Local band does good on the Prog Frontier, instrumental style from Toronto. I’ve always found instrumental bands in Prog or any genre for me to be either a hit or miss and rarely in between. I scored this business card with a redemption code on the back of it whilst attending the Steven Wilson concert on Tuesday from I’m guessing one of the band members standing outside saying “Free music?” and trying to give away these cards to which I gladly accepted. I prefer my Prog to have vocals in it but now and then you get bands like the majority of Post Rock to be instrumental and you get surprised by how much you sometimes don’t need vocals, the instruments ARE the voice.
Such is the case with “Earth’s Yellow Sun” a local band that are pushing their way through the mindless clap trap of today’s commercial sell out bands that come and go out of style like Donald Trump’s toupees but I digress, and now back to our regularly scheduled programming…. PROG! So I ventured to play this album I had just graciously received form the band and I was quite chuffed at what i heard coming out of my speakers to a delightful smile upon my face and happy to know that this city isn’t dead for this kind of music. So I looked them up and emailed them and asked for bio to which for my writing sins I got one. A 2014 debut Ep titled “Prologue” was released and this gave them the gumption to carry forth the Prog torch and continue creating to what has led us to this album, “The Infernal Machine“.
“Part I – Assembly“, the albums genesis and inception song bringing us in to the world that is EYS and how they are welcoming us to their happy place or at least the little corner in which they project from which is more than most bands get nowadays, so let’s go on in and hear what Assembly is all about. Immediately I am struck with thoughts of Gentle Giant and King Crimson moments with the piano and violin then the guitars and drums pound up and over to fill in the meatier aspects of it and the music then takes off in to a heavy Prog ensemble over flowing your senses with a heavy steam roller action groove as they carry onward. It forms in to a more 90’s Crimson heaviness with that Gentle Giant classical angle applied to it brilliantly bringing in the avant-garde ingredients to the mix then throw in some jazz sax and some deep canyon synths with a proto-metal drum pattern that is tighter than some of the avenues in downtown Toronto and Bass notes that make the Kraken awake from its watery slumber along with guitar solos; short, blistered and soaring above the clouds to fly you off in to a cerebral abyss of sound. A Prog journey completed indeed with a great opener that really packs a punch to the genre. “Part II – Unveiling” is up next and bounces in with a cacophony of sound and what sounds more like the machinery starting up before it kicks in to another piece of well executed Prog construction. The drummer has a great use of the double kick here as he hammers it out for guitar, synths and bass to have carte-blanche of the floor so-to-speak. Heavier in this song the band takes the title literally as they drop riffs and waves of Prog-metal to the foreground with some killer guitar solos and synths that have a structure based around effects that then pull and snap notes out of the haze to create an impressive effect of electronic use.
“Part III – Betrayal” an angry start off to this one with a bite that matches its bark and takes no prisoners whatsoever. The synths create an eerie backdrop for mayhem and distrust and the drums pound and slam the gates down as the guitars and bass swing notes like axes and swords of disgust. This is more in the realm of the math rock, Prog metal facet of Prog and they apply the Prog recipe quite well here with the start/stops, timbre/tempo changes that send shivers up and down your spine….after they have severed it from your body! This track is as gentle as an open wound as its dark and ominous clouds rain hellfire over the air in your room and annihilate your senses to a burnt bloody crisp. A great fighting track for any battle you want to overtake and win. “Part IV – Bastion” emerges out of the smouldering ashes of what Betrayal has left in its wake with the discordant fuzz of a television set’s dial being fiddled with as we hear the faint sound of a lone acoustic guitar coming through the fog and the band joining in with a distant Eastern feel to it; tablas, atonal notes, violin from aeons ago coming back to life to sing its sojourn as it breathes more life in to this piece. A short but necessary piece of Prog that has added flavours to the mix of the record and creates a wonderful segue in to “Part V – Rapture“. The final song in the album that holds nothing back as the whole band allows the full sound to take shape very early on. Reminiscent of the 90’s Neo-Metal bands like Korn & Tool to give you the feel of lumbering giants walking around the world claiming what they want. The horns in this song are also very nostalgic from the late 70’s early 80’s period in Toronto when one would hear the Shuffle Demons or Pigbag playing with their horn section giving off jazzy avant-garde riffs that were quick but meaningful and direct to your head. The guitar solo in this song also has its place within the realms of wonder here as the sound of the nouveau Prog style of bands like Dream Theater and Queensryche that was well written just for this song. Guitar solos in Prog are not generic by any means and EYS has made it very evident in their music that they are any but generic which is a pleasure to hear in Neo-Prog bands like this.
I truly enjoyed this album and see that the band has great potential as they carry forth their Prog torches and bear witness to the world of Prog. With 2016 and the future ahead for this band the aspirations of their next Prog offering will be well anticipated and received by the Toronto public, including myself even though I’m from Scarborough!
I will leave you with their rendition of “The Ecstasy of Gold” from “The Good, The Bad and The Ugly” soundtrack, one of my all time favourite films and soundtracks btw ; ) and they do it superbly I must say. Enjoy