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Richard Henshall: The Cocoon
Richard Henshall - The Cocoon Music Review

Richard Henshall: The Cocoon

Progressive Rock/Metal
4.0/5.0

If the name Richard Henshall has you scratching your head with thoughts of "where do I know that name from," let me help you out. The talented multi-instrumentalist is best known for his guitar and keybaord work for English progressive metal band Haken. (Light bulb flicks on.) While Haken is his primary gig, Henshall has worked with other prog outfits including To-Mera, The Nova Collective, and Opinaut. Now Henshall steps out on his own with his debut solo album, The Cocoon.

Richard Henshall - Click For Larger Image

Richard Henshall

While comparisons can be often unruly and unwarranted, I would say at the start: if you like anything Henshall has done with Haken, you will enjoy this album. Essentially, The Cocoon is an exercise in eclectic, eccentric, and experimental prog metal, with Henshall's equally frenetic and spry guitar work at the forefront. The guitarist visits and traverses through a myriad of styles, mostly blending rock, metal, and jazz into a complext fusion. More often his compositions are a rush of energetic guitar enthusiasm, huddled within a mass of kenetic drumming, synth ripples, and repressed vocals. For the title track you can drop in some blinding crazy saxophone work from Adam Carrillo. For the organized cacophony of Lunar Shadow, the irrepressible prog fusion rant is fitted with some subtle rapping by Ben Levin early on, then later journeyman guitarist Marco Sfogli drops a wicked solo. Underneath all this imagination and wizardry, Henshall somehow weaves in some melody and harmony to keep your mind and ears on track. However, you'll never find anything here to be overtly accessibile or radio friendly. But it's prog, and so it goes. In other words, with The Cocoon, Richard Henshall offers a musical whirlwind of invention and intrigue to give the most snobbish prog wonk a woody. Recommended for seasoned prog punters, mostly.


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The Bottom Line

With The Cocoon, Richard Henshall offers a musical whirlwind of invention and intrigue to give the most snobbish prog wonk a woody. Recommended for seasoned prog punters, mostly.

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