The Progress Report: February 2024

Welcome to the February Progress Report. Another great and diverse selection of albums here for your reading and listening pleasure, from extreme post-metal to pastoral 70’s-inspired rock. An added bonus is the fact that all of these albums are pretty good – what might work for you will simply depend on your musical tastes. Check them all out and as always, support the bands you like.

Ratings are on a five star scale.

Pelagic Records

Bipolar Architecture – Metaphysicize (Pelagic)

Long-time readers of this column know that I sometimes include reviews of post-metal albums, if they have a sufficiently progressive bent to them. Metaphysicize is such an album. This is the second album from Istanbul/Berlin collective Bipolar Architecture, a band born out of death metal group Heretic Soul.

Anything that comes out on the Pelagic label will always be worth checking out, and Metaphysicize is no exception. This is a brilliantly crafted slab of post-metal, with plenty of prog highlights as well as extreme vocals. The album is varied and dynamic, featuring fantastic music and production and the kind of arrangements that can make post-metal albums amongst the most compelling. Worth digging into.

Rating: 4

Dark Essence Records

The Chronicles Of Father Robin – The Songs & Tales of Airoea, Books 2 & 3 (Dark Essence)

Last September we reviewed a quirky prog rock outing from The Chronicles Of Father Robin, with members of Wobbler and more, and were looking forward to the second part of the album trilogy. Somehow Book 2 eluded us back in September, but with Book 3 being released this month we jumped at the opportunity to review the pair of albums.

The Songs & Tales of Airoea, Books 2 & 3 pick up exactly where Book 1 left off and take us in no new directions, which is perfectly acceptable. Each of the two books hold their own in quality, musicianship, narrative, and more compared to Book 1. Listening to the trio of albums back to back to back (roughly two hours’ worth of music) is a wonderful journey. The albums are genuine and heartfelt walks down the paths of early ’70s prog, and must be sought out by all fans of that era. Well done!

Rating: 4 (for the trilogy as a whole)

Transcending Obscurity Records

Eternal Storm – A Giant Bound To Fall (Transcending Obscurity)

We first heard Spain’s Eternal Storm back in 2019, when the death-doom group released their debut Come The Tide. While we didn’t review it on this site, we totally enjoyed the album and suffice it to say Eternal Storm has been high on our watch list ever since. It’s great to finally see their follow-up album, A Giant Bound To Fall, drop this month.

The band turns up the prog a little on A Giant Bound To Fall, and they are more than up to the task. This is a pretty long album, nearly 70 minutes, and while there are moments where songs could be trimmed back these are few and far between. Even the three songs over nine minutes are compelling and sound epic in scope. A Giant Bound To Fall is a superb sophomore release, and our favorite of the month.

Rating: 4.5

Apollon Records

North Sea Echoes – Really Good Terrible Things (Apollon)

Any time Ray Alder and Jim Matheos (both of Fates Warning, for those unaware) collaborate on a project we will be at the front of the line to check it out. Really Good Terrible Things was initially planned as another Tuesday The Sky album, Matheos’ ambient instrumental outlet, but when he reached out to Alder to see if he’d like to contribute lyrics and vocals, North Sea Echoes were born.

Don’t get too excited, Fates Warning fans: this is not a FW album by any means. Really Good Terrible Things aligns much more closely with Tuesday The Sky. It is a dark and moody release, not really prog beyond the band members. Both Matheos and Alder turn in great performances, though, and fans of either or both artists will really enjoy this album.

Rating: 3.5

Frontiers Music

Them Moose Rush – Zepaxia (Frontiers)

I make no bones about it: Them Moose Rush are one of my favorite young bands. The Croatians’ off-kilter, often humorous take on The Mars Volta’s style of prog rock hits home for me. While we haven’t reviewed them here, their last two albums (2018’s Don’t Pick Your Noise and 2020’s Dancing Maze) have had regular airplay.

Zepaxia gives us exactly what we expect and want from Them Moose Rush. Intricate yet insanely catchy music, crazy vocals, and a healthy dose of humor (song titles like “Cake Crisis Resolved” and “Swimming in Your Bladder,” as well as the cheeky idea of naming the last song “Procrastinator) make these guys quite unique and memorable. If you haven’t had a chance to check them out, now is a great time. I guarantee your day will be brightened considerably by their crazy earworms.

Rating: 4

Other 2024 Progress Reports

January 2024 Progress Report

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