Desperate Machines – Complet_

It was back in 2014 when in a year of striking releases, American progressive/experimental rock band In Progress left their very potent mark with the album North Atlantic Echoes. The band was the creation of Jake Rosenberg and John Dillon and with a host of guests provided one increasingly fascinating and impressive adventure few rivalled at that time in the progressive rock scene. Since then the duo has seemingly been quiet, evading attention but obviously busy as they have returned with a new project in the shape of Desperate Machines and a debut EP which in distinctly different ways has made the same rich impact on our ears and imagination.

As the three tracks making up Complet_ reveals defining the Desperate Machines sound is never going to be a precise exercise with its tapestries and soundscapes of electronic, progressive rock, industrial, atmospheric and experimental essences and textures but an adventure which will keep imaginations busy and hungry if they herald what is to come ahead.

The EP opens up with Complete and as all tracks within the EP sees Kevin Moore (Chroma Key, OSI, ex-Dream Theater) guesting on vocals as well as providing lyrics. From the shadows the song looms up, its industrial breath springing animated beats and the instantly gripping gnarly growl of Dillon’s bass. Just a rush of seconds in and already the song is a web of flavours and textures, every subsequent twist indeed almost each second the gateway into fresh styles and bold imagination as the captivating tones of Moore rise amongst the synth, keys, and guitar enterprise of Rosenberg and Dillon. The gait of the track is funky, its breath dark with a Nine Inch Nails meets Deftones-esque melancholy and every moment as infectious as it is captivating, indeed haunting.

It is an effortlessly magnetic affair but is still slightly eclipsed by the magnificent Our War. Again from the start rhythms provide a manipulative enticement, melodies caressing and adding to the increasing urging of participation from hips and feet. Alongside Moore, Marjorie Boggs Vazquez adds additional guest vocals, further radiance in the mercurial but relentlessly magnetic encounter. As with its predecessor, every moment offers a fresh surprise with each twist as unpredictable in sound and invention as it is irresistible.

The release is completed by the original demo for Plan B, the song which is said to be the spark bringing Desperate Machines to life several years ago. From an industrial underground, a piano teases the imagination with its intimacy and touch, vocals soon alongside bringing similar intimation and fascination. A hint of a scent in both previous songs, the third strongly reminds of eighties band Comsat Angels and like many of that band’s tracks had us drooling in admiration and desire for more.

Though we had not realised it at the time, there was a gap without In Progress which was waiting to be filled. Rosenberg and Dillon have returned to do not only that but occupy many other areas lacking the imagination and sound which Desperate Machines brings with them.

Complet_ is out now @ https://desperatemachines.bandcamp.com/releases

https://www.facebook.com/desperatemachines/

Pete RingMaster 08/01/2020

Copyright RingMasterReview: MyFreeCopyright

In Progress – North Atlantic Echoes

cover

Bracing, seductive, and thoroughly captivating, the sound of US progressive/experimental rock band In Progress is an absorbing evocation which works on the imagination just as potently as ears and emotions. It is a proposition impossible to pin down but easy to embrace as proven by the band’s sophomore album North Atlantic Echoes. Consisting of seven tracks which combine cinematic adventures with emotively driven moods and sultry climactic landscapes, the band’s new release leads senses and thoughts into evocative embraces, enveloping them in atmospheric caresses and imposing yet welcoming ambiences. The closest comparison which comes to mind is Scottish band North Atlantic Oscillation, an encounter the title of the album points at whether intentionally or by coincidence, though ultimately In progress crafts a presence which is distinct to them.

The New York/Los Angeles based band consists of John Dillon (vocals, guitar, bass, programming, and additional keyboards) and Jake Rosenberg (keyboards and additional programming), who take inspirations from artists such as Nine Inch Nails, Tool, Devin Townsend, Faith No More, Thrice, Ulver, Chroma Key, and OSI into their inventive explorations. Their debut album Signal Failure of 2011, which featured drummer Mark Zonder (Warlord, Fates Warning, Slavior), drew good responses from fans and media which with its release a couple of weeks ago, North Atlantic Echoes andits own special guests, most notably keyboardist Kevin Moore (ex-Dream Theater, co-founder of OSI, Chroma Key) and even more experimental and expressive designs has already started emulating.

The warm touch of Tones From a Twisting Verse opens up the immersive embrace of the album, its poetic musical tones immediately caressing senses and thoughts. Keys cast a reflective ambience around the ears, their orchestral grace and smouldering shadows an emotive colour enhanced by the vocal harmonies in flight within. Its scenery unveils within a piano narrative soon joined by the slightly monotone yet warm and melodic delivery of Dillon. The song envelops and leads the imagination into a melancholic and enchanting evocation darkly coloured by the emotional prowess of the duo and their mesmeric sound.

The following Thunderstorms is similarly dark in feel and shadows with a bright bewitching core which glows like a beacon of hope with reflective flames; it a look back to inspirational moments seemingly lost in the drifts of time. As maudlin as its predecessor in many ways, it is also a livelier lucent hug for the imagination; the excellent mellower vocals as transfixing as the inciting words it delivers and the shimmering sounds around them. The song merges dark and light with poise and glorious temptation, becoming a richer potent persuasion with each taking of its provocative account.

The intriguing nintendo-esque rhythmic coaxing of next up Chasing Ghosts, which opens up the track and persists with its kinetic smile throughout, pleasingly leaves expectations lost for words. The track is an evolving drama but an inventively reserved premise for vocals and lyrics to colour with stimulating endeavour. As its predecessors and the album as a whole, the song again grows melancholic seeds into a sonically luminous blossom, its shading and smouldering fire stoked by the additional craft of Moore, the song the first of the trio he joins the band on. Cloudburst straight after is the second. The track has a portentous air to its emergence, epically throated electro expulsions clouding the sky with imposing textures as keys flit through its mass with shards of light and mystery. Dillon is joined vocally by the sirenesque voice of Hwei Ling Ng, their vocal extremes a compelling enticement within an equally captivating climate of sound. With an additional mystique to its melodic waltz and emotional fascination, the track absorbs senses and passions with rhapsodic beauty, its presence urging thoughts at times of Nine Inch Nails and Ministry in their very early synth pop days.

Both North Atlantic and Thorn Yard engulf body and mind in glistering textures and melodic kisses, the first initially glancing across the senses with glimpses of the soon to evolve ambient pop enterprise. It is a firm first touch but feeling more of a caress as the heavier yet and equally celestial embrace of the song takes hold. Graced by the angelic harmonies of Lauren Edwards above and around Dillon and a potent sense of loss which soaks sound and lyrics, this theme common across the release in many personal and easy to relate to guises, the song is another enchantment to drift from reality within. Its climactic build to a somber last hug draws in thoughts and memories ready for its successor whose opening piano and vocal union with a rosy dramatic air to their union sparks thoughts of eighties artists Black, and though its fails to rise to the same heights of earlier songs, the unpredictable flames of effects and fiery crescendos simply enthral.

North Atlantic Echoes is an album which certainly makes a strong suasion in its first encounter but grows into something immensely epic and irresistible over time, final song Graveyard Snowfall with guest touches from again Moore and Edwards, bringing evocative hues to an already spellbinding romance of shadows and lost loves, closing up the tremendous adventure potently. As mentioned the album needs as much time as you can give to reveal the extent of its passions infecting potency but rewards with creative experimentation and emotive emprise which is quite beautiful.

You can stream the album or name your own price for the download at the following link: http://inprogressofficial.bandcamp.com/

 

https://www.facebook.com/inprogressofficial

9/10

RingMaster 03/04/2014

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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OSI – Fire Make Thunder

promo by MelissaSepanic

Returning with their fourth release the impressive project OSI of duo Jim Matheos (Fates Warning, Arch/Matheos) and Kevin Moore (Chroma Key, former Dream Theater keyboardist), have produced an album that eagerly sweeps one up within its inspired arms. Fire Make Thunder is a wonderful series of soundscapes made up of distinctly expressive and varied ingenuity that treats the senses to adventures offering calm caresses right through to high energy escapades. Thoughtful and beautifully crafted the release without making startlingly new declarations of barrier cracking enterprise is a gracefully enveloping and emotionally energising series of compositions from two of the most creative musicians and song writers in progressive rock and metal.

Formed in 2002 OSI is a musical relationship between the two members that produces fine creative music from long distance. Fire Make Thunder itself written and recorded individually by Matheos and Moore in their respective studios with ideas and the songs being sent back and forth. The album also features the returning band session drummer Gavin Harrison of Porcupine Tree who brought his contributions to the release, including co-writing one track, from his personal studio too. The album was created throughout 2011 with final mixing completed alongside engineer Matt Sepanic at Sound Farm Studio and Recording Environment and mastering handled by renowned engineer Roger Siebel. It is hard to imagine the difficulties of recording apart but as with their previous releases, Fire Make Thunder shows no sign of it being a problem, the album a seamless and perfectly flowing musical lake for the ear and senses to immerse deeply within.

Released via Metal Blade Records the album starts with its best two songs in ‘Cold Call’ and ‘Guards’. The opener starts with a sampled news report which comes in throughout the track from an EBS news report in the 70’s where reports of a nuclear attack were announced before finding out it was a false alarm. With the industrial toned consuming sounds surrounding it and the starkness and chilled ambience that builds the beginning plays like an aural version of the movie Right At Your Door. Though this was not the intention of OSI and the sample used just because it sounded good, this ominous feel is a powerful wave. Eventually it explodes into forceful riffs and intense power though throughout the song retains a restraint and glowing beauty within this bulging heavier sound, the smooth distinct vocals of Moore as expressive and gently persuasive as the melodies surrounding him. The pair has an intelligent use and touch with intense sounds and flowing ambience, merging them perfectly with neither threatening to overpower the other.

Guards’ has an electro feel throbbing within its walls, a pulsating vein that resonates between the striking guitars, hypnotic rhythms, and mesmeric vocals. The meaty riffs swagger with a confident attitude whilst the electronic spots and tender touches bedazzle like a sonic kaleidoscope throughout the song’s boastful dance with the ear. Both these songs are OSI at their height and instantly pull one into the album allowing the following songs to be more adventurous and intimate if less accessible from the off. With music that is progressive rock, metal, and simply pure rock ‘n’ roll fused into a stunning maelstrom of atmosphere and sound, Fire Make Thunder is never less than engaging and for the whole totally infectious.

Though as stated the album starts with its best songs the remaining tracks are no less impressive or satisfying. From the ambient warmth of ‘Indian Curse’ and the excellent robust metal instrumental ‘Enemy Prayer’ through to the electronic driven industrial toned strength of ‘Big Chief II’, sounding Nine Inch Nails/Deftones like and the majestic crystal radiance of ‘Invisible Men’, the album is a fully enveloping masterpiece.

Fire Make Thunder is a real and thoroughly fulfilling joy. It is unassuming yet at the same time seeks and fills every corner of the senses with stirring and pleasing sounds.  OSO have set a marker for not only progressive metal but many genres with their new album, time will tell if anyone is up to the challenge.

Ringmaster 26/03/2012

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