Unified Past – Shifting The Equilibrium

Unified Past_RingMaster Review

The two years between previous album Spots and its successor Shifting The Equilibrium has taken US progressive rock band Unified Past to a new level. It is fair to say that previous offerings from the band have garnered acclaim and impressed, especially the excellent Spots but the band’s new album is a stirring adventure in songwriting, sound, and imagination which walks a new plateau. The time has also seen the trio of guitarist/keyboardist Steve Speelman, drummer Victor Tassone, and bassist Dave Mickleson expand with the addition of vocalist Phil Naro, another potent new breath to the Unified Past temptation.

Formed in 1984 by Speelman and Tassone, New York hailing Unified Past has increasingly garnered acclaim with their rich mix of sound and live presence. A sextet of albums over the years has earned the band the reputation of being one captivating and fiercely accomplished proposition, each release, as Spots to Shifting The Equilibrium, seeing sound and band grow in craft and invention, not forgetting success. Equally individual experiences has seen original band members working and playing with the likes of Chief Big Way, Belladonna, The Colin Tench Project, Oceans 5, and Reaching Ground Project. Naro too has a spicy pedigree behind him having worked with Peter Criss, Lou Gramm, Carmine Appice, Billy Sheehan, and Brian May amongst many. More impressively though is the creative and musical unity the foursome have developed; Spots impressed but Shifting The Equilibrium comes with a new roar of striking invention.

artwork_RingMaster Review The album begins with Erasure Principle, a flight of melodic exploration across a sinew woven landscape. From its first breath crystalline keys lay an inviting haze within which the guitar spins a web of sonic enticement. Straight away there is scent particular to Unified Past washing the track and the emerging tapestry of sound, a flowing fusion of seventies and eighties rock with a modern progressive imagination. Naro swiftly impresses as a new vibrancy from his voice hits the song and sound, his tones dramatic yet honed to sit perfectly with the music around him. Inspirations to Unified Past include artists such as Dream Theater, Rush, Yes; each open spices to the album but as here, primarily just adding rosy hues to the band’s own distinct endeavour.

It is a potent start to the release but soon eclipsed by the even more striking Smile (In the Face of Adversity). Keys again bring that colour of nostalgia to the expressive weave of guitar whilst vocals melodically seduce as a quickly bred drama stirs ears and appetite with an epic tone merging intimidation and fiery beauty into the diverse kaleidoscope of sound and craft shaping the outstanding track. Keys wise a whiff of The Stranglers’ Dave Greenfield adds to the perpetually blooming excitement and theatre, but as in all proposals within the album, everywhere you look and turn the quartet is creating an intricately involved, fiercely imaginative, and wholly contagious incitement.

Etched in Stone takes over next with an orchestral air to the creative intimacy of its persuasion, again the band skilled at mixing contrasting layers and depths of sound as Naro reveals the lyrical heart. The bass of Mickleson is seriously compelling, its dark grouchy tone a predacious edge to the captivating maze conjured by Speelman via guitar and keys. The further into its adventure the imagination goes the more cosmopolitan and mystical the song becomes, a middle eastern flavouring joining the endearing bait offered throughout and though it is an eleven minute flight, such its rich and busy invention, the track seems over in a flash.

It is a fascinating quality to all tracks, their meaty lengths more like fleeting moments as busy adventure grips ears from within the whole emprise of Shifting The Equilibrium, the slightly shorter Peace Remains in the World another example as its Tool meets Porcupine Tree meets Pink Floyd like tempestuous calm, hooks and seduces ears and appetite from start to finish. A carnivorous funk tempting from Mickleson especially hits the spot, its creative belligerence matched by the resourceful swings of Tassone as melodies, acidic and warm, entangle around them.

The instrumental majesty of Deviation from a Theme (of Harmonic Origin) transports the listener into an exotic labyrinth of suggestiveness and provocative sound, proving that it is not only the addition of Naro which has been a blossoming aspect to the Unified Past proposal.

The album is completed by the vast soundscape of Today is the Day, a bewitching enticing of melodic scenery and evocative textures in a constantly evolving experience for song and listener. Like a link-up between Yes and Voyager, it is an enthralling and gripping end to a mighty temptation.

It is weird to say after the length of the time that Unified Past has been around and frequently impressing so many, that Shifting The Equilibrium is a coming of age to the band’s sound but in some ways it is though. Bottom-line though is that it is a highly flavoursome and skilfully varied slice of progressive rock hard that even more are going to get a potent kick out of.

Shifting The Equilibrium is out now digitally and on CD via Melodic Revolution Records @ http://melodicrevolutionrecords.com/album/shifting-the-equilibrium

http://www.unifiedpast.com/Unified_Past  https://www.facebook.com/Unifiedpast

Pete RingMaster 24/11/2015

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Unified Past – Spots

Unified Past - Spots - by Ed Unitsky

Journeying through eleven evocative soundscapes of carefully sculpted sonic sunspots stretched over imaginative colour strewn melodic canvases, Spots the new album from US progressive rock band Unified Past is an enthralling and magnetic adventure. It is a release which leads senses and emotions by the hand into heated flights of provocative designs across triumphant landscapes, each venture a key to their and the listeners unique imaginative plays. It has to be said that personal preferences come from the metal side of progressive alchemy but Spots has little problem in lighting up the senses and emotions very successfully.

Formed in 1984by Steve Speelman ( guitars/vocals/keys) and Victor Tassone (drums), New Yorkers Unified Past has released five albums leading up to Spots over the years, each building and earning the band acclaim as well as a strong reputation in their homeland. With bassist Dave Mickleson now alongside the founding pair, the trio according to those long acquainted with the band has with this sixth album created their finest moment yet. It is hard to be dubious listening to the album and easy to see how the experience and skills of the three has honed a release which works the listener on numerous levels. The experience and pedigree of the band you can only assume is an important factor alongside the inventive heart of the band to its success; Mickleson who is also currently the bassist for Joey Belladonna’s bands Chief Big Way and Belladonna, Tassone who has recently worked on The Colin Tench Project, Andy Bradford’s Oceans 5, and John Orr Franklyn’s Reaching Ground Project, and the classically trained Speelman uniting their talents and gained know-how for something rather special with the Melodic Revolution Records released album.

A fusion of classic 70’s progressive rock with strong spices and flavours of more current melodic fires, the album opens with the eager passion and energy of Blank. From a mesmeric celestial introduction rhythms and sonic invention scramble into position before relaxing into a seventies flame of melodic rock and progressive persuasion. Keys soak the ear in a flowing ambience which lays down the platform for the guitar to twist and enflame the air with excellent thought and rich sonic hues. It is an instantly engaging mix skirted by strong mellow vocals and a rhythmic firmness veining the track. Arguably not a dramatic stealing of attention to set things off, the song nevertheless captures the imagination to seal the same fate for thoughts and emotions.

The following Deep is bred of the same seeds in many ways as its predecessor but with the sinewy bass croon and a wealth of irresistible hooks and excellent vocals from Speelman, the song winds its way into the reflective depths of thought and exploration to again engage the listener and take them on a hypnotic flame of enterprise.

The first of six instrumentals steps up next in the vibrant form of Hot. The piece is a stirring mix of progressive jazz rock which saunters along with a mischievous swagger and fun driven invention to its continually teasing presence; little touches like a slip into the classic refrains of Shortnin’ Bread and a great piano boogie like coaxing increasing the enjoyment and lure of the track. It raises the appetite further for the album which is soon rewarded with firstly Seeing and then the excellent Tough, both tracks individual temptations which evocatively stroke the ears and beyond. The first of the pair has whispers of Hawkwind and even Yes to its endeavour whilst its successor brings a sturdier metallic flair to its sultry instrumental climate, its title a potent reflection of its heart and frame.

From the sizzling embrace of Age, its breath almost folky in touch within a throaty narrative of sound lying inside a fusion best described as Rush meets Metallica with King Crimson in attendance, the album goes on a course of four instrumentals. They have a tall order to match the heights of this impressive track but the fiery weaves offered by Sun and the sweltering charm and elegance brought by Big certainly stand strong in their majestic attempts. Next up Wet does fall short though again the piece of music is a scenic descript for the imagination to submerge within whilst the short bass driven G again shows the devilry which walks within the album, its open carnality irreverent and voraciously tempting, and sure to put a smile on the face.

Spots brings a closing rising soar to the album through the passion recruiting melodic and sonic glory of The Final. Though by this point the instrumentals have admittedly stolen the show, the last song confirms the rich craft and expansive textures the band evolves throughout Spots and their songwriting. With vocals returning to bring an appealing plaintive to the unfolding musical story, the track is an absorbing pleasure bringing an enthralling experience to a lofty conclusion. Progressive metal may still be the preferred destination if given a choice but Unified Past has certainly given food for thought and a very enjoyable encounter.

http://www.unifiedpast.com/

8/10

RingMaster 18/10/2013

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Anuryzm: Worms Eye View

Photography by Ahmed Noor

Stunning, the only word suitable for Worms Eye View, the debut album from progressive metal band Anuryzm. Actually there are plenty more which can easily be applied to and fit the deeply impressive debut album from the UAE progressive metal band, all complimentary and unbridled in their acclaim.

Worms Eye View is a striking skilled tempest of creativity, each track an eclectic explosion of energy, intensity and imagination. It and the individual songs have a diversity which is seamless and perfectly structured through immense craft and all come with a passion which fires up the senses and emotions as powerfully as the sounds themselves.

The band began in 2003 with a group of college friends in Lebanon exploring their creativity beyond an extreme metal sound into more melodically driven music. Its journey has been one to bring out the dedication and determination of the band as first it saw the moving overseas of guitarist John Bakhos and though still a part of the band, it made things more difficult. The tragic passing away of rhythm guitarist BernardMoussali then brought the band to a standstill. Living in Canada, Bakhos revived the band in 2007 with good success in the country, though his return to homeland United Arab Emirates two years later again meant another step back and changes. He then linked up with drummer Martin Lopez (Soen, Opeth, Amon Amarth)and they began working on an album with the addition of vocalist Nadeem Bibby, bassist Rami Lakkis, and guest synth player Uri Dijk (Textures, Ethereal) completing the unit for the recording. Co-produced by Miltiadis Kyvernitis who eventually joined the live band line-up, the album is a force to ignite and push standards across the whole scope of metal. Its initial release across the Middle East last October was a great success and with now a worldwide distribution via Melodic Revolution Records, is set to elevate the band to heady heights.

The outstanding Fragmenting The Soul opens up the release magnificently, its initial enveloping ambience immersing the senses before leading them into a storm of destructive riffs and death metal growls from the excellent Bibby, a vocalist who is expert at harsh and melodic tones few others can match. As the song makes its presence it becomes more and more impressive through a twisting mix of extreme, classic, and progressive might The album from a sensational start gets better and better right to its departing breath.

The following songs like Sintax Of Trinity, Skygazing, and the title track, just throw the senses into a greedy frenzy, the expansive sounds and perpetually twisting soundscapes offered continually intriguing and magnetic. They all are distinct, unique, and imaginative, the blend of muscular power and sounds brought with sheer intensity whilst the melodic and inspired progressive invention is majestically imagined and brought to life.

     Worms Eye View, as mentioned only improves the further into its heart you go. The thrilling Killing Time is a stunning construction of aggressive energy and combative riffs spliced into a wonder of melodic fire and jazz mesmerism. It is invention at its best turned into an even greater pleasure.

The album ends with, along with the just mentioned song, the best tracks on the album. First is the immense Breaking The Ballot, its giant sounds and expressive breath a towering passion of hard hitting directness and melodic beauty merged into a weave of ingenuity. The track like all on the release snarls and growls at times whilst caressing and kissing the bruises in others.

The closing epic Where Mockery Falls is just excellence realised, a song which meanders and stomps through every avenue and field metal and imagination can provide with accomplished incite and driven heart. It is a triumph which the band will find hard to exceed though on the evidence of Worm’s Eye View you would never doubt their ability to.

The album is easily one of the best heard over recent months and Anuryzm a band destined to be on the lips and in the ears of metalers worldwide.

www.facebook.com/anuryzm

Pete RingMaster 01/09/2012

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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