Fractal Control – Disconnection Equals Freedom

Self-released, 2014

Instrumental rock that mixes punk and metal in abrasive, interesting ways, this one is fierce and yet also melodic, where noisy guitar solos, sound bites and gentle pianos paint a mysterious, unusual picture. Though they dip into crunchy post-hardcore moments, they also aren’t far off from intricate prog-rock, then throw caution to the wind with thrashy, chaotic intensity. It might leave you scratching your head in confusion, but also inclined to listen repeatedly.

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Jack Jeffery – Enlightened Horizon

Self-released, 2014

Jeffery takes cues from the ’60s and ’70s here, using a wide range of influences from folk to New Age to classic rock, all while plugging in strong singing amid equally strong instrumentation. Though he occasionally steps into prog-rock, his guitar work also dabbles with grunge while the atmosphere gets dreamy and ambient. If Waters, Bowie and Lennon are names that mean anything to you, this is a must listen.

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Tapebenders – Chasing Ghosts

Self-released, 2014

This reminded me of the sonic rock of Abandoned Pools, the guitar strumming of Sensefield, and the vocals of Doug Martsch, which is certainly not a bad thing. Mostly loud with enough energy to fill a stadium, Chasing Ghosts occasionally retreats to quieter, spacey atmospheres, as the band play both sides of the equation. File this under progressive psyche/alt-rock, as well as unknown band you need to familiarise yourself with.

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Protest The Hero – Volition

Razor & Tie, 2013

PTH’s brand of progressive metal is at a new creative high on their 4th album, with vocal acrobatics, furious guitar licks, and a kinetic rhythm section that shifts from intense metal to pianos and violins. Taking an in-depth journey into punk, ’80s metal, prog-rock and hardcore, there’s a skilled use of melody versus jarring abrasiveness, as each song finds a new identity while still being tied down to their trademark sound. This one should bring in many new fans, and for good reason.

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Chris Forsyth – Solar Motel

Paradise Of Bachelors, 2013

Forsyth calls his work ‘Cosmic Americana’, and if by that he means mesmerising guitar rock that is both experimental and artistic without pretension, then I have to agree. Divided into four parts, the tracks run long in both duration and ideas, but never out stay their welcome. From classic rock wailing to prog-rock meandering to creative indie-rock, this one has plenty of textures brewing, with a constant influx of sonic surprises.

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Halaska – Mayantology

Self-Released, 2013

Calling this math rock might be a severe understatement; Halaska’s idea of song structure puts them in a league all of their own. This first LP is beyond experimental, and moves on with a post-everything feel while alluding to free jazz, avant-garde rock and moments of carefully calculated noise. One might think something this meticulous would alienate the listener, but somehow Mayantology is instantly catchy – and don’t even get me started on that rhythm section…

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