Coshish – Firdous (Review)

CoshishCoshish are from India and play Progressive Rock that is very well put together and realised.

Lighter than most of the bands reviewed on this site; this is for moments of introspection and contemplation, and fans of Tool, Porcupine Tree, (new) Opeth and (elements of) Orphaned Land should lap this up.

Firdous is an involved concept album documenting a young man’s journey towards attaining Mukti, (liberation or release), and the lyrics are entirely in Hindi. This story spills out into the detailed artwork and even the tracklisting, where the optimal order of the tracks is a puzzle to solve using clues from the complete digipak artwork. A lot of thought has gone into this release.

None of which would matter a damn if the music didn’t meet these high standards, but it so obviously does from the first track onwards. Coshish create a rich tapestry of sound and impression via expansive Progressive Rock.

The songs are very well crafted and full of an array of instrumentation and harmonic flourishes. The content of the compositions is warm and textured, and the tracks uplift and hearten without sounding trite.

The vocals are highly melodic and accomplished, providing the icing on the proverbial cake throughout this delicious album.

As Progressive Rock goes this is an exquisite release brimming with delicacies to satisfy even the most jaded palette. If this is to your taste then there is a feast to be had with Firdous. Eat up.

Manes – Teeth, Toes And Other Trinkets (Review)

ManesNorwegian band Manes have released this anthology album that collects together alternative versions, unreleased, obscure and live songs.

This is of the Avant-Garde style, replete with dark melodicism and atmosphere. It’s heavy on the electronics and effects, both of which are used skilfully to craft memorable songs and melodies.

Even if these tracks are essentially B-sides, the talent of the band is still apparent. Combined with the soulful, melancholic vocals the tracks portray the same kind of depth and nostalgic feelings as some of the best of 80’s pop/Darkwave music.

Some of the songs are unfinished or works-in-progress, but as a whole the album works surprisingly well and doesn’t sound as disjointed as one might expect from a release of this nature.

A quality band with quality songs; even though they are off-cuts this is an enjoyable collection. This should appeal to more than just completists and also serves to adequately whet the appetite for the next album that this always-evolving band release.

Starsoup – Bazaar of Wonders (Review)

StarsoupRussian band Starsoup play Progressive/Power Metal.

First off it must be noted that the singer can sing. I mean really sing. He has a brilliant voice; powerful and full of passion. Pretty much any band backing him up would need to be on their A-game to avoid letting the side down. We’re safe though as the rest of the band can play. I mean really play. Together both voice and music create the full package that an album like this promises.

The songs are well-written and catchy, with the band being talented enough to be able to explore many different versions of what this type of music and related-genres have to offer. Sometimes we get some Euro-power Metal; sometimes the songs take more of a progressive edge; sometimes we have a more modern Soilwork-style approach; sometimes a ballad; I could go on. Suffice to say that there is plenty of variety in this album while at the same time nothing sounds out of place.

This is the band’s first album but it doesn’t sound like it; this sounds like a highly confident, professional band who have been honing their music for many years and through many albums.

Bazaar of Wonders is a very musical album; the talent on display here is obvious. Multiple instruments are used to make the most of the atmosphere and feelings for each individual song, and even though there are plenty of solos and classical moments, there is no showing off; just the needs of the song to make everything sound as good as possible.

An unexpected pleasure – if this genre tickles your fancy then there is absolutely nothing to not like here. This band deserve to be much, much bigger and could easily fit into the biggest stadiums in Europe given half a chance. Highly recommended.

Strauss – Strauss (Review)

straussStrauss are a Metal/Stoner band from UK and this is their first EP.

This band are on a mission to deliver the most fuzzed-up, dirtied-up, Metalled-up Rock there is. A band like this can easily fall short if they lack passion or attitude but Strauss have both of these. This is thanks in large part to the vocalist who injects a heady amount of personality into his singing that’s a real pleasure to listen to.

The music is not found slouching though – driving, riff-heavy Rock with a covering of old-school Metal that really hits the spot. I was always a big fan of Hard Words Softly Spoken by Jerkstore and this EP gives me the same kind of feelings as that.

But enough about the characterful vocals, and no more about the whiskey-soaked instruments; what about the actual songs? That most important of things? Fear not; the songs are here, and they’re ready to dance. A surly, belligerent and sleazy dance, but a dance nonetheless.

They’re also confident enough to play and experiment with their sound. A few widdly bits here, a few explorations there. It all adds up and forces you to notice that yes, there is more going on here than just _____-worship. The last track in particular Stop Pause and Play is of particular interest. I hope they build on this for future releases, as this could be truly something special.

If your tastes bend to this genre then I would heartily recommend giving Strauss a listen. Highly promising.

Xerath – II

xerathIIElements of djent, atmospheric black metal, and modern metal collide to create a hugely enjoyable 56 minutes-or-so of music.  Like all good albums it’s a grower too and takes its time to worm its way into your subconscious.

Favourite track? The last one – The Glorious Death: I – Divine Rapture, II – A New Awakening – 8:33 of cinematic metal that makes me very happy I discovered this talented band.

Interested?  Check them out  –