Wednesday, December 13, 2017

rapid reaction: Hyvmine

[by MMB]
Seek and Strike
19 January 2018
This publication has previously reported on the activities of the guitar wizard Al Joseph. One issue that came up with Al was that he used to sing and play guitar for the progressive metal band The Great Gamble, but that was years ago and he has become known for his guitar work, guitar lessons and two instrumental albums. It is probably accurate to say that a portion of his fans do not even know that Al used to sing or that he can sing. This publication recently brought up the topic of vocals and Al did not reveal much, but there was something interesting hinted at: that he was not finished singing, that singing was not left behind, even though many people have not heard it.
Well, well, well, Al is back on the mic, singing! My reaction was: "I knew it, I knew it! I knew he would not be able to leave it behind!"
I have had two days with the album. Here's my quick take. This is a whole new beast, and if you have heard Al's instrumental albums, just expect something different, something heavier. The music is prog in a general sense; it's rather heavy, heavier than the instrumental albums and the guitar playing sounds totally different, to me. This has more chugging, and more groove. Of course, there are lots of melodies because that's part of Al's style. Be that as it may, this is something new and different, in my opinion.
What about the singing? I wonder why he has not been singing all along. Speaking for myself, I like the style of singing and Al brings different layers to vocals. The softer backing vocals are very nice on the ear, very smooth, but Al can wail, too. Some of the singing sounds very American: a bit angry, a bit frustrated. Then, he can go into more melodic segments. There are also some traits of the singing that undoubtedly come from Al's personal influences of what he loves in singing.
Anyway, that's all I'm going to say for the moment. This album is coming up soon, so prog supporters will probably want to tell Santa to put this album on the list.
1.Shift 3:54
2.Mirror Master 4:30
3.Shogun 5:38
4.All Of Creation 4:57
5.Earthquake 4:41
6.Fire Escape 4:04
7.Elysium 4:31
8.Great Divide 5:41
9.Cliffhanger 5:12

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