This is my last “review” because, as I know I’ve said, I’ve never enjoyed writing them. To me, music is about exploring for yourself and not letting people tell you what is good and what is shit. Additionally, bands,labels and reps don’t actually share my reviews anyway so I am never going to get any sort of reach on reviews. So this is not a review at all. These are 4 releases that are coming out that I have heard and that I think are worth your money.
Dutch legends Kayak has been around since the mid 70s and became more of a pop prog band as time went on. They have gone through a lot of members with only band leader Ton Scherpenzeel still remaining. The new album “Out Of This World” is basically the same lineup as the last album “Seventeen” and because of that it’s even stronger. I have a lot of Kayak albums in my collection and “Out Of This World” ranks among their best. Well balanced with quirky pop, ballads and songs that go pretty much anywhere. Kayak is a band with a rich history that more people need to be aware of.
Most people are familiar with Frost*. Jem Godfrey has kept the band together this time instead of his usual breakup/reunions of the past. “Day And Age” is the album I’ve been wanting since “Milliontown.” That’s not to say that “Falling Satellites” wasn’t great; it was. But this album is as close to the perfection achieved on that debut album. It’s melodic, it’s epic and of course the production is pristine. If you’ve liked anything by Frost*, this one is a must own. If you aren’t familiar with them, they take the whole modern prog thing to a new level, mixing classic prog ideals with a modern heavy edge. It’s fucking awesome.
VOLA are a band that caught my attention after their debut full length album “Inmazes” took off on Bandcamp. They take that Meshuggah djent thing and mash it with melody and harmonies for something that actually sounds very fresh. It also helps that these Danes write good songs. Their last album “Applause from a Distant Crowd” was good but I felt like it was a bit too soft overall. The band seemed to lose their edge. Thankfully it’s back in full force on “Witness” which other than one miscue is a great album. “These Black Claws” features a rap section that sounds completely out of place. While it sounds fine by itself, it sounds stupid within the context of the song and the album. It also sounds like they are trying way too hard to be “current.” Other than that, “Witness” is the album I wanted from VOLA.
Germany’s Sylvan should be much more well known. They remind me a lot of IQ. They are part neo-prog but have some chunk to their sound. They’ve had a long career so far with some amazing albums. It’s been a few years since their last album “Home” but finally we get “One to Zero” which sounds very familiar. That’s not a band thing. Sylvan has a sound and stick to it. Singer Marco Glühmann has one of my favorite voices and he sounds as great on “One to Zero” as ever. He’s lost nothing over the years. It’s catchy, it’s dramatic and it’s powerful. It’s Sylvan and you need to check them out in general. “One to Zero” is another great album by a great band.
Here is all the release info for these:
Kayak – “Out Of This World”
Label: InsideOut Music
Release date: 7 May 2021
Frost* – “Day And Age”
Label: InsideOut Music
Release date: 14 May 2021
VOLA – “Witness”
Label: Mascot Records
Release date: 21 May 2021
Sylvan – “One To Zero”
Label: Gentle Art Of Music
Release Date: 28 May 2021