Here's a pleasant and entertaining surprise: the debut disc from Brazil's Maestrick, Unpuzzle. This talented band has the exceptional ability to offer a mix of melodic progressive rock and metal with ethnic musical nuances that is lively, engaging, and keeps you interested across the album.
Prog listeners know those characteristics are a rare gift. No amount of technical prowess will save a band or album if the songs aren't well-crafted and engaging. This album is chock full of clever compositions that are simply enjoyable.
And sometimes these songs throw you a curve. At the start H.U.C. begins as this heavy progressive metal number, with a few death growls thrown into make you skeptical of what you're going to get with the whole. But, about midpoint, this drops for some piano followed by something more akin melodic prog rock, sounding lively and bouncy. Later the strangely titled Yellown Of The Ebrium, lead by piano once again, sounds like some strange brew of prog, blues, and a Thirties torch song, complete with some female vocals and a touch of Spanish guitar. If anything Maestrick is creative.
Those ethnic influences return musically in Pescador and Aquarela, but also because the lyrics are in Maestrick's native Portuguese. While obviously not my first language, it still does not distract from the music, especially with the exceptionally delightful Pescador, which is less prog and more Brazilian melodic rock with a prog flair.
More surprises come with Sir Kus (say it out loud) and Puzzler, where the music goes from circus calliope to carnival bouncy. More traditional melodic prog comes with Disturbia, Treasures of the World, and Smilesnif. That's not to say they don't have the twists found in other songs. Only that they offer those things in what some would call conventional melodic progressive rock. Yet, the tour-de-force piece has to be the closing song, Lake of Emotions. At over 21 minutes, it's a massive undertaking that does not disappoint by becoming burdensome in it's length. It's ambitious, but keeps you engaged and entertained much like peers Dream Theater and Spock's Beard could do in the same period of time.
Final mention should be made of Fabio Caldeira excellent voice and vocal arrangements, the rich piano, drum, bass work throughout, and also the crisp production. With Unpuzzle, for a first effort, Maestrick has hit the ball out of the park. This is creative, engaging, and terrific melodic progressive rock. Strongly recommended.
With Unpuzzle, for a first effort, Maestrick has hit the ball out of the park. This is creative, engaging, and terrific melodic progressive rock. Strongly recommended.
Mat Sinner is both an icon and legend in the German, and the larger European, hard rock and heavy metal scene. Cranking out music since 1982, Sinner is an industrious and prolific musician and producer whether through his namesake band, the heavy metal heroes Primal ... [ Read More ]