Prog Sphere | Progressive Rock & Progressive Metal News
Prog Sphere is a website for devotees of Progressive Rock/Metal, Jazz Fusion, and ALL of its varied sub-genres. Prog Sphere has been active since 2010, and they have conducted numerous interviews and other features with majority of bands that are considered as the genre’s most influential artists.
One of progressive metal’s most ground-breaking and innovative artists is unquestionably BETWEEN THE BURIED AND ME, who after 15 years as a band continues to push themselves to new dimensions with their song-writing. The newest accomplishment, adding to their vast catalog, is the conceptual, two-part, epic album, Automata, which now has Part II officially slated for a July 13th release through their new label Sumerian Records. Stay tuned to https://www.facebook.com/BTBAMofficial for all additional information.
Tommy Rogers (vocals) states: ”Holding our tongues for ‘Automata II‘ was challenging. We worked so hard on these songs and finally we get to release the other half of this material to the world! I think this is some of the best material we’ve ever released. It’s a result of everything we’ve been striving for up to this point. There are plenty of twists/turns and bizarre moments, but there is also a lot of beauty in the music and the story. ‘Automata‘ is now complete and our antagonist found his version of home and peace. We are all in this together.”
Dan Briggs (bass) further adds: “‘Automata II‘ sees us at our most dynamic and most creative. It feels like turning a page into a whole new terrain and us working all these years together to arrive at this point. It’s quirky, adventurous, melodic, dark and full of theatrics.”
Automata IItrack listing:
1. The Proverbial Bellow (13:16)
2. Glide (2:13)
3. Voice of Trespass (7:58)
4. The Grid (9:45)
What if dreams could be broadcast for the purpose of entertainment? Could you consume the innermost thoughts of another person on screen? If you could, what does that say about an attention-starved audience? More importantly, what would become of the dreamer?
Between The Buried and Me pose those questions and more on their two-part eighth full-length and introductory offering for Sumerian Records, Automata.
The North Carolina quintet—Tommy Giles Rogers, Jr. [lead vocals, keyboards], Paul Waggoner [lead and rhythm guitar, backing and lead vocals], Dustie Waring [rhythm and lead guitar], Blake Richardson [drums], and Dan Briggs [bass, keyboards]—explore these themes by personally smashing boundaries once again. Automata marks the band’s first proper double LP-spanning concept. Moreover, they continue to expand their ever-evolving style, upholding a tradition of progression in the process.
“We never want to repeat ourselves,” affirms Paul. “We’re always trying to do something different, and this album fell right into that sort of pattern. We push ourselves into new places, while retaining our basic sound. Musically, we go somewhere that’s fun and challenging. We never know how it’s going to turn out. These are uncharted waters for us. We’ve never written an entire piece and presented it in separate parts like this.”
“All of our music should build up to the newest record,” Tommy leaves off. “That’s what happens with Automata. You can take little snippets from our past throughout this album. It sounds like Between The Buried And Me, but it’s still new. We hope to keep the music industry on its toes. This is part of doing that.”
A 12-piece experimental rock ensemble, The Mercy Stone has launched a new studio performance video for the song “Wail Song” taken from their album Ghettoblaster. The video is available on YouTube, and can be seen below.
Founder of the project, guitarist and composer Scott Grady stated, “‘Ghettoblaster’ uses many different genres/styles of popular music with elements of classical composition. With ‘Wail Song,’ I was looking to take The Mercy Stone into a jazzy/funky musical space. A lot of the musical ideas come from the fact that I play a little bit of many different instruments. Once I had a good idea of how the piece would unfold, experimenting and improvising on strings, winds, and percussion helped generate many of its melodic and rhythmic elements. This is one of the most challenging and most fun pieces that we play. Much of the piece fluctuates between meters frequently, so it keeps us all on our toes. Getting everyone in the band to really groove through all of the rhythmic challenges definitely took some time.”
The Mercy Stone was founded by Grady in 2016. After spending several years studying music composition in an academic setting, he sought to put his composition chops to work within a project that would have the substance and sophistication fitting for a contemporary-classical concert stage as well as the accessibility that would be palatable to rock audiences. After finishing a master’s degree in music composition in 2015, he spent the next year and a half exploring how to achieve this synthesis. Understanding the pitfalls of music fusion, Grady wished to create a classical/rock hybrid style that was organic, drawing inspiration from his years of absorbing, studying, and performing all flavors of popular music (classic rock, pop, reggae, metal, funk, psychedelic/experimental rock), world music (West African drumming, Flamenco, Eastern European dance music,) along with the Western art music he studied through his years in academia.
The Mercy Stone recently started work on their sophomore full-length release.
“While ‘Ghettoblaster‘ was entirely instrumental, this new album will have several tunes with vocals. It will be exciting to share a very different side of The Mercy Stone when all is finished,” Grady commented.
Watch a video for “Wail Song” below, and for more information about The Mercy Stone and the Ghettoblaster album visit the project’s official website.
Armonite, the instrumental rock collective led by composer Paolo Fosso and violinist Jacopo Bigi, signed with LA-based indie label Cleopatra Records for the release of their new album, And the Stars Above.
Armonite‘s instrumental music is perfectly in line with the spirit of the label, especially now that Cleopatra expanded in the movie industry.
With the film division Cleopatra Entertainment, the company has distributed, developed, and produced several films most of which have a strong horror and/or music component, including The Devil’s Domain(starring Michael Madsen), The Black Room (starring Lin Shaye), Halloween Pussy Trap Kill! Kill! (featuring the voice of Dave Mustainefrom Megadeth), The 27 Club (featuring Todd Rundgren), England Is Mine (Steven Morrissey bio-pic), A Street Cat Named Bob.
“Working with Cleopatra has been great”, says Fosso. “They’re skilled and competent, I’m sure they will take Armonite to the next level. I’ve always been a great lover of movies and videogames, I was just moving forward to the composition of soundtrack music, so this collaboration comes right on cue”.
As with the previous album, And the Stars Above is an instrumental mix of electric violin, keyboards, bass, and drums with focus on the amazing and powerful electric violin, performed by Jacopo Bigi. Interpreting the music composed by keyboardist Paolo Fosso, Armonite also performs with bassists Colin Edwin (Porcupine Tree) and Alberto Fiorani, along with drummers Corrado Bertonazzi, Emiliano Cava, and Jasper Barendregt (Dodecahedron, Ulsect).
The sound of the album is more oriented to soundtrack music with textures that feel very immediate. “We consume tons of music every day, we can’t just stick to one genre”, says Fosso, “generally speaking, the album is rock, but with this idea of soundtrack music”.
Throughout the album, lingers a ghostly female voice, appearing and disappearing here and there before fully emerging in the band’s first song with lyrics, “Clouds Collide”. The track tells the story of a girl between time and memories.
And the Stars Above is a journey through 12 tracks, starting with “The March of the Stars” inspired by Dante‘s Paradise and ending with “Ghosts”. The album also features two bonus tracks: a polyrhythmic piece for piano solo, “The Fire Dancer”, and the String Quartet “A Playful Day”.
Armonite have been awarded an Honorable Mention both in the Instrumental and Performance categories at the International Songwriting Competition 2017 from a top level jury including Tom Waits, Lorde, Bastille, Billy Cobham, Ziggy Marley, Don Omar, and Keane. With over 16,000 entries from 140 countries, this is a remarkable achievement of which they are extremely proud.
“We’re confident this is going to be a great release, with a rather peculiar view”, says Fosso, “‘The Sun is New Each Day‘ had a heavy compact sound… ‘And the Stars Above‘ is groovy, with different vibes across a bunch of genres. There’s something indie in this new sound that we’ve never explored before and it’s kind of sexy for us!”
And the Stars Above is set to be released on May 25 through Cleopatra Records.
01. The March of the Stars
02. Next Ride
03. District Red
04. Plaza de España
05. Clouds collide
06. Blue Curaçao
07. By heart
09. By the Waters of Babylon
10. The usual drink
11. What’s the Rush?
13. A Playful Day (for Strings Quartet) [Bonus Track]
14. The Fire dancer (for Piano solo) [Bonus Track]
Original music composed and arranged by Paolo Fosso.
Performed by Armonite
Jacopo Bigi – acoustic and electric violin
Paolo Fosso – piano and keyboards
Colin Edwin (The March of the Stars, District Red, Freaks, By the Waters of Babylon, What’s the Rush?, Ghosts); Alberto Fiorani (Next Ride, Blue Curaçao, By heart) – bass
Giacomo Lampugnani (Plaza de España, Freaks); Gianmarco Straniero (By the Waters of Babylon) – double bass
Corrado Bertonazzi (The March of the Stars, District Red, Blue Curaçao, Freaks, What’s the Rush?, Ghosts); Emiliano Cava (Next Ride, Plaza de España, By heart); Jasper Barendregt (By the Waters of Babylon) – drums
Maria Chiara Montagnari (The March of the Stars, Clouds collide, By the Waters of Babylon) – voice
Diletta Fosso (Ghosts) – child’s voice
Marcello Rosa (District Red); Gabriele Montanari (The March of the Stars, A Playful Day) – cello
Multi-national Symphonic Metal six-piece TRAGUL are set to release their new single “Before I Say Goodbye” on Friday, April 13th. The lyric video for the song is streaming now via the band’s official YouTube channel. “Before I Say Goodbye” presents an undeniably renewed TRAGUL, which returns with a very catchy melodic song, a rhythm halfway between the modern sound and the traditional power metal that leads to a fresh and melodic metal at its best.
TRAGUL keyboardist and founder Adrian Benegas commented: “The general concept of ‘Before I Say Goodbye’ is related to death or farewell. It could be understood as a spiritual death, a transformation towards another kind of feel leaving behind negative things for something better, a different state of the ‘being.’ Also, it could be understood more directly, specifically speaking about the departure from this world or about the death of a loved one from a first person view (as a farewell). Even if it is a sensitive subject this matter is always there, it’s like a strange feeling of nostalgia and hope about what is beyond this world, the doubt about what awaits us when we take that important step. In one way or another it is undeniable that within us is always the hope to find ourselves with something better, perhaps with ourselves in a state of “pure form”, the “true one” without the “clothing” that we use as human beings.”
Benegas describes the creative process for the new single as “very smooth and natural.”
He continues to say: “I started with a rough idea about the song’s subject. Then I created like an atmosphere to support that idea and started to write the final lyric in order to start writing the main melodies. Once I had the main melodies (verses, chorus) it went very fast, I think the most important and difficult parts when you create music are the melodies, the melodies are like the ‘soul’ of a song. Once you find something you like for the melody, the rest comes easily. For the final stage (arrangements, recordings, etc), we found a very easy way to work with the guys. Once I finish the songs (main idea/demo), I send the demo so they can add their arrangements on their own instruments before we start to record the final version. Except for the bass, that is entirely wrote by Oliver, always.”
TRAGUL plans to release a few more single by the end of 2018.
“True to TRAGUL‘s format we will release our music in a song by song format. Which means, a song every two months with a visual support and available on all the streaming and digital stores around the world. I can’t reveal too much at this moment, but I’d like to mention that we’ve prepared a special song for Halloween (with a dark concept on it), also we will release a cover of a song from a Netflix show. That song was mixed and mastered by a great Hollywood producer who will be revealed pretty soon. I am sure the people will love it,” Benegas concludes.
Watch a lyric video for “Before I Say Goodbye” below, and follow TRAGUL on Facebook for future updates or visit their official website.
Adrian Benegas – Keyboards
Zuberoa Aznárez – Vocals
Steve Conley – Guitars
Diego Bogarín – Guitars
Oliver Holzwarth – Bass
Sander Zoer – Drums
Tragul - Before I Say Goodbye (Official Lyric Video) - YouTube
This is common ground for almost all newer bands of our time, yet what has brought the rapid downfall in CD sales and decline of the music industry — the internet — also presents us with a range of new possibilities to support the bands we love and cherish even stronger than before.
Instrumental progressive metal band Art Against Agony from Germany have produced two albums and two EPs since 2014 and have toured Europe, Russia and South America over the course of the last few years, taking the management and production of the band fully into their own hands.
For the production of their third album Shiva Appreciation Society the project has now joined funding platform Patreon to give their fans a unique opportunity to support the band and become a part of the new production themselves.
From a range of 1€-50€ support, the band is offering anything from a free album until a complete involvement into the production process, being able to give the band feedback about raw tracks during composition and mixing of the album. Additionally, there is a very limited amount of t-shirts available exclusively for the Patreon supporters only!
The third album of the artist collective will be very experimental and progressive, yet one can expect a big focus on the bands Indian percussion player the_maximalist and their piano player the_surgeon, giving both of them a major spotlight.
The band will release their new record in October 2018 and follow up with a European tour, and there is more to come!
Video trailer for the new album Shiva Appreciation Society can be seen below.
ART AGAINST AGONY - SHIVA APPRECIATION SOCIETY - NEW ALBUM 2018 - YouTube
Berlin-based Progressive Doom Metal all-female act Choral Hearse will release their debut album Mire Exhumedon April 16. Watch a video for the single “An Abduction,” premiere exclusively via Decibel Magazine below.
Choral Hearse commented, “With ‘An Abduction,’ we bring together a lot of what our album ‘Mire Exhumed’ is about: unearthing the hidden, voicing the long-silenced. The song shifts between grief and fury at having been wronged, robbed, or trespassed against, forging a dialogue of remorses, suspended in the moment just before retaliation. The writing process was inspired by the unspoken narratives of real abduction cases. Interspersing voices from various sides of the scenario, including those of the predator and the victim, howling from a state of captivity and then from beyond the grave, the song aims to explore the space of the unseen. Using appropriated images of women in horror films—experiencing, reacting against, or inflicting some form of threat or terror—we want to evoke a portentous sense that these trespasses will be answered.”
With a melancholic fury, Choral Hearse casts a sonorous incantation that invokes the restless spirits of hunted witches. The sound of the all-female band brings together dynamic shifts in rhythm and tone, heavy riffs, androgynous vocals, and an interplay between discordance and resolution, conjuring up a dizzying atmosphere of progressive doom.
Based in Berlin, Choral Hearse was originally formed as an acoustic metal duo, featuring guitarist Sara Neidorf and vocalist Liaam Iman, in January 2015. Over the next year, they added drummer Eszter Kàdàrand bassist Bar Landau to solidify their current lineup. Hailing from various corners of the globe—the United States, Algeria, Hungary, and Israel respectively—the members contribute uniquely to a sinister and eclectic sound that calls to mind Opeth, Chelsea Wolfe, Mr. Bungle, A Perfect Circle, and even a little bit of Radiohead.
Their forthcoming debut album Mire Exhumed is set for release on April 16th, 2018. Pre-order it from Bandcamp.
Mire Exhumed Track Listing:
01. Chronic Departure 02. Confession 03. Distorted Perception 04. Engulfed 05. Elucidated 06. Better Kill the Flies 07. A Hideous Revelation 08. An Abduction 09. Mutation 10. Once Again
Choral Hearse line-up:
Liaam Iman – vocals
Sara Neidorf – guitars
Eszter Kadar – drums
Bar Landau – bass
Barry Weinberg’s new album Samsarana was launched in January, and, according to the musician, it tells “a powerful human story of life’s challenges, redemption and self-actualization that all listeners will relate to and be inspired by.” The record is available as CD from CD Baby, and in digital formats on iTunes and Amazon.
Samsarana is musical journey created by Barry Weinberg which spans from the moment of the Big Bang to the Spiritual Awakening of Man. Crossing the boundaries of Progressive Rock, Folk, Blues, Heavy Metal, Jazz and Orchestral music, Samsarana is a concept album written as a novel with each song a chapter in the story. This musical novel is about Polarity —Life and Death, Light and Dark, Good and Evil, Disillusionment and Enlightenment. It tells a powerful human story of life’s challenges, redemption and self-actualization that all listeners will relate to and be inspired by.
Samsarana is a Sanskrit word that literally means „The Wandering“, referring to the endless cycles of Birth, Life, Death, Birth, Life, Death, ad infinitum – This Vicious Circle.
Progarchy commented that “‘Samsarana’ is an absolutely accomplished piece of playing, writing and performance that should see the genre pushed out of its confines,” while Progstravaganza calls it “a collection of inspired, thought-provoking compositions performed by a talented musician.”
For more information about Samsarana and Barry Weinberg, visit the musician’s official website. Hear the full album in a YouTube stream below.
Hailing from Belarus capital Minsk, THORNYWAY is a progressive metalcore four-piece emerged in 2010 whose debut full-length album “Absolution” was launched back in 2014. Almost four years later, the band is ready to unleash their sophomore effort entitled “Awaken,” but they ask your help in achieving their goals with this ambitious project. A Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign was recently launched where THORNYWAY try to raise $5,000 for mixing the album at the Anthropocide Mixing & Mastering Studio.
Speaking about this new material, the band commented: “‘Awaken’ is expression of our attitude towards Human Nature: Striving, Faith, Love, Forgiveness. The album reflects the events taking place in the modern world. Each listener will find in it something close for themselves. ‘Awaken’ is a logical follow-up to our first album, ‘Absolution,’ which was released in 2014.”
All songs on “Awaken” are recorded, and the album is to be delivered to the mixing and mastering studio for further treatment. You can head over to THORNYWAY’s Bandcamp profile to hear their first album which also gives a small hint what can be expected from “Awaken.”
Visit the Kickstarter crowdfunding page and help the band in reaching their goal by contributing and receiving fine perks in return. A video where the band talks about the campaign can be seen below.
Irish pagan metallers Primordial will release their new album, Exile Amongst The Ruins, on March 30 through Metal Blade Records. The band teamed with producer Ola Ersfjord, who worked on Primordial‘s 2016 live album, Gods To The Godless. The record was tracked at Dublin’s Camelot Studios, located adjacent to Primordial‘s rehearsal room.
Check out the video for the first single, ”Stolen Years,” below.
Once again building upon their signature sound, the follow-up to 2014′s Where Greater Men Have Fallen is a more raw, “old-school sounding” record than its predecessor. Hitting home with what vocalist Alan “Nemtheanga” Averill describes as “a direct energy” and wielding an urgency that is undeniable, the Irish quintet once again effortlessly blend elements of tragedy and might like no one else. Likewise, the evolution in their sound continues to be organic and unforced, ensuring that Exile Amongst The Ruins is essential listening for both their long term faithful and those only now drawn into their world.
Commenting on the album’s first single, ”Stolen Years,” Averill said: “‘Stolen Years’ may seem like a strange choice as our lead single, and on the face of it, I guess it is. It’s not a blood-and-thunder epic about tragedy and might and the ruin of nations, nor is it a nine-minute epistle of doom. Have no fear, the album does contain those also, but to open this time, we chose something different.
“This album has some surprises and this is one of them — a short and painfully simple song which almost didn’t make the final cut, if you can believe so. The video, cut by Costin Chioreanu, is about the journey involved in finally getting to that moment where you walk on stage. The song itself about that last night on earth that comes to us all. Sometimes we never know when that might be. Hold your loved ones tight tonight; this could be it…“
Exile Amongst The Ruins Track Listing:
01. Nail Their Tongues
02. To Hell or the Hangman
03. Where Lie the Gods
04. Exile Amongst the Ruins
05. Upon Our Spiritual Deathbed
06. Stolen Years
07. Sunken Lungs
08. Last Call
To coincide with the album release, the Irishmen have just announced two special and rather intimate album-release shows in Germany as well as their appearance on the ”Heathen Crusade” European tour with Finland’s Moonsorrow as co-headliners and Germany’s Der Weg Einer Freiheit as support act.
Alan “Nemtheanga” Averill - vocals Ciarán MacUilliam - guitar Michael O’Floinn - guitar Pól MacAmlaigh - bass Simon O’Laoghaire - drums
Indian/American progressive metal band Skyharbor has signed a worldwide deal with Entertainment One/Good Fight Music. The group is in the studio with producer Forrester Savell (Karnivool, Twelve Foot Ninja, Dead Letter Circus) working on its new full-length album, Sunshine Dust. The follow-up to 2014′s Guiding Lights will be released later in the year.
“It goes without saying that we’re stoked as all hell to have found our new home with Entertainment One and Good Fight Music,” says guitarist Keshav Dhar. “They have been key in bringing to life our vision for where we want this band to go, and we’re delighted to be able to bring our new record out to the world through them.“
SVP of Metal, eOne Music‘s Scott Givens adds: “Entertainment One is committed to developing and breaking new rock/metal music talent. Skyharbor has already laid the foundation for an amazing future with us and we are all excited to get to work.“
Skyharbor will support its new labelmates The Contortionist on a North American run named ”Clairvoyant North America 2018.”Dhar continues: “Our first-ever North American tour was with The Contortionist in 2015, and we became great friends on that run. We’ve been gunning for a chance to tour with them again ever since, and it couldn’t have come at a better time. It’s going to be a truly memorable experience.“
From a file on a computer sitting in New Delhi to a full-fledged touring band with members from around the world formed over the Internet, Skyharbor has defied convention every step of the way. The debut album, Blinding White Noise, was released worldwide in 2012 to critical acclaim and earned the band a dedicated fan following across the globe. Since then, Skyharbor has been performing regularly around the world and making waves with its distinctive brand of sweeping, ethereal prog-rock, releasing Guiding Lights in 2014 after a wildly successful crowdfunding campaign.
After a brief patch of turbulence that saw new frontman Eric Emery and drummer Aditya Ashok solidify the band’s lineup, Skyharbor embarked on a series of tours around the world, covering North America, Europe and India.