Prog - - The Musical Box -

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.

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