Sages – Sleepwalker [REVIEW]

If you’re wanting something progressive metal wise that has some atmospheric punch about its ways, then you might want to get your head around Sacramento based band Sages who are looking to show of their experimentation as well as their technical prowess with their latest record ‘Sleepwalker’.

Opening up with the poignant track ‘What The Hell’, it gives you an immediate insight into what to expect from the band. The tremolo picking of the guitars during the choruses behind the open chord elements mixed with the vocal harmonies make this such a pleasant album opener for the group. It can get a bit hypnotising at some points with the softer elements of the track that help accentuate the vocal key when he really forces his tone out. As it moves into the next few tracks, the lead guitar gets a bit more time to shine with the opening guitar licks provided by ‘With You’ which invokes a bit more spacial element in the sound of its lead guitar. The choruses of this band are where they excel as they sound so full of life and flavour, but they also use a bit of electronic/programming in some of the tracks to make it feel that much more special such as in the song ‘Come With Me’ that uses some orchestral section in the intro and what sounds like a toy box sound during parts of the verses which gives it their own characteristic.

As well as this, the band are definitely living up to their progressive metal nature. With the djent punches of the title track amongst a cleaner and more reverb centric guitar lead, the band show how they can fit into parts of the genre that seem to be very ‘paint by numbers’ with that guitar technique. What really makes this band shine is their much more anthem-like production within the longer tracks like ‘Save Yourself’ and ‘Wasting Away’ that are able to help hold your attention for longer, as well as their abilities to switch up the tracks slightly as to not get stale over time and give you another chance to be mesmerised by what they have been able to achieve. It puts this release up their with bands such as TesseracT and Periphery with their more awareness on how to take in many encompassing sounds and make the album as a whole work superbly. A highlight of the record is the ever so groovy ‘Up To The Sky’ that showcases more of the vocalists screams and, whilst it can feel quite minimalist in its approach, separates the record quite nicely.

This record is a surefire way to show you what the upcoming progressive rock and metal scene is doing and a very good showcase of when a band does it to a superb scale. If you haven’t heard of Sages before, now is the time to start listening!

[9/10]

Exist Immortal – Breathe [REVIEW]

Bringing something more flavourful and progressive within its metalcore web, Exist Immortal have touched down with their newest album ‘Breathe’ which showcases so much that this London quintet have up their sleeves. For five years this band have being going from strength to strength, releasing singles here and a mini album there to keep you salivating and wanting more. Now we reach 2016 and you get to hear the culmination of everything they’ve worked hard for put into something that will give even the bands that are able to sell out academy-sized venues a run for their money.

Right out of the gate, you’re treated to something majestic mixed with something that absolutely breaks down walls with ‘Saviour’. The immediate bounce from the rhythm gives you something bass heavy right into the foreground with the track to progressing into a completely different riff structure and gives Meyrick de la Fuente that more treble-edged side to bring something ear-catching with his cleans. With the album progressing showing off more and more experiments and instrumentation magnificence, tracks like ’In Hindsight’ give this sense of everlasting beauty in its lead guitar whilst the rhythm underlining bass tone elevates this tenfold. The choruses as well bring out the best in Meyrick’s cleans, giving the tracks that extra positive brightness.

Each song gives its own individuality whether it be with thrash guitars punching you from all sides to just sounding like a huge prog metal track, with each tracks structure you get a feeling that one by one, the album takes you to a separate island for each song and gives you a lovely guided tour of what is beautiful within its world. ‘Erode’ especially is a highlight on the record just because of the fact that its not trying hard to be outlandish and feel like the members hands are moving faster than their eyes can catch up with. The track has a certain ‘mainstream’ quality within its walls with the fairly upbeat chord progressions heavily thanked by the guitar lead accentuating each transition.

A weird side note, that is just a mere coincidence, is that near enough half of the songs start and finish in around the same time. Not that it’s a major criticism, but quite a few of these songs felt like they could have been drastically altered in time. The song ‘Release’ for example has one of the most graceful clean lead sections out of the entire record and with the whole song gets laid out, you feel like you want to experience it just a few minutes more and bathe in its glory. On the other spectrum, ‘Breathe’ has its moments where you feel it kinda goes out of its way to be a bit of a longer song. The Chon-esque guitar at the beginning adding to the more technicality of the band is such a nice touch, but the breakdown at the end feels somewhat forced and kinda takes away from what the song seems to get across.

From start to finish, Exist Immortal bring an amazing sound and likability to them with a veritable smorgasbord of songs and sections to make even the most stubborn of prog/djent fans shed a small tear of joy. Whilst it may not be the ‘perfect’ progressive record, these five gentlemen have set a high standard for people to reach, even for the more veteran acts.

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Released: October 28th 2016
For Fans Of: Tesseract / Periphery / After The Burial
Label: Primordial Records

TesseracT confirmed on the Devin Townsend Project UK tour

TesseracT will be appearing as special guests on the Devin Townsend project tour. The six date UK tour will take place next year in March.

TesseracT guitarist James Monteith said: “We are beyond stoked to be touring with the Devin Townsend Project and playing such great venues around the UK next year. Not only are we all huge fans of the band (and our mutual agreement on music is a rare thing!), they also hold a very special place in our hearts, as they were the first band who ever took us on the road in the USA and Canada. They gave us a huge leg up in the touring game, were great mentors / advisers, all-round amazing dudes to hang out with, and they have remained our friends ever since. Not only will this be an honour on a musical level, it’ll be great to spend some time with them once again! Plus having Leprous on the bill is definitely the icing on the cake; they’re a phenomenal band and really help to make this bill special. Bring on 2017!”

These shows will be TesseracT’s only UK club shows in 2017 because they are working their follow up to the 2015 album Polaris. The band will be releasing a new two-CD edition of Polaris this autumn. This will include a bonus disc entitled  Errai featuring four re-imagined tracks from Polaris.

Fans can pre-order Errai here.
All the tour dates are listed below along with the new imagined version of the song Survival. 

March 2017

12th – Bristol, Colston Hall

13th – Manchester Academy

14th – Glasgow Barrowlands

16th – Birmingham O2 Institute

17th – London Hammersmith Eventim Apollo

18th – Nottingham Rock City