What I love about Russian Circles is how they’re able to completely let themselves go, escape their own human boundaries and just play ruthlessly as if they don’t give a fuck, but they do. Memorial (Sargent House) is an album that is so packed with powerful guitar and bass riffs, you’ll want to modify your arm so you can play your own riffs at any given times. They’re playing hard rock, heavy metal, hints of progressive rock and metal, doing some cool things with tempos and moods, and all of this done without the aid of a vocalist so everything you feel is similar to the good parts you might find on a progressive rock album. It’s everything in between, but taken to new levels, or at least new in terms of this being a new Russian Circles album. A song like “Deficit” may sound somewhat delicate at first but once it falls off the cliff, the listener is on a slow motion ride down to the floor until you’re crushed by the greatness. The drone that begins “1777″ sounds close to the segue way between Pink Floyd’s “The Narrow Way” parts 2 and 3, and when the drums come in and the guitar zooms through the echo chamber, it sounds passionate, victorious, or merely the first step towards a very long journey in the cold. In fact, some of this music reminded me of a cool feeling, and I wondered if I was associating it with the cover photo or just because it sounded like a mental struggle. “1777″ takes almost 7 1/2 minutes to get its message across and once it reaches its destination, the rest of the album almost comes off as nice anecdotes for each passing, yet the interpretation of the anectodes, the deciphering, makes this a very interesting and moving listen. Some of it may sound like a choir or monks chanting in a choir, other times there are classical passages that sound right with heavy guitar and bass, but as the album moves along, you feel yourself moving along with the struggle before you learn that the struggle is merely life moving along in its own way. What the “memorial” signifies, I don’t know. Does it mean we’re dealing with life’s struggle before we eventually end up at a memorial we can never see ourselves, or are we just congratulating those who are able to make it through this existence in one piece? These are the things that came to mind as I’m listening to this music, as if the sound is a wall that becomes an unspoken barrier with the capabilities of translating a language we all understand. We’re all getting there, but how we get there is up to us. We move forward, as Russian Circles always do, and will continue to do for many more years to come.
Whiel the group has thrown out an EP or two here and there, this is Pelican’s first album since 2009′s What We All Come To Need (my review of which can be read by clicking here), but the group has not lost their power or intensity. It’s nice to hear what makes them so great, and that is tight musicianship mixed with arrangements that truly take you on an excursion before the band do it over and over again, making the listener feel exhausted but always satisfied. In the eight song/50 minute duration, one can actually imagine hearing this in colors, maybe the cover will bring to mind shades of blue or green, hints of yellow, or deep reds and oranges, and even though there are some nondescript grey tones, color is never too far from what Pelican are doing. Words are almost pointless with music like this, but hopefully the few I’ve written here will move you to check this out and listen without fear. Forever Becoming is music that blows away a thousand bands who often have too much to say but nothing to grip on afterwards.
(FAVORITE SONGS: “The Tundra”, “Perpetual Dawn”, “Deny The Absolute”.)
With a second album on its way, Lost In The Riots have decided to release a song as a single to let people know they are coming. It’s for the song “Kong”, featuring a man dressed up as a gorilla and dancing to the sounds coming through the speakers. This British band have been around since 2010 and hope to take their music to even further heights. You may hear more of their music by checking out their Bandcamp page.
Denmark’s Causa Sui continue on with their deeper explorations of the instrumental way of life with Euporie Tide (El Paraiso), perhaps a very apt title if you are to interpret their music a certain way.
The trio love mixing up different styles in their playing, so you’ll have a pinch of psychedelia here, a nice wedge of progressive rock, a bit of bluesy jams in the vein of the Allman Brothers Band, or the type of music you would expect to hear in surf films of the early to mid-1970′s, thus how apt Euporie Tide is as a title, representing the tide of the ocean. The riffs and structure of “Homage” remind me a lot of the Smashing Pumpkins (think “Cherub Rock” or “Tristessa”) and how they enjoyed building up momentum and orchestrated rock without the orchestration. There are also some highly trippy moments that you might expect to hear on something of German origin, perhaps it’s Causa Sui staying true to their European origins. The wonderful blend of the heavy and the tranquil will keep the listener wanting to hear, as most of the album’s ten songs are five minutes in length or over. With each passing minute, the music reveals even more, which will (or should) lead you to wanting to hear it again, perhaps from/with a different perspective. Just when you’d like for these guys to turn a different corner in the song, they do, and many times in unexpected-yet-enjoyable places. Like an ocean, the feeling of Euporie Tide is everflowing, and I hope the guys in Causa Sui will continue to follow where their hearts will lead them. Or where the moon will lead them, as a moon has an effect on the tides of the ocean and… well, you know.
Australia’s sleepmakeswaves may be unfamiliar to some of you, but don’t worry, time is of the essence. The band were pushed into the forefront with the release of …and so we destroyed everything, which was nominated for the Australian equivalent of a Grammy, the ARIA (Australian Recording Industry Association). Not bad for a debut album. To make that success something worth spreading around the world, Monotreme will be releasing it in a big fashion on September 24th, and you’re now able to check out one of its tracks, “in limbs and joints”.
The CD version will be a double disc set, which will include a 9-track bonus CD called …and then they remixed everything, containing reworkings by Kyson, Glasfrosch, and 65daysofstatic, among others. The vinyl pressing (180g) will be done in three different color schemes, each one featuring a free CD of the album, a poster, and download code to get the remix album. Both the album and the remixed version will be separately obtainable through digital means.
Are Zechs Marquise Getting Paid? I am sure they are, although the term generally means “mega rich” and with these guys, it diesn’t matter. You want the music, you’ll buy the album, you may even go out of your way to see them live, which is good. As for that album you bought or are considering purchasing, it is called Getting Paid (thus this dialogue you’re reading) and they just came out a video for one of the songs, called “Everlasting Beacon Of Light”. This video is said to be “freaky” but “freaky” is in the mind of the perverted.
It’s always great to hear a band who choose to not include any vocals in their music, and they look to see how they can go beyond the expected boundaries. Pg.Lost are one of those instrumental rock bands that want to make sure they keep fans listening by constantly fine tuning their songs and making them the best that they can be. In Never Out (Black Star Foundation) is not the kind of album you’ll be able to just sit back and relax to, they have a lot of dynamics to their music where just when you think you’re comfortable, they blast you with a wall of guitars and a rhythm section that helps push things closer to an edge that never comes. In other words, hearing this sounds like a somewhat melancholy way moving in slow motion, but you’re always at the lip so you see the fall but never go over the edge. That is at least how I describe this Swedish band.
If you push yourself to go deep into Pg.Lost’s music, you may find the beauty within, but the challenge here is to not embrace the melancholy, for it’s what brings you in.
Our Delicate Stranded Nightmare (Rodriguez Lopez/Sargent House) is an all instrumental progressive album by Zechs Marquise, a group that features Marcel Rodriguez-Lopez of Mars Volta and his brother, Marfred Rodriguez-Lopez. Fans of Mars Volta will definitely find this to be of interest, but this a completely different animal. The first time I heard this, I would play a small handful of songs and then put it away. But what I recommend you to do is play this 15-track album in one sitting. Just let the music pull you through, open your mind, just kick back and listen. The 15 songs on here are trippy, soothing, multi-textured, unpredictable, and dynamic. It’s as if what these guys love doing is take some of the more elevated moments in prog rock, flip them around, inside out, moisten them with a water hose, and wring them out to dry. Then it’s the steaming process. Okay, maybe no steaming involved but there will definitely be some smoke sensed and perhaps smelled. Individually these songs are nothing short of amazing. Listening to them in one sitting, as if this was just one 15-movement piece, and you’ll start to hear how they all associate with each other. Maybe they do, maybe they don’t, but as one solid mass of sound, Zechs Marquise create the feeling that maybe hasn’t been forgotten, but had been backpacking in the Middle East for a year, hopping over to explore South America, and found its way into the stoney ridges of Texas. Our Delicate Stranded Nightmare is the kind of album I’d like to listen to while stoned. Not being a smoker, I can only immerse myself in this while wondering how it would sound with wasted ears, played by thought-provoking musicians with a mission to go inwards, outward and backwards at the same time with their songs. Mind blowing? Regardless of your mental condition, the answer is yes.