It has been quite some time since my last post, and with my current schedule it has been difficult to make room for writing among the other things that are currently occupying my time. But nevertheless, to say many things are happening in progressive music would be an understatement. Loads of great releases have been happening in just these last two to three months.
Dethroned & Uncrowned by Katatonia, Ninth of May‘s self titled debut, Puls by Port Noir, Lux by Gemini Syndrome, Blacklistt‘s self-titled album, Infinitas by Circles, Dayshell and Emergent‘s self-titled debuts, With Wings by Knave and what ended up being possibly the most surprising album for me this year and a personal favorite, The Tide, the Thief & River’s End by Caligula’s Horse.
Also recently, Dan Tomkins (Skyharbor, Absent Hearts, ex-TesseracT) released a new album under one of his many side projects, White Moth Black Butterfly. The album is much nearer to his work with Absent Hearts… A melodic, ambient wave of sound that will leave even the greatest of metal fans in an ethereal daze. And just a few days from now (November 22nd) another release will be happening. It is one I have been looking forward to for quite some time now – an EP titled Cognitive Dissonance by Glass Empire.
Of course among the list of new albums, there are many bands also releasing singles which only increases the hype of new music for 2014 or possibly even later this year. This would include bands such as Guards of May with “Numbers,” Mercury Sky with “Victim to the Sea,” Forever the Optimist with “Revolutions,” Head Filled Attraction with “Kom Ombo,” The Isolation Process (featuring ex-Lingua members) with “A Simple Gesture” and a new album set for December 12th, Opus of a Machine with “Parallels,” The Hungry Mile with “The Heretic,” etc.
Many of the singles listed were released in conjunction with music videos, but another recent release has come from Socionic with a second stunning music video from their Identity EP; this time for the track “Epiphany.” And for even more news, Broken Iris has released an audiobook/novel which is an extension of their debut release, The Eyes of Tomorrow.
Just when I thought 2013 couldn’t get any better, the ex-Rishloo members who had created a fan-funded project called The Ghost Apparatus (due to the unsettling departure of vocalist, Andrew Mailloux) announced the return of Andrew and the rejoining of Rishloo!
That is only what has already been released! So much more is in store for the next year and by too many bands to even list in one article. I can hardly even keep track anymore. But to give just a few more I’m looking forward to, Carthasy has a full length release on the way, Saturate have announced new material for 2014, but unfortunately they have parted ways with lead singer, J. Miller. They are currently searching for a replacement (my vote is that they get ahold of Darroh Sudderth since he is no longer busy for Fair to Midland).
I believe Divine Ratio have announced a new EP or something of that nature for 2014, Thrones by Basick Record‘s Alaya is sure to be released in the near future, Pinwheel posted “Fear not, new music in the works!!! 2014 has a lot in store!!!,” and Malrun has been working on their third album, in the midst of the unfortunate break-up of vocalist, Jacob Løbner’s, other band Boil. Ursa has had new songs in the works now for a while, Order of Voices and Empty Yard Experiment have been recording, Stealing Axion are near their goal for a fan-funded album, one of my favorite female-fronted bands, Antonamasia, have officially announced new material for 2014, and let’s not forget Bill Sanchez and Jason Broussard‘s new project, Tranzhumanist, who will be releasing their debut EP (wrote an article about them that you can view HERE).
Sounds of Sirus have also announced their second release is close to ready, although it was completely shocking news to find out their incredible singer, Josh Day, had passed away. My humblest condolences to everyone in the band or close to Josh. His voice, ideas, and passion will always be with us in such an inspiring way.
While not all bands have made much open discussion about their recent studio work, some have dropped small hints or informal estimates, and others I just hope to hear new content from in 2014. These include groups such as Breaking Orbit, Chaos Divine, In the Silence, Jurojin, Kaura, Socionic, Skyharbor, Surrender the Sun, etc.
Finally, let’s not forget some of the legends. The Occupants, which features the Gower duo from Cog, has been working on brand new tunes, as well as Lesser Key – a band which includes Tool’s founding bassist, Paul D’Amour (who also has another project called Feersum Ennjin which is very worth checking out) and is signed to Sumerian Records. Last but not least, I don’t mind the lengthy gap and don’t want a new album until the guys think it’s ready, but I certainly still have my fingers crossed that Mr. Keenan will make his way into the studio to track some vocals so that Tool will finally be able to release their fifth LP. I’m sure there are bands that I forgot to mention there, and I will add more as I think of them. But this next year is sounding more exciting by the minute, wouldn’t you say?
Although I’d love to keep writing individual articles for each band that I follow, it has proven to be a very time-consuming endeavor. Not to say it will never happen in the future… I’d love to dedicate paragraphs to each band that keeps me going day after day, but 2013 is quickly wrapping up and there is so much going on, both in my life and progressive rock/metal, that I thought this summary would be the best way to highlight everything rather than separated articles/reviews. I sincerely hope everyone has enjoyed the new music this year as much as I have and I am always willing to discuss music, whether in the comments below or on a more personal level via Facebook, Twitter, etc. My info is in the Page Info section of The Undertow.
As far as the rest of this year goes, I will probably try to get out at least two more articles (hopefully more) by the end of 2013. I have just added a few new bands to my list on the Tool: For the Fans – Part II & Helpless and Awake in the Undertow articles. If you are not familiar, they started out as lists of bands I enjoy who have a similar sound or have found inspiration in Tool. Over time the list has progressed from solely Tool-inspired bands into a list of my favorite bands, many of which I have just recently discovered. Although the list has become quite extensive there are some bands who I have not added simply because they have so little in common with Tool.
It is for that reason that my next list will be dedicated to a heavier genre of music. Recently I have become more and more intrigued by progressive metal and djent. Of course the word “djent” stirs countless controversies as to what its definition is, whether it’s a genre or not, etc. To tell you the truth, I only have seen mixed ideas as to what “djent” actually refers to after reading definitions and arguments in the comments on various YouTube videos. But overall, I am not that concerned with specific genres/sub-genres of music or arguing about what is what. I use djent merely to categorize a unique, innovative style of music that has roots or elements of progressive metal, and that is partially due to the perception I have gotten from seeing the word used in other contexts. Hopefully other fans of this music will be able to see past whether I’m using the word correctly or incorrectly and just focus on our similarity in taste.
After that, and more toward Christmas, I plan on writing about my favorite albums of 2013. It will include releases such as Altered State by TesseracT, The Catalyst Fire by Dead Letter Circus, Infinitas by Circles, Lux by Gemini Syndrome, Nothing More‘s self-titled sophomore release, and of course as I mentioned earlier The Tide, the Thief & River’s End by Caligula’s Horse.
I am also hoping that Puls by Port Noir will be on the list, but I am still patiently waiting for either a US release of the album or a release that ships internationally so I can buy it (I am picky about buying music digitally unless I absolutely have to). But from what I’ve heard from the album so far, they sound like an incredibly refreshing up-and-coming band, and I very much look forward to hearing Puls all the way through.
Well, this has certainly been one of my lengthier articles, but as always, I hope that all the heavy progressive listeners out there are able to find at least one piece of worthwhile info from my writing. Until next time!