Progressive Metal

Tranzat – Ouh La La Review

Tranzat – Ouh La La Review

Tranzat won me over before I even heard a single note, their pétillant persona piquing all the “must listen” bones in my body. On a scale of swell to swole, these proggy French funnymen are decidedly swell-diddly-umptious. Not only have they provided a boy-band-meets-bowling-league cover art for our supreme enjoyment, but also they have adorned their merch page for Ouh La La with silly posters, silly shirts, and reasonable prices. You can even send them your own shirt (or turtleneck or polo) that they will gladly screen print for you. Perhaps for this third outing, Tranzat has finally coordinated with a highly supportive label.” Prep-core.

Mares of Thrace – The Exile Review

Mares of Thrace – The Exile Review

“Well, this came as a surprise. Shame on me for not paying closer attention to social media, but local duo Mares of Thrace have suddenly returned after a ten year hiatus with their third album, aptly titled The Exile. 2012’s The Pilgrimage was one of the first extreme metal albums I bought and liked, and then Thérèse Lanz and Stef MacKichan disappeared. Turns out they simply moved on with real life, but Lanz is back, accompanied this time around by Casey Rogers on drums and bass. For those unfamiliar with the band, they play a unique brand of metal that borrows from doom, sludge, prog, noise, and a bit more, and for two people they pack a massive punch.” Return of the Mares.

Meshuggah – Immutable Review

Meshuggah – Immutable Review

Meshuggah is often accused of failing to evolve or change. That accusation is misplaced. While it’s certainly true that their unique style means it requires just one guitar line from Fredrik Thordendal or a single snarl from Kidman to know it’s Meshuggah, exactly how they’ve deployed that has changed subtly from record to record. Immutable picks up where The Violent Sleep of Reason left off, feeling freer than Meshuggah‘s precise technicality has sounded in many a year.” Immutable, inflexible, inshuggahable.

Without Waves – Comedian Review

Without Waves – Comedian Review

“Cover art can be make or break. Despite that old axiom, I do indeed judge a book by its often horrific cover. I tend to avoid the intentionally bad (looking at you, Voivod‘s Target Earth) and the unabashedly anatomical (I’ve already seen The Reek of Putrefaction, thank you very much.) However, there’s plenty of room between the two extremes to play, and you can always count on a few quality covers lurking around the primeval AMG promo sump; the kind that just begs for a spin or three. Such was the case with Comedian, the latest from Chicago-based progressive metalers Without Waves. Their fortuitous choice to immortalize a moment in the life of one very unlucky flamingo has earned them one whole review.” Flightless.

Messa – Close Review

Messa – Close Review

“Three albums into their career and few bands are as enigmatic and interesting as Messa. Starting life as a progressive doom act, Messa always played fast and loose with genres and styles, layering doom, sludge, ambient, and cabaret jazz influences in the madman’s lasagna and adroitly blending spices to make something captivating and otherworldly. On third album Close, the ambient elements have faded away but the doom-meets-cabaret-meets-whatever style is still present, with the overall sound ending up more expansive and airy.” Up Close and personal.

Haunted Shores – Void Review

Haunted Shores – Void Review

“Washington, D.C. progressive instrumental duo Haunted Shores returns after a seven-year absence with second full-length, Void. This is the follow-up to 2015 EP, Viscera, and 2011’s self-titled debut album. Haunted Shores members Mark Holcomb and Misha Mansoor are better known as members of Periphery, where both handle guitars and Mansoor is also responsible for programming, synthesizers, orchestration and drums. And once you know that, you can’t unhear Periphery in what the duo turn out.” Crawling eyes and void fanciers.

Guild of Others – Guild of Others Review

Guild of Others – Guild of Others Review

“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 to last.

Tersivel – To the Orphic Void Review

Tersivel – To the Orphic Void Review

“Few bands in metal have the combination of popularity and totally idiosyncratic sound that Gojira enjoys. The first time I saw the band perform, it was still playing support for Fear Factory; nowadays that’s hard to imagine, and would most likely be the other way around. On top of that, its style is instantly recognizable; mechanistic, multi-stage, palm-muted riffs full of syncopation and odd time signatures combined with complex drum fills and patterns. It’s so readily familiar, in fact, that the band have begun to sound like a flanderized version of itself, and any band taking inspiration from the Frenchies is bound to run into copycat accusations. That didn’t stop Tersivel from trying anyway.” Ape the best, ignore the rest.

Heavy Meta – Mana Regmata Review

Heavy Meta – Mana Regmata Review

“Don’t get your hopes up, ye of heavy metal’s golden years. Heavy Meta is nearly everything you hate about today’s extreme music. Mathcore, black metal, noise rock, and prog all have a hand in this monstrosity, and if there is an inkling of distaste for any of these styles, Mana Regmata might need to come with a side of aspirin. Featuring a tongue-in-cheek moniker that you could proudly proclaim at any party, it’s a group that only jokingly defines itself as “blackened progressive cowboy nintendocore.”” Meta health.