Being a progressive rock site, itís hard to set boundaries for the genre. What can be regarded as prog rock and related music and what goes beyond? For me, being a very open-minded music lover, those boundaries go real far. Iím always prepared to listen to new music, so letís welcome this Polish contribution to our reviews.
Proghma-C started in 2002 as a trio with Paweł 'Smaga' Smakulski on guitar and synths, Michał 'Vaski' Gůrecki on bass guitar and Łukasz 'Kuman' Kumański on drums. They experimented with sounds influenced by a variety of musical genres like progressive metal, death metal, ambient, trance, pop and everything they could get their hands on. Adding the fourth dimension, as they call it themselves, they brought in a vocalist named Piotr 'Bob' Gibner. Bar-Do Travel is their debut album released at the end of 2009 on the Mystic-label. The live concerts of this colourful band are a multi-media spectacle, for the band uses VJ Maja Kuta for creating a special atmosphere.
The album takes you on a trip with an opening in the best Tool-tradition. You have a tendency to think that the masters themselves are playing here, but the guitars are slightly heavier more like Korn. More ultra heavy guitars follow with spoken words. This is definitely Tool-influenced, but still different. The vocals sometimes are very close to the voice of Maynard James Keenan, but a second later, Piotr produces some heavy grunting vocals to end as an atmospheric soundscape. At some points this band has some influences of their fellow-countrymen of Riverside and the Tool/Riverside- combination certainly has its charm. Most of the songs have the heavy death metal grunting, so thatís going to make this album not accessible to everyone.
The combination of the aforementioned influences plus the likes of A Perfect Circle and Slipknot all together mixed with atmospheric soundscapes, works out fine for me, but I can imagine that the dark and grunting vocals make people hesitate to buy this album. Therefore, I would recommend this album to the more open-minded metal lovers. The music has a tremendous feel and is produced very well. All instruments sound great in the mix and on top and the vocals stand out when they have to. Brutal post progressive metal, you could call this. Itís nice to bang your head once in a while! Please pay special attention to the BjŲrk-cover Army Of Me, which combines all the aforementioned influences and even adds the floating bass of the Ozric Tentacles in the middle-section. However, the feel of the song remains typical BjŲrk. It definitely caused a big smile on my face. Well done!
*** Pedro Bekkers (edited by Peter Willemsen)
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