Ysma is a band that I’ve been following for several years, all the way back to their debut in 2013. They’ve grown and matured as songwriters since then, culminating in their best album, 2017’s Memoirs in Monochrome. They are back with a live DVD release of that album, with some alterations, of course. The release is called The Gronau Variations, and it released on October 21st.
The band plays a classic retro prog rock with lots of woodwinds and funky rhythms. It is all instrumental, jazzy at times, and even heavy in others. The lineup, I believe, is Fabian Schroer on guitar, Daniel Kluger on guitar, Arne Timm on keys, Attila Kornel on bass, and Simon Eggert on drums.
I love the album on which this live release is based. I think this performance is tight, colorful, and professional. My favorites are still “30 Doradus” with its riffy nature and the last three tracks on the album, “Silhouettes”, “Implosions”, and “Debris”. Those three sound great together, with a transition from electronic darkness to elongated, cinematic ideas as they progress. It’s an epic ending, for sure.
I’m glad the band is still together, as I had wondered. This DVD is definitely a low budget release, but the camerawork is surprisingly thorough and well-directed. The performance is exquisite, too. If you love instrumental prog rock, you really should hear this.
O.R.k., the band with the annoying name to type, is back. I loved their 2019 album Ramagehead, and they are back with Screamnasium, which released on October 21st through Kscope. I had planned a full review for this album, but realized that I don’t have much to say about it, which isn’t necessarily a comment about the quality.
O.R.k. includes Lorenzo Esposito Fornasari on vocals, Colin Edwin on bass, Carmelo Pipitone on guitars, and Pat Mastelloto on drums. Elisa guests on vocals on one track. The band plays a grungy alternative prog rock. It has lots of edge, searingly good vocals from Lorenzo, and gets pretty heavy at times. Look, I won’t be dishonest with you: this sounds like Soundgarden mixed with Porcupine Tree, so if you like those bands, you’ll really like this.
That’s pretty much all I have to say. This album sounds more or less like their last album. It is a rocking good time, and I enjoy the raw nature of it. The opener “As I Leave” is an intense song that I really like, and “Consequence” is a lumbering sort of song with a good vocal duet. I can’t say that any of the other songs really stand out for me, but they are all solid and good. It doesn’t excite me, but I can’t fault it, either.
I honestly don’t jump at the sight of the genre “metalcore”. I’m not really a fan. Something made me pick up the new Beneath the Ruin album, though, and I have to say that it is a pleasant surprise. For me, it barely sounds like metalcore, so maybe that’s the reason. Anyways, This Thing a Quiet Madness Made released on October 21st.
The band includes Daniel Fido on vocals, Jordan James on guitars and programming, Scott Goode on guitars, Drey Sato-Toshiya Wallace on keys, Rory McDines on bass, and Liam Kempton-Robshaw on drums. The band plays a very melodic, more alternative sort of metal, one that might have some metalcore moments, but sounds more like post-metalcore, if that’s a thing yet. There are cinematic interludes that add plenty of personality, and some great vocal performances that round everything out into a solid and enjoyable offering.
My favorite in the first half is the melodic ballad “Delta-VII”, but the second half of the album is where it’s at, honestly. The title track is a beautiful balanced track with some rich emotions. “Vader” trades between haunting vocal auras and heavy guitars, and it’s a lot of fun. “Uprising” is a kinetic, driving track that sounds fresh. My favorite overall is the 7-minute “They Spoke in Dissonance” that closes the album. I had to adjust to how Daniel pronounces “dissonance”, but once I did, the rhythms and build up impressed me. I’ve been listening to that quite a bit.
Look, this is a good album. It has moments of brilliance, I’d say, and the more I listen, the more brilliant moments seem to surface. Beneath the Ruin is one band to watch.
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