Review Summary: A good introductory progressive metal album for fans new to the genre.
Some time ago, I was browsing through posts on the r/progmetal subreddit and came across someone who made his lifelong dream come true by making his first instrumental progressive metal album. I felt it was an uplifting post but did not take enough interest in it to give it a listen. From a twist of fate, I later found myself in the position of listening to and reviewing this album of his.
In its own way, this EP is special…in a lot of ways it isn’t. It is a catchy and progressive album that spans five songs and around 26 minutes in length. The best way I can describe what I hear on this album is as if modern progressive metal were deconstructed and broken down to its core elements, Jacob Wolfe took those elements and thoroughly rinsed out all the subgenre residuals, and gave us a fairly well-rounded prog metal EP. For experienced progressive metal fans, this will be something that you have heard before. For someone barely getting into the genre, this does an excellent job at briefly conveying the core instrumental style that has been popular over the past decade.
What one might get used to by constantly listening to a variety of metal subgenres are the dense walls of sound that many of the more extreme genres have. As much as this is an upside of heavier music, one often forgets the value of minimalism in music, especially in prog. This album does not over-complicate things, and the depth of sound in every slice of its music is very surface level. But in this case, the clarity of the album becomes one of its strengths as it allows the listener to be able to appreciate Jacob Wolfe‘s talented songwriting. The crisp, clean production of the album, in essence, gives the listener a casual and enjoyable experience with its music. This also makes the album a prime album recommendation for those who are intimidated by the complexity of progressive metal as a genre.
What one will hear is a solid synthesis of guitars and piano that make up the forefront of memorable moments on this album with Natalie Ahearn and Diego Tejeida (From Haken) providing the keys on the tracks: “JoyPerson” and “Laplace’s Demon”. While tracks like “And So It Has Come To Pass” and “Lavender Gray” give something for fans of heavier riffs and excellent guitar work.
For the readers who may be put off by the album’s straightforward approach to the genre, I want to elaborate on the fact that this album is not lacking in musical talent, creative riffs, or progressive compositions. The album, for as short as it is, provides the spectrum of moods and rhythms with keen musical harmony. Overall, the album is perfect for introducing someone to instrumental prog metal but may not have much to offer to the genre’s more experienced fans.