Ghost Toast – “Out of This World”

ghost-toastI can’t recall the last time that I ran across an album so wildly inconsistent as “Out of This World” by Ghost Toast. Before getting into that, I need to point out how terrible the band’s name is. Are we actually out of good names? I mean Ghost Toast is really bad.

Ok back to the album. “Out of This World” starts off SOOOOO great with the first two tracks, “Ka Mai” and “Gordius.” Both songs have KILLER riffs, time changes here and there and just sound great overall. Each time I have listened to the album, I think “wow, this is going to get a great review!” Yes I think that even though I’ve heard the whole thing a few times. That’s how great these two songs are.

Sadly, the euphoria ends after those two tracks. That’s not to say there are some good moments after that. Basically, “Out of This World” is like having multiple bands on one album. I don’t mind bands that switch it up a little, track to track, but things get real confusing real fast!

“Alia” is a soft, ambient song with REALLY loud whispers that are so loud, I have to turn down the volume so that I can’t hear the music that well. Add in that the music never goes anywhere, the track is nearly unlistenable for me. “The Dragon’s Tail” is a heavily orchestrated, soundtrack-like song complete with some dude yelling like he is Spartacus. I have no clue why the song is on the album either.

OK so by this point, I am wondering if I have tracks from different bands by mistake. “Minotaur” actually attempts to merge the ambient side with the sound on the first two tracks. The problem is that the song doesn’t kick in until the mid point and the ambient intro goes on too long for me.

“Kaia” and “Ishvara” are similar tracks, also different from the rest of the album. Each have a Middle Eastern/Far Eastern vibe with female vocals. Did I mention that Ghost Toast is an instrumental band from Hungary? They are. I’d expect songs like this from My Sleeping Karma on a bad day. “Last Man” sounds like OSI but only if the samples are too loud and too often. That tends to be an issue. The mix pushes any vocal (sample or human) too far up in the mix.

“Pawn of Fate” is more like the first two tracks, though shorter. It does wind down nicely and would have made a great closing track if the entire middle of the album hadn’t gone in so many directions. It’s a shame that the band seem to have to do so many things on one album. Maybe listeners will be into the “experimental” nature of this. For me, it’s more akin to general confusion than actual experimentation.

Rating: 6.5/10 (first two songs get a perfect score)

1. Ka Mai
2. Gordius
3. Alia
4. The Dragon’s Tail
5. Minotaur
6. Kaia
7. Last Man
8. Ishvara
9. Pawn of Fate

Label: Inverse Records

Website: http://www.ghosttoast.hu
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/ghosttoastband
Bandcamp: http://ghosttoastband.bandcamp.com

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The Enid – “Resurgency”

enidThe Enid have been around a very long time. Despite that, I actually have never really gotten around to listen to them. So going into this review, I had a bit of a quandary. Do I go back and familiarize myself? Since this new album isn’t exactly “new” and more importantly, since this lineup is made up of members who only date back to 2007, this is really a new band. It reminds me a bit of where the band Gong is at. Since I loved the new Gong album and treated it as a separate entity, I thought I would do that with “Resurgency.”

“Resurgency” is made up of re-worked versions of songs from the last 3 albums by the Enid. Musically I did enjoy most of the tracks, some more than others. The main problem through out the album is that the vocals are VERY weak. So much so that the band chose to use a vocoder a LOT which may have been an effort to mask said weak vocals. Sadly it just made it harder to listen to.

I don’t actually mind the use of a vocoder if used sparingly. Back when Cynic used it on the album “Focus,” I thought it was over used and that classic album did suffer to me because of it. The arrangements are slightly heavy on “Resurgency” but since The Enid are not a heavy band, it seems really odd to me. I do respect that the three current members (Jason Ducker, Dominic Tofield and Zach Bullock) want to point the direction for the future, I’m just not convinced that it’s a good direction.

As someone as I said who never followed The Enid, I guess I don’t have a big stake in the success of this album. But as someone who might have used this album to explore the band’s vast back catalog, this really doesn’t convince me that I should bother. In reading the band’s bio, perhaps they might have either convinced vocalist Joe Payne to stay or replaced him with a formal frontman. But that didn’t happen.

I assume the trio have the support of past members of The Enid so I do wish them the best of luck in keeping the band’s legacy alive. I think they didn’t exactly do the band any favors by reworking old songs with weak vocals and questionable arrangements. Perhaps recording fresh, new music with a new singer would have been more interesting.

Rating: 4/10

Tracklist:

1. Reborn in the Fire
2. Space Surfing
3. Malacandra
4. Leviticus
5. Terra Firma
6. Who Created Me
7. Witch Hunt
8. Someone Shall Rise for you
9. Shiva

Website: www.theenid.co.uk

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Fervent Send – “(C:)rePROGram”

rePROGramJon DuBose is the mastermind behind the prog collective known as Fervent Send. Jon is also a very good friend of mine. Now before you say, “no way can Rob be honest when reviewing his friends’ music,” let me point out a few examples. I didn’t exactly give a glowing review to Imminent Sonic Destruction’s last album. Tony is a good friend but I was very honest. I am guessing their keyboardist won’t be sending me a birthday card.

While I loved “Mantiis” by Obsidian Kingdom (who I am friends with), I really disliked their last album “A Year With No Summer.” In fact, I haven’t really heard from the band since then. So while it might be easier for me to just shit out a fake positive review, it’s just not how I am wired. So when Jon asked me to check out “(C:)rePROGram,” I was hoping for the best.

The first thing you need to know is that Jon is fearless when it comes to his music. There isn’t anything he won’t consider or attempt. Also, he really makes sure he has the right people to carry out whatever insane mission he is looking to embark on. Those factors alone make his music worth listening to. The upside is that most times these experiments work out. I said “most.”

The album opens with the rumbling “Think Minds Alike” which, like other tracks on “(C:)rePROGram,” owes a bit to krautrock. It’s a very cool song and the arrangement and instrument selection fit it well. Also, it doesn’t overstay its welcome. The strange flutes at the end make sure you know it’s Fervent Send. “Ancient Ghost Tribe” is a pulsating number with Jon riding the bass line along side percussionist Lobsang Kedrub, who seems to be a Jamie Muir fan. Nothing wrong with that. It’s another prime example of modern krautrock.”

“Gargoyle in the Grotto” gives guitarist Kevin Webb a chance to showcase some dissonant chords and shape shifting notes. It’s about as direct as Fervent Send can get. “Yaaht Hitar” has some shouted vocals from Jon and my advice to him is to never do that again. It’s as if he knew I’d hear this album and wanted to make sure I was paying attention. He knows damn well I’d hate that. Luckily, it’s the shortest song and I won’t take off too much for it.

The album closer is the 12 plus minute “Whale Bone Eyes” which features another friend of mine Jason Rubenstein on mellotron. Claudio Simone’s flute is very much a key to the success of this track and it’s as close to “traditional” prog as Fervent Send get. It feels like 70s Crimson running into 2000s Crimson in a bar and jamming it out. This one is definitely my favorite track of the album.

The think that always gets me is the vision that it takes to create something like “(C:)rePROGram” because this more akin to art than your average piece of music. So overall yes I do really like this one with a minor exception. Who the hell knows what’s next from Jon or Fervent Send? My guess is that he has no idea. If you like a good and fun challenge, check out this album and don’t pay a dime on Bandcamp. That’s the way Jon wants it.

Rating: 8/10

Tracklist:
1. Think Minds Alike
2. Ancient Ghost Tribe
3. Gargoyle in the Grotto
4. Yaaht Hitar
5. Whale Bone Eyes

Bandcamp: ferventsend.bandcamp.com/album/c-reprogram

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Textures announce breakup and farewell tour

image007Photo Credit: Tim Tronckoe

Another sad day in the history of heavy music: Dutch polyrhythmic metallers TEXTURES have today announced their breakup.
Read the band’s full statement below:

“Ladies and gentlemen,

there is no easy way to say this, so here it is: TEXTURES comes to an end.

Personal motives have led to this decision and it has not been made in haste. These personal reasons made it harder to be the productive band TEXTURES always has been in the past and which this band needs to be. Without this dedication TEXTURES would merely be a shell of what it used to be.

Break-ups are never easy and always bring difficulties. Unfortunately we have to announce that our anticipated 6th album ‘Genotype’ will not be released and so there will be no double album. At least not for the coming years…

The breakup of TEXTURES doesn’t mean that there is any hardship within the band. We still have a strong connection with current and former members and this decision won’t lead to any tensions whatsoever. Furthermore the individual band members will continue to make music and pursue new musical endeavours. Keep your eyes and ears open…

Thanks to all the friends, fellow musicians and other colleagues we have had the pleasure to meet along the way. And of course special thanks to all the fans who have supported us throughout the years. It is your dedication, appreciation and continued presence at our shows all over the world that made this journey one to remember for a lifetime.

We hope to see you all very soon on our farewell tour.

TEXTURES – OUT”

But before the band’s story comes to an end, TEXTURES will play a series of farewell shows later this year, which includes 4 UK/IRE shows.
Catch the Dutchmen live for the final time.

UK/IRE tickets will go on sale Friday 19th May @ 10.00am.

‘A Farewell to Textures Tour 2017’

w/ EXIVIOUS*
3rd Nov – NL, Zoetermeer, Boerderij*
4th Nov – NL, Utrecht, De Helling*
8th Nov – FR, Paris, Backstage BTM*
9th Nov – FR, Toulouse, Connexion Live*
10th Nov – ES, Madrid, Caracol*
11th Nov – ES, Barcelona, Apolo 2*
12th Nov – FR, Lyon, CCO*
15th Nov – UK , Manchester, Rebellion
16th Nov – IRE, Dublin, Voodoo Lounge
17th Nov – UK, Glasgow, G2
18th Nov – UK, London, Underworld
23rd Nov – DE, Hamburg, Hafenklang
24th Nov – DE, Berlin, Musik & Frieden
25th Nov – CZ, Prague, Futurum
26th Nov – A, Vienna, Chelsea
2nd Dec – NL, Tilburg, 013*

More TEXTURES dates:
9th Jun – NL, Middelburg, De Spot (w/ EXTREMITIES, EXIST IMMORTAL)
16th Jun – FR, Clisson, Hellfest
12th Aug – NL, Leeuwarden, Into the Grave
18th -20th Aug – NL, Deest, Festival Zeeltje
23rd Sept – NL, Nijverdal, Tattoofest
29thSept-1stOct – DE, Cologne, Euroblast

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Djam Karet – “Sonic Celluloid”

a0346140022_2There are bands that have been around for a while that I’ve always meant to check out but for whatever reason, just keep forgetting to do so. Djam Karet was one of those bands. I checked out their 2013 single track 47 minute long album “The Trip” and I did enjoy it. But there’s A LOT more to Djam Karet than that. The band has been around since 1984 and have all the original members aboard once again for their new album “Sonic Celluloid.”

The album title is VERY accurate because the tracks all paint mental pictures in your mind. The key to it is to have an open mind going in. Some of the tracks work better than others for me personally. “Oceanside Exterior” is particular beautiful and takes me somewhere I’d rather be. On the flip side, “Numerous Mechanical Circles” feels cold and stale plus the spoken word doesn’t work for me (when does it, right?).

Gayle Ellett still has a great ear for melody and for arrangement. “Flashback” reminds me a little of Goblin with the mellotrons and awesome guitar line. While drummer Chuck Oken, Jr. does use sequencing a lot, for the most part it works and does fit the song. The album as a whole takes a bit to fully sink in which is a good thing!

I am really glad to finally be on the path to check out more from Djam Karet. They are certainly one of America’s true hidden talents. You can tell by listening to “Sonic Celluloid” that it’s all about the music with this band. “Sonic Celluloid” is a fierce exploration into the nether regions of your aural imagination. Strap yourselves in.

Rating: 8.5/10

Tracklist:
1. Saul Says So
2. Forced Perspective
3. Long Shot
4. No Narration Needed
5. Numerous Mechanical Circles
6. Oceanside Exterior
7. Au Revoir Au Rêve
8. Flashback
9. Lower
10. The Denouement Device

Website: www.djamkaret.com
Bandcamp: djamkaret.bandcamp.com/album/sonic-celluloid

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Steven Wilson announces “To the Bone” album and tour

to the bone

 

Here’s the official press release:

Steven Wilson has announced details of To The Bone – his expansive, brilliant fifth album – and a major 2018 UK tour including a return to one of the country’s most iconic venues, the Royal Albert Hall. Pre-order the album here.

 

A gloriously dynamic modernist pop record as imagined by the UK’s biggest underground artist,

To The Bone is released August 18th via Caroline International on CD / 2 x 12” / Blu-Ray / super deluxe box set and all digital platforms.

 

Fusing driving futurist rock and spectral electronics to elegiac hyper-space ambience and dizzying, squalling guitars, To The Bone is Steven Wilson’s hat-tip to the hugely ambitious progressive pop records of his youth (think Peter Gabriel’s So, Talk Talk’s Colour of Spring, Tears for Fears Seeds of Love).

 

Lyrically, the album’s eleven tracks veer from the paranoid chaos of the post-truth era and the creeping self-loathing of the technology age to steely fly-on-the-wall observations of the everyday lives of religious fundamentalists with a welcome shot or two of wide-eyed escapism. Sonically and melodically stunning, To The Bone is a high definition snapshot of the disconcerting times we live in.

 

The follow up to 2015’s Hand. Cannot. Erase. (“a smart, soulful and immersive work of art” the Guardian 5*), To The Bone is Steven Wilson’s first album since signing with Caroline International (Iggy Pop, Underworld, Thurston Moore, Glass Animals). Formerly the founder and mainstay of outsider rock band Porcupine Tree, Steven released his first record under his own name – Insurgentes – in 2008. He has been resolutely independent throughout a three-decade career that’s made him the most successful British artist you’ve never heard of.

 

Steven Wilson has announced details of a huge global tour that takes in over one hundred shows across all five continents including a 25 date US tour that sees him return to the renowned Beacon Theatre, NY after last year’s sell out there. His European dates are:

Wed 31st Jan              Portugal, Lisbon, Sala Tejo at the MEO Arena

Thu 1st Feb                Spain, Madrid, Wiznik Centre

Sat 3rd Feb                  Spain, Barcelona, L’Auditori

Sun 4th Feb                France, Marseille, Silo

Tue 6th Feb                France, Lyon, Le Transbordeur

Wed 7th Feb               Switzerland, Zurich, Halle 622

Fri 9th Feb                  Italy, Milan, Teatro Degli Arcimboldi

Sat 10th Feb               Italy, Rome, Atlantico

Mon 12th Feb             Germany, Frankfurt, Alte Oper

Tue 13th Feb              Germany, Ravensburg, Oberachwabenhalle

Wed 14th Feb             Austria, Vienna, Gasometer

Thu 15th Feb              Germany, Berlin, Admiralpalast

Sat 17th Feb               Poland, Zabrze, House of Music and Dance

Sun 18th Feb              Poland, Poznan, Earth Hall

Tue 20th Feb              Germany, Hamburg, Mehr Theatre

Sat 24th Feb              Finland, Helsinki, The Circus

Mon 26th Feb             Sweden, Stockholm, Cirkus

Tue 27th Feb              Norway, Oslo, Oslo Concert House

Wed 28th Feb             Norway, Bergen, USF Verftet

Thu 1st Mar                Norway, Stavanger, Konserthuset – Zetlitz

Sat 3rd Mar                Denmark, Copenhagen, Vega Main Hall

Mon 5th Mar               Germany, Essen, Colosseum

Wed 7th Mar             The Netherlands, Amsterdam, Heineken Music Hall

Fri 9th Mar                  Belgium, Brussels, AB

Sat 10th Mar               Luxembourg, Rockhal Club

Mon 12th Mar           France, Paris, The Olympia

Tue 13th Mar            France, Lille, Theatre Sebastopol

Sat 17th Mar             Belfast Mandela Hall

Mon 19th Mar           Dublin Olympia Theatre

Wed 21st Mar           Cardiff St David’s Hall

Thu 22nd Mar           Birmingham Symphony Hall

Sat 24th Mar              Glasgow Clyde Auditorium

Sun 25th Mar             Gateshead Sage 1

Tue 27th Mar             London Royal Albert Hall

Sat 31st Mar             Manchester Bridgewater Hall

Tickets for the UK tour are on sale from 10am Friday 12th May (with a fan only pre-sale on Wednesday 10th May).

To The Bone tracklisting:

  1. To The Bone
  2. Nowhere Now
  3. Pariah
  4. The Same Asylum As Before
  5. Refuge
  6. Permanating
  7. Blank Tapes
  8. People Who Eat Darkness
  9. Song of I
  10. Detonation
  11. Song of Unborn

 

The super deluxe box set features the album, a CD of outtakes and demos, a Blu Ray, a DVD, a fully illustrated book and a one-sided 7” single featuring non-album track.

 

Steven Wilson website / online shop / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram/ Spotify complete discography

Posted in art rock, pop rock, progressive rock | Tagged | 2 Comments