Reviews roundup – Stick Men vs. Jonas Lindberg & The Other Side vs. Holly Hyatt & Jon Burden vs. Adoration Destroyed vs. Moving Structures
Prog rock time and the trio that comprise Stick Men certainly have some pedigree with Tony Levin, Markus Reuter and Pat Mastelotto well known in prog circles, especially in the world of King Crimson.
And it’s King Crimson fans that will probably take to this the most, particularly during the instrumental passages when Levin, Reuter and Mastoletto really take flight. For sure I’m not the biggest fan of the vocals but the music more than makes up for it. It’s definitely an album of two halfs with the vocal tracks and the instrumentals separated which does make for a slightly odd listening experience.
It’s the sound of three master instrumentalists really having a good time, playing the music they want to, and fans of modern prog should really make sure they hear this. There is nothing quite like a band that really clicks, kicking out the jams together on album highlights like “Plutonium”, “The Tempest” and “Embracing The Sun”.
It’s adventurous, spirited and highly recommended.
JONAS LINDBERG & THE OTHER SIDE
Swedish prog time now with Jonas Lindberg & The Other Side. It’s his third release and sees him moving on from his earlier, more mellow sounds, into a slightly tougher form of progressive rock. And it’s good.
It’s still melodic progressive rock but with a lot more guitar than in the early days ending with a sound that fans of fellow Swedes, Flower Kings, will approve of. Although, to be fair, the opening solo flute intro might scare them off before the album proper kicks in.
There is still a lot of good keyboard sounds around, both synths and Hammond, with songs like “Lost” really benefiting from the strong arrangements. The instrumental “Zenith” is also a real highlight as is the Pink Floydian “Closer To The Sun”.
It’s a truly excellent album of melodic prog which fans of modern prog should definitely be having a listen to.
HOLLY HYATT & JON BURDEN
Shufflin’ The Blues
Flood Plane Records
Off to the Canadian colonies and the third album from Holly Hyatt And Jon Burden who are that most unusual of things. A father / daughter blues duo, although this live release sees them joined by Marvin Walker on drums and percussion. And it’s an enjoyable listen.
It’s a fine mix of originals and covers which starts off with a sprightly version of Muddy Waters’ “Blow Wind Blow” whichs highlights the vocals of Holly and the soloing prowess of Jon. Although they do take alternate lead on vocals, it’s the singing of Holly that really catches the ear. Then it’s off into some Memphis Slim before the first original song appears.
There are also some excellent takes on material by Robert Johnson and Nick Gravenites with “Black Crow” probably the best of their own songs. The guitar work of Burden is exemplary throughout and it’s an album for blues lovers of all descriptions.
Do you fancy some elecronic industrial goth? Of course you do. And who better to get your eyeline all smudged with joy than Adoration Destroyed.
They certainly marry the various aspects of their music in fine style as they bang through some quality songs like lead off single “Carnal Dirge” which is a proper name for a tune of this ilk. They’ve merged their eighties and nineties influences well with some strong vocals and some great trance like bass lines.
Their own material such as “Here To Bleed”, “Last” and “In Elegant Decay” are top quality and they even manage to bring a new slant to a cover of the Marilyn Manson song “Coma White”. The two, closing, remixes seem a tad irrelevant but for fans of darkwave, EDM and industrial goth this is an album with a lot ot offer.
More prog now, but with a post rock twist from Los Angeles, California. ‘Awake’ is their debut album, one which is, apparently, a concept album which begins with a burial at sea and ends with an ascension into a higher being. The album tells the story through the perspective of the one being buried, and the listener is musically guided through the emotions and memories of the subject as the coffin descends to the bottom of the deepest part of the ocean. So now you know.
It certainly explains the Tool meets Pink Floyd vibe which is matched by the musical expertise on offer. The record is chock full of complex arranges, challenging time signatures and music which makes for a challenging listen.
But fans of modern prog will find it worth the effort to persevere through numbers like “Becoming The Executioner”, “The Last Of Light & Love” and “Apotheosis”. Mind though, it is an instrumental album so bear that in mind before taking the plunge.