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Martini Henry

End of the Beginning

Review by Gary Hill

This band is related to Oho, and I thought that would mean it would feature the sort of weirdness heard on their first disc. This is a lot more accessible than that. It’s got a folk meets prog meets hard rock element to it that’s very cool. I like the disc a lot. It’s unique and entertaining.

 


This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2010  Volume 5 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
End of the Beginning

There’s a classic rock, jam band kind of element to this cut. It’s got plenty of modern progressive rock built into it, too, though.

Drag of the Mask
This makes me think of what it would sound like if the Violent Femmes had done proggier music. We are taken on a few changes along this road. It ends with some weird backwards tracking.
Rising Darkness
A more straightforward cut, there is still progressive rock built into this.
The Beast on Hollins Street
I like the off-kilter rhythm that works in the backdrop here. This is a cool cut that combines a lot of the same elements as the last tune.
Stand Under the Water in the Crest Depth
There’s a more hard rocking element to this. It’s still very melodic, but there is an almost fusion sort of crunch built in. This is a killer tune, too. We are taken through a number of weird changes as this continues. There’s a cool acoustically driven melodic jam later in the piece.
Legion of the Moose
Another that’s melodic, but quite complicated progressive rock, these guys just keep creating cool music. There’s a bit of weirdness at the end.
God Out of the Machine
Acoustic guitars lead this off and they start the song from there in a folk motif. It gets quite intricate mid-track. An air raid siren enters towards the end to transition us into the next piece.
Airaid
At over sixteen minutes in length, this is the longest cut on show here by far and a true epic. It’s a powerful piece of music that builds on the general musical themes presented along the disc. It wanders into some mellow space after a while. It gets kind of weird as it continues. Around the six and a half minute mark it powers out. It works out from there into some crunchy music that has some valid comparisons to Rush. This doesn’t stay around long, though. Instead it dissolves down to space and then a false ending. A short little bit of acoustic guitar comes up. Then they power it out from there. It turns to quite a freeform sort of progression from there, moving from one twist to another turn. Eventually this moves out to a screaming rocking jam. It reminds me a bit of Nirvana at points, if Nirvana were more progressive rock oriented.
Mad Mardygan
A noisy cut, mainly due to the vocals, this seems to combine folk music with punk and prog. It’s different and quite interesting.
March to Darkness
In some ways this doesn’t vary from a lot of the music here. Yet, we are taken through a lot of twists and turns in an incredibly intriguing arrangement that, at times, makes me think a bit of Rush, while at other times leans towards RIO.
Gun Pointed at the Head of the Universe
There’s no major re-envisioning here, but rather the cut works through a number of changes and alterations in a twisting, turning kind of arrangement that’s very cool. This is one heck of a roller coaster ride.
 
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