AND LAST BUT NOT LEAST
TGRANT MOON has a rummage down the back of the Prog sofa for the ones that nearly got away…
hey made their mark at 2017’s Bloodstock, they’ve supported the likes of Sikth, and Cardiff’s Malum Sky are now getting heard across south Wales and beyond. Their promising debut long player Diatribe (Sliptrick) demonstrates their clever, urgent and tightly composed brand of doomy prog metal. Fiddly and languid, The Coil shows off the chops of guitarists Jon Evans and Michael Jensen Després, and throughout their charismatic singer Ben Honebone pummels and emotes as required.
Until now Bristol trio Siblings Of Us have purveyed slightly edgy, synth-led power pop. Their compelling but uneven new EP Gargantua (Retrosynth) sees them crank up the axes, with lead vocalist Adam ‘Fonzy’ Armour’ adopting an ersatz ‘rawk’ falsetto. The Squawky Pizza Lisa and Chicago Glass Twin sound like piss-takes of The Mars Volta, but A Gang Called Wonder is all the richer for them dialling down the histrionics a tad. You’re left wondering if this is a serious stab at a new style, a gloriously meta art experiment, or just a joke you’re not in on. Maybe it’s all three.
On his self-released The Witches Of Finnmark II,
Norwegian guitarist Anders Buass continues his ‘instrumental journey based on stories about the prosecution of witches in the 16th and 17th century’. He draws on folk, neo-classical and symphonic rock forms on an epic yet restrained album with some memorable compositions underpinned by Buass’ superior musicianship. From opener Letter 1609 to the stunning 18-minute closer Cunningham, he favours tone and lyricism in the Oldfield/Gilmour mould, with only the occasional lapse into Stratsturbation.
Bassist Jan Quednau and guitarist Fabian Chmielewski are Stringmodulator, and the title of the German duo’s fascinating, accomplished album is as literal as it is proggy. Manifesto: Noises Made By Guitar And Bass (Submarine Broadcasting) comprises sounds created solely by their combined 10 strings. Cue much tonal, rhythmic and melodic experimentation alloyed by their love of kraut and electro. Betwixt And Between is like funky Fripp, Growl is Jeff Beck-esque industrial rock, and A Quiet Place is Metheny-beautiful. Gott in Himmel only knows what effects and treatments they used to craft this, but it’s a leftfield work of relentless invention and passion.
And finally, how could we resist a band billed as ‘Tool doing a tribute to Disney’s Aladdin’? Spicy Australian unit BaK bring together Indian, Middle Eastern and western metal music on their self-released debut EP Flower. It’s a shinily produced game of two halves, this. On opener Too Soon and Life & Perception Pt 1 their ethnofusion is blunt and artless enough to make Kula Shaker blush. But Life And Perception Part 2 and Dasha Hara are more nuanced, and when BaK let each cultural strand breathe they’re onto something pretty special.