Colonist are really a breath of fresh air. It seems like many progressive bands are either obsessed with being complex or heavy or BOTH! Colonist walk the fine line between progressive rock and progressive metal much the way that Rush has done. In fact, they remind me a lot of Rush musically. I don’t mean they ever copy Rush at all. But rather that they consider the song first and the riffs are very reminiscent of Rush. Imagine “Fly By Night” era Rush meets “Moving Pictures” era Rush but without ANY keyboards.
The opening track “Digital Scream” has a “Spirit of Radio” vibe. Wide open sound, the kind that makes you wanna crank the song with the windows rolled down as you drive down the highway. I like that the band always sound upbeat and rocking. Colonist certainly put the ROCK into their brand of prog rock.
The one issue on “Digital Scream” and the next 2 tracks is the scream that lead vocalist Emil Kaukonen does. He reminds me a bit of Dennis DeYoung vocally, and while these screams are possibly in tune, they really do not suit the songs or his voice for that matter. He has a very cool voice, so a scream really isn’t needed.
On the plus side, each song comes with a very cool instrumental section that highlights one or more of the band. For example, both “Across the Atom Sea” (my favorite track) and the closer “Mechanical Mind” feature bass solos from Emil Lindqvist. Each are absolutely perfect and fit the sections in each song so well. Guitarist Jasper Karhunen is a riff overlord. The guy just cranks out riff after riff. And yes, he does sound like Alex Lifeson but I think more guitarists SHOULD!!
Drummer Viktor Finnäs deserves credit for always playing the right fill at the right time and never overplaying which is usually a problem with any prog band nowadays. A band needs a drummer that can drive the songs and he does that. His work on “Mechanical Mind” is particularly stellar. He pushes the song to its climax.
“Mechanical” is a great start for Colonist and aside from the 3 unfortunate screams, this would be a perfect EP. Sure I am nitpicking but when you have a band like this that are clearly talented and SHOULD be heard, I think they should always look to improve. This is an EP makes for a nice introduction and I will be interested to see where Colonist go from here!
1. Digital Scream
2. City on the Moon
3. Rain Fire from the Sky
4. Across the Atom Sea
5. Mechanical Mind