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Metal/Prog Metal CD Reviews

Yage

Nordwand

Review by Gary Hill

I could see landing this under progressive rock. There is plenty of prog tendency here. Ultimately, I think the metal edge is the more pronounced one here, though. This act is from Germany and most of the lyrics are in German. That said, there is a lot of instrumental music here, and it really doesn't matter whether you can understand the words or not. This is powerful either way. These guys are creative, experimental and still exceptionally fierce and heavy. This leans toward extreme metal, but isn't so much in that vein to chase other listeners away. All in all, this is a particularly interesting release.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2019  Volume 2 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Kleiner Lafatscher
Ambient sounds bring this into being. The cut rises up with a metal crunch from there, but somehow still remains reasonably mellow. This instrumental piece is an introduction to the album.
Grosser Lafatscher

Seeming to come out of the previous track, this powers out with a screaming hot metal intensity. It drives with a lot of power and crunch. The instrumental introduction is extensive. When the vocals join they bring a bit of an extreme nature. This thing works through a number of shifts and changes as drives onward. It has some hints of world music in some of the melodies. It's a real powerhouse jam that's so cool.

Antiheld

I love the riff that drives this. It's almost off-kilter, but so tasty. It has an almost psychotic edge. There is a bit of an industrial vibe to this song. The vocals are more stoner rock like in a lot of ways. This is another powerhouse cut. There are even some space rock edges built into this thing at times.

Zwicker feat. K-STE
Another fast paced metal jam, the vocals on this are also closer to stoner rock. There are some killer riffs on this, and the cut works through a number of changes as it drives forward. It is energized and downright mean at times. There is a section with a more traditional vocal bit. That section almost leans toward rap-metal.
Planet Broesel
This number opens with a much more melodic jam that leans more toward progressive rock than metal. This extensive instrumental shifts toward more metallic territory further down the road. It even makes me think of early Metallica at times. It's a dynamic and powerful cut that brings some variety to the proceedings.
Nordwand
While there is a short dramatic and fairly mellow introduction to the title track, that gives way to a blast of powerhouse metal jamming. There is a lot of thrash built into this. This shifts and changes pretty dramatically, and is mostly instrumental. In fact, while the vocals are more on the extreme end of the spectrum, they are very sparse and mostly serve as a different kind of instrumentation than anything else. Some parts of this cut have an almost dark and ominous psychedelic vibe to them. Oddly enough I can make out hints of The Who's "Boris the Spider" at times. This resolves to a more melodic jam after the five-minute mark (this is over eight-and-a-half minutes long) that's quite proggy. As it continues to evolve that section gets more metal added to the mix.
Indianer
Mellower modes that bring an ominous sense of mystery begin this. The cut builds on that as it drives forward with more energy and a bit more of a metal edge. This mostly instrumental cut continues to shift and grow. It works to more of a powerhouse metal approach. Some vocals (non-lyrical) rise up with a more melodic, old school metal delivery further down the road. This has elements of thrash, but also some healthy helpings of shoegaze built into it. The song is close to finished before something that sounds like lyrics join.
Maschine
Trippy spacey elements bring this into being. It has a definite psychedelic, space texture as it rises up from there. I'm again reminded of early Who just a tiny bit at times as this grows. The track has a dark, almost bluesy vibe that's not far removed from progressive rock as it marches forward. The metal crunch joins as this continues its journey. It has a stoner rock vibe for a while. Then it shifts to something a bit thrashier before the vocals join near the half-way point of the ride.  This gets quite intense and much thrashier as they drive forward with an instrumental section further down the road. There is a chimey kind of proggy section at the end.
Lumen
The rhythm section starts this with the bass driving it nicely. Other instruments join as the piece builds outward, but it develops in more of a proggy, less metal way at first. As the guitar rises up to weave melodic lines, it's still perhaps more progressive rock than it is metal. This thing drives with a real intensity and works through a number of changes. It's defintely proggy, but it has a metal edge to it. The drums really get a chance to show off on this number. It's another instrumental and a cool one at that.
Rauher Knoell
Starting with mellower, trippy kinds of textures, this grows outward gradually from there. The piece turns metal as it continues to drive onward. It gets some killer guitar sounds and textures as it does so. This is intense and thrashy. There are some vocals on this one. They are of the extreme variety and join as the song really starts driving like crazy. The outro is a cool little world music meets psychedelia kind of thing.
Kaputt
The opening section on this is a bit on the mellow side, but built around a mean riff. As they crunch it up from there I'm reminded of Godsmack. The vocals are of the more extreme variety, though, and this is a fierce, screaming hot song. It drops to more of a shoegaze kind of thing for a time in an instrumental section. That gets more metal infused as it works forward. This turns to some killer extreme metal around the five-and-a-half-minute mark. This track makes good use of both grunt-style vocals and more sung, soaring ones. The riff that takes over at the end is so mean and fierce. The vocals over that are more guttural. It gets incredibly intense before it's over.
Moserkar
Frantic drumming starts this. The rest of the band join in a powerhouse jam that's a bit off-kilter and quite proggy. It has world music melodies built into it, and despite all the other sounds is still screaming hot metal. Some of the vocals are quite extreme, while others lean more toward melodic rock. This thing works through a number of shifts and changes as it continues. It has some decidedly proggy moments, but even those have plenty of metal edge and fire built into them. This is screaming hot and just so cool. It's a real powerhouse with a lot variety and energy.
Siljan
With some nature sounds and other elements at the start, this works to more of a proggy kind of jam that brings it into being with style. This thing has some definite prog and a lot of other texture built into it. It has plenty of world music, too. In fact, it even has some didgeridoo.
 
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