for all the guitar stuff and the drums (when I write those), and Finale, for all the orchestrations (even on guitars sometimes). The main thing I do when I have a story in my mind, or some atmosphere I want to create, is I write it in plain words in a text editor. I can write about the way I want things to go together, or the story I wanna tell, or the feelings I want people to feel, as far as the chords progressions and the kind of harmony and structure. Then, later, I come back to it and start to compose the notes.

Prequel

Is the dynamic flow of the pieces carefully architected?

Yes, absolutely. It could’ve been more effective, though, if I had one or two more tracks on this album to tie things up a little more; but to be completely honest, at that time I lacked both time and money, and the other tracks I’ve been writing either don’t quite match the atmosphere of this project, or they don’t really fit in this album, but will be more welcome on the next.

Describe the approach to recording the album.

Well, that was also pretty messy… First, a guy I worked with for some years offered to record my album. So we planned this months in advance but as we drew near the time of the recordings, I didn’t hear from him, and he never returned my calls and messages… I had other things set up so I quickly searched around and contacted another sound engineer, who didn’t pick up his phone and only got back to me four months later… It’s really very hard to find trustworthy people to work with…

Anyway, in the meantime, I met a guy who’s been a well-known recording sound engineer for years, and although he’s not at all in metal, and thus was not used to mixing that kind of music, he became fond of my work and gave me the keys to his studio so I could come over as much as I needed to record the album. So, it turns out I was very lucky in the end, but it was a very stressful and frustrating process all the same.

How long “Prequel” was in the making?

Approximately two years, not considering the time it took to compose it.

Which bands or artists influenced your work on the release?

Well in general, my work is influenced by guitar heroes and bands such as Marco Sfogli, Daniele Gottardo, Guthrie Govan, Animals as Leaders, Carach Angren, and composers like Danny Elfmann, John Willams, Howard Shore, Rimsky-Korsakov, Bach, Beethoven and many others… The main track, Prequel, was clearly inspired by the band called Beyond Creation.

What is your view on technology in music?

That’s a tricky one… And I am so out of technology… I still have a cellphone with a keypad you know? Anyway, I think modern technology in music offers a lot of new possibilities. Today, for better or worse, anyone can make music by themself, at home. Not only for recording, but also mixing or editing, and composing, using plugins and virtual instruments. No need to wait for the only decent drummer we managed to have our hands on, while he’s oversleeping, and still drunk, instead of showing up for the rehearsals. We can do anything, or close enough, and share it with the world through streaming platforms. It has its pros and cons, but I think it’s wonderful.

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

I certainly hope so. I hope it gives people the desire to do more and be more (hope also that makes sense^^). I hope that it brings out their craving for beauty, even out of music.

I think this music can create a community of like-minded people who would share thoughts and views, even feelings they would not be able to share otherwise. I’d love that!

And for me, I also hope it helps me get closer to my masters.

What are your plans for the future?

Well, I plan on developing this project of course. Next will be the release of a double album on H.P. Lovecraft’s worlds and stories if everything goes well. Aside from that, I plan on developing the « community » aspect of the project around stuff like sheet music, backing tracks, chat sessions about Lovecraft’s literature, and even instructional videos on guitar technique and harmony among other things.

Prequel is available from Bandcamp here.

The post OMINOUS CONCLUSIONS: Instrumental Storytelling appeared first on Prog Sphere.

This news story was originally published here: http://www.prog-sphere.com/interviews/asymmetric-universe-interview/

Asymmetric Universe is a new progressive metal slash fusion trio coming out of Turin in Italy who launched their debut EP ‘When Reality Disarticulates‘ back in March. The four-track release is “about the difficulties that mankind faces losing every reference point in life and the resulting research of new coordinates beyond the simple Truth.” Guitarist Federico Vese and bassist Nicolo Vese talked with Prog Sphere.

Define the mission of Asymmetric Universe. 

Federico: As Asymmetric Universe we wanted to create a new musical project that involved only young people, in order to have fresh ideas and to find motivated professionals. In fact not only the musicians involved in our EP are younger than thirty years old but even the video makers and the graphic designer! As an independent band, it’s crucial for us to choose people external to the band that believe in the project as we do. We are really proud of it.

Tell me about the creative process that informed your debut EP “When Reality Disarticulates.” 

Federico: When Nicolò and I started writing “When Reality Disarticulates”, our aim was to find a new musical language that was freed from all the clichè and stereotypes of the genres. So we tried to mix all our influences that cover many different genres: in fact we studied metal, jazz, funk and we produce orchestral music too! For sure we define ourselves a Progressive metal band but in our music the listeners can find a deep contamination of fusion and jazz. Electronic and orchestral arrangement play an important role on the rhythm and harmonic aspect too and they help us to give a modern style to our music. Even though our music can seem theoretically complex, we tried to keep the typical “song” form in our compositions because we wanted to share our message with as many people as possible.

When Reality Disarticulates

Although “When Reality Disarticulates” is an instrumental release, is there a certain message you are trying to give with it? 

Federico: ‘When Reality Disarticulates’ (in italian ‘Quando la realtà si disarticola’) is a verse from a poem by the italian poet Eugenio Montale titled ‘Interno/Esterno’ (I don’t think there’s any english traduction of this poem, anyway it should be ‘Internal/External’), same thing for the title of the first song ‘Trees Houses Hills’ (originally ‘Alberi case colline’) which is taken from one of his poems titled ‘Perhaps one morning walking in dry glassy air’ (originally ‘Forse un mattino andando in un’aria di vetro’). The other titles, except for ‘Hermeneutic Shock’, are from philosophical and poetic works too: ‘Off the Beaten Track’, for example, is the english title of a Martin Heidegger’s work (originally titled ‘Holzwege’) and ‘The Clouds Passing By’ (originally ‘Les nuages qui passent’) is a verse taken from Charles Baudelaire’s poem called ‘The stranger’ (‘L’étranger’). We love Montale’s poetry, we think he can represent at best how mankind reacts discovering that beyond all our values and truths, there’s nothing but the void. We imagined a redemption journey that mankind takes in order to find new interpretations of reality, starting from the fear that we may feel facing the abyss (‘Hermeneutic Shock’), passing through a transvaluation of all values (‘Off the Beaten Track’), ending with the awareness of the death of all possible truths, resulting in a complete devotion to the artistic side of life (‘The Clouds Passing By’). If you buy our EP on Bandcamp, you can find a digital booklet were all songs are briefly explained as a part of a philosophical journey that all men and women, at least once in a lifetime, take. The message behind this EP could sound a bit pessimist, but it’s actually an overcoming of life’s concept as we always knew: if there’s nothing beyond our values, then we have absolute freedom to create something new.

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

Federico: We are going to release a lot of music videos and playthrough of our songs for sure, but we didn’t documented the writing process of our debut EP. It’s highly probable that we’ll do it for our second release though.

Federico Vese

Federico Vese

Is the dynamic flow of the pieces carefully architected?

Federico: Yes for sure! We took care of the songs in their own sections in order to give the idea of the different moments of the abstract journey that each of them represents. The message of the EP is quite complex so each songs represents different moods that you can feel when you’re feeling a deep change in your life. Anyway at the same time we tried not to lose the vision of the big picture: the listener can feel the EP as a whole musical experience, that has its up and down accordingly to the moment of the journey he’s listening to.

Describe the approach to recording the album.

Nicolò: We wanted our EP to sound the more natural possibile, no drums samples were used, just acoustic recordings. The challenge was to give a metal tight sound while still keeping the original intention of each instrument in a more fusion approach, so it required a lot of practice before recording the EP and a lot of concentration while tracking.

How long “When Reality Disarticulates” was in the making?

Nicolò: This was our first release so it took a lot of time to understand how we really wanted it. We wanted to know how to mix well all the genres we studied, and doing so required a lot of study and time. It took many months to understand how to use some demos that we collected over the previous years. Now that we know our language and directions, we cant wait to write more stuff! (maybe we’re already doing that).

Nicolo Vese

Nicolo Vese

Which bands or artists influenced your work on the release?

Nicolò: We come from differente genres. Federico (guitar) studied a lot of metal and fusion artists such as Dream Theater, Guthrie Govan, Pat Metheny, Meshuggah, Periphery, Animals as Leaders. I studied mainly jazz, funk and orchestral music. I love Bill Evans, Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Victor Wooten, Marcus Miller and for the orchestral parts I really like Gershwin, Verdi, Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninov and many others.

Gabriele as a drummer, loves Animals as Leaders, Dillinger Escape Plan and Periphery while as a listener he loves different genre from the classical music of Mendelssohn, the metalcore of Issues to the electronic and hip hop of Amon Tobin and J Dilla.

Gabriele Bullita

Gabriele Bullita

What is your view on technology in music?

We think that every mean which helps to create new sounds and timbres, should not be considered as a music enemy. In our EP there’s also a big electronic influence so we totally agree with the research of new sounds that could also go beyond music instruments.

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

We think that music should only tell what insipired it. We are against the use of music for politic aims. We want only to focus on art, specifically on the art of sounds, we don’t want to search the Truth throught our music, just some musical enjoyment. All the interesting parts of a musical composition should be in its content not in what it refers.

What are your plans for the future?

Federico: We are going to release more music videos in order to reach as many people as possible through the web. We’ve already been asked by the people of the internet to play live shows in India, Canada and USA but for now there are only plans for a tour in Italy and Europe.

When Reality Disarticulates is available from Bandcamp. Follow Asymmetric Universe on Facebook and Instagram.

The post ASYMMETRIC UNIVERSE: New Musical Language appeared first on Prog Sphere.