Profile: Simon Ohlsson of Progress-edelic Metallers Vokonis

Vokonis

Progressive and psychedelic (hence progress-edelic), in metal, can mean varied results that most often lean towards too much effort and not enough payoff, but in the case of Vokonis’ third full length Grasping Time, it means a band that is forward thinking AND top of the class in these particular styles. The album effortlessly meanders between the sensibilities of Ufomammut and the heft of Khemmis without ever being a copy of either on this 45 minutes of sheer bliss – seriously, this album is great and the band finally has a clear and unique identity. On top of that, Grasping Time is their best and tightest effort yet; the songwriting is better and never falls flat, the riffs are huge, the melodies are addictive, and the vocals are pristine with exceptional range. Just ahead of the album’s release we reached out with our set of Profile questions to get the backstory and Simon Ohlsson (guitars, vocals) responded, so head directly below to see how it went down and DO NOT miss this opportunity to grab a copy for yourself – links contained within. Continue reading

Profile: Jason Braatz of Tech-Proggers Freighter

Freighter

Batshit crazy is one way to describe the tech/prog/core explosion of Freighter’s second effort The Den. But, that would completely understate just how cohesive the colorful vocals, slamming riffs, and complex songsmithery are as a whole across these eight tracks. I am fully aware that cohesive and crazy normally wouldn’t share the same space but take the complex grindesque feel of “Presto Change-O” and follow it with the insane melody (and horns!) of “Hot Car Death Dad” and those two descriptors make complete sense. We recently had the chance to ask co-founder and bassist Jason Braatz our set of Profile questions in an effort to peer behind the scenes of Freighter so head below to get the scoop and don’t forget to open your mind and snag a copy from the links contained within. Continue reading

Album Review: Howling Sycamore – “Seven Pathways to Annihilation”

Howling Sycamore - Seven Pathways to Annihilation

Whenever someone mentions the term supergroup, I can’t help but think of massive ones, like Ayreon or Avantasia, and the way they are able to create stories while incorporating a revolving door of vocalists and musicians that play major parts as characters. However, supergroups don’t need a huge group of people to be considered as such, which brings us to the band Howling Sycamore, whose members have various degrees of expertise across the metal spectrum, making this one of the more ambitious groups I’ve encountered. But, that doesn’t mean that Seven Pathways to Annihilation works like a total charm. Continue reading

The Path to Paradise Begins in Hell – Progressive Metal

The Path to Paradise Begins In Hell

It’s been a while since I wrote one of these, despite writing about numerous other things and being on the Nine Circles Audio Thing. Blame grad school – I am stuck in this hellhole to further new opportunities, so I am hoping things pan out. Otherwise, I will be so mad. Luckily, I am free (for now!), so here we are!

Anyway, last time, I discussed gothic metal and my appreciation of the aesthetic as a whole. I consider that genre to be the darker side of symphonic metal; instead of the beautiful fairy queen, you get the belle dame sans merci who will make you suffer for your desires. I also wanted to address something that I thought of before we jump into the next genre – if you think about it, there are more men involved in gothic metal than in symphonic metal. Granted, the genres overlap, but men rarely take the spotlight in symphonic metal. Maybe some of you can tell me why?

Now, we can start talking about a genre that is known to be experimental in nature, albeit not avant-garde (I might write about avant-garde at some point). Given our recent discussion of Empath (see podcast), it’s only fair that we look at how this genre has become a staple in my music listening and how it has expanded my horizons into other bands.

It’s time we talk about Progressive Metal. Continue reading