One last kick at the review can for 2019, thanks to the lovely and talented Madam X. She saw fit to assign a number of late promos to us, including this potentially sweet prog-metal epic from Edmonton’s Tylor Dory Trio. The group’s debut album, Unsought Salvation, has been a long time coming. Their inaugural EP came out more than five years ago, and the band members remain the same: Jonathan Webster on drums, Slava Fedossenko on bass, and Tylor Dory on everything else. Claiming to be influenced by prog and alt-metal from the likes of Rush, Opeth, and Alice in Chains, there’s a lot of upside here. Hopefully, this 10-song, 62-minute album shows growth and maturity across the writing and performance spectrum with that much time between outings.
Dory and Webster got their start in the local extreme metal scene, and formed the Tylor Dory Trio once they found Fedossenko, the goal being to move away from extreme metal and into the realm of prog, and they certainly do so on Unsought Salvation. “The Righteous and the Rest” kicks things off with overt Dream Theater and Scale the Summit influences. The song serves to highlight the strength of the band: Tylor Dory’s guitar playing. The man is an axe wizard, and while some of his lines aren’t exactly new, he makes use of sweet tones and intricate solos throughout the album. Dory also makes use of a variety of voices when singing, from harsh growls (that don’t add anything to the songs) to soulful hard rock stylings, with his most effective style being a more hushed, breathy voice.
The highlights on Unsought Salvation are threefold. The main highlight is the epic closing track, “Cenotaph.” It’s a fourteen-minute excursion into the realms of prog metal, replete with dexterous fretboard work, a left-field solo halfway through, some interesting piano work and stellar groove, and all told a solid, full-bodied arrangement. “East of Eden” also displays strong writing/arrangement techniques, while “The Fallen Man” displays sublime electronic augmentation and a killer sense of rhythm. All three songs, as well as the moody, intriguing “Into the Maelstrom,” also highlight a pretty cool feature of the album: every song segues into the next in a logical and compelling fashion, giving us the sense of listening to one cohesive, whole suite. It’s really well done.
However, as complimentary as I can be above, the issues Tylor Dory Trio have here can be hard to overcome. The main weakness is an overall lack of skill when it comes to song arrangements. I know it’s a trio, and thus can be hard to fill all the dead spots in progressive metal songs, but having spent over thirty months recording Unsought Salvation, including Dory himself laying down keyboard and vocal tracks, the emptiness in many of the songs is glaring. Often transitions between different thematic elements of songs are stilted and awkward, like a gymnast pausing to take a breath before their next tumbling run. Experience and a seasoned producer will help with this. A more minor nitpick is the gratuitous nature of the harsh vocals, which seem to be randomly thrown in as if that’s a prerequisite for a modern prog metal release. Dory is much more effective in his quieter moments, as well as when he gets a bit heavier in Devin Townsend fashion.
If there is one word that kept coming to mind over and over while I played through Unsought Salvation, it was “potential.” Tylor Dory Trio are a group with a ton of it, showing throughout that they have the musical chops to pull off something truly remarkable. All that seems to be holding the band back right now is experience, particularly in the arrangement department. The glimpses of excellence they showcase here are enough to have me rooting for them and keeping my eye on future releases (or even live dates down here in Calgary). The album is certainly more than worth its current price on Bandcamp, so treat yourself to a band that is hopefully destined for bigger things.
DR: 6 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Websites: tylordorytrio.bandcamp.com | tylordorytrio.band | facebook.com/tylordorytrio
Releases Worldwide: December 21st, 2019