Guild of Others – Guild of Others Review

I’ve made this point before, but I’ll make it again: good progressive music must start simply as good music—period. I like to think of progressive music as a tasty meal, with the prog elements representing the seasoning. Seasonings may imbue a dish with exotic twists, but often times, they bring out flavors that lie inherent within the dish’s main ingredients themselves. Either way, the seasoning enhances what is already there. Too many bands today make progressive music for the sake of being progressive, prioritizing meandering exploration over songcraft, and this is akin to a chef filling a bowl with flavorful seasonings and serving it as a full meal. Guild of Others seem intent on dishing out hearty meals seasoned with proggy goodness, their promo even going so far as to quote prolific music critic Martin Popoff, who is supposed to have said, “Guild of Others accomplish the near impossible, and that’s make progressive metal that is accessible.” Let’s see if there is any truth to these words, or if they’re merely promospeak.

Guild of Others is more than just a name, it’s the philosophy on which this project and its self-titled debut are based. Drummer Tom Wallace and guitarist Steve Potts form the core of the band, and they’ve gathered a large collective of “others” to round out the lineup, featuring keyboardist Derek Sherinian (ex-Dream Theater) alongside several different vocalists and guest guitarists. This melting pot of creative talent has gestated a set of eight tracks that are so diverse that they had me thinking of all sorts of bands, with Pink Floyd, Alice in Chains, Symphony X, Soen, and King’s X representing just a few. Embedded track “Veil of Insanity” shows the project at arguably its heaviest, with thick, grooving riffs embellished by Hammond organ alternating with progressive arena rock passages. The track features some wild soloing by former Dio guitarist Craig Goldy and the smooth, yet occasionally aggressive vocals of Mark Hammond—the primary vocalist featured on the album.

I have to say that Mr. Popoff’s statement is proven true on much of Guild of Others, because, while they certainly bear all the elements of progressive music, these songs feature earworm after earworm and quickly burrowed their way into my memory after just a few listens. I found myself waking up with the lyrics and melodies of the anthemic “Other Side” running through my mind, while the epic flourishes and proggy bounce of “Elysium” have haunted me throughout my days. “Balance” finds the band somehow sounding like Alice in Chains, Symphony X, and Styx all within the span of a single track, but as weird as that sounds, it absolutely works.

Gripes are few and far between on Guild of Others. The balladic “Memento” has great moments but overplays its melodrama a bit, and closer “Spirit Host”—while good—doesn’t hook me the way the other tracks do, forcing the album to close on a bit of a drop-off. The production sounds amazing, with every instrument shining through brilliantly, and although the record contains a host of guest musicians, the songs combine to form a cohesive sound—so much so, that I probably wouldn’t have had a clue that there were so many session musicians involved if I hadn’t already known. Standout tracks include “Other Side,” “Balance,” “New World Disorder,” “Elysium,” and “Veil of Insanity.”

As evidenced by the breadth of styles represented by the bands I’ve referenced above, I think Guild of Others stands a good chance at appealing to a very wide audience of heavy and/or progressive music fans. Core members Wallace and Potts know how to write compelling songs that impress in their own right and are only enhanced by their more progressive details. A surprisingly delightful mishmash of sounds, Guild of Others is worth forty-six minutes of your time.

Rating: 3.5/5.0
DR: 10 | Format Reviewed: 192 kbps mp3
Label: Louder Than Loud Records
Websites: |
Releases Worldwide: February 18th, 2022

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