Welcome to the musical world and meandering insight of Aaron Joy, aka the Joyful Gadfly! This blog is no longer as active as it has been, so look for but a small handful of reviews every month of interesting & unique rock and metal - post-1980, any style, mainstream & indie. Support the bands by buying their music. Please share these reviews or link to them if you like what you read. Comments appreciated. (Formerly the Roman Midnight Music Blog)
(Click on heading to visit official website.) Style: instrumental, progressive Label: self-released Year: 2007 Home: North Carolina
Members: Brad Rogers ~ guitar/synthesizer/loops Key Andrew, Dan Rosado ~ bass Mike Rosado ~ drums Eric Earnst ~ drums/percussion Tommy Hunt ~ cello
Instrumental rock is a tricky game to play, particularly if you're not a Yngwie-esque guitar slinger, as lots of bands funk, trip, rock & splash with great talent but due to the lack of a vocal presence fail to grab the listener. It's almost as if the secret is to not just show off one's technical prowess but also some creative prowess ... because having extended flaming guitar solos does not always equal creative. On their debut EP AGLM have tried to show their creativity by aiming for underheard progressive space rock, crafted something akin to a missing Hawkwind instrumental album. Or, more aptly, with the swirling keyboards in the background it could be Hawkwind meets Bill Laswell (i.e. "Threshold"). Though, having written that the second track "The Cleansing" might find a better home as a bridge in a tune by John McLaughin's Shakti with his low-key hypnotic repetition. "Duality" & "Just Be" follow the same hypnotic trail with a strummed guitar quasi-dueting with a cello only to launch into invigorated distorted Hawkwind choruses. The cello is a welcomed addition to the line-up adding an interesting layer to the mix. Some instrumental bands go for flash & pyrotechnics, but AGLM have gone an alternative route good for a laid back night with some friends & a little weed as the music softly floats into the air in no rush. "Threshold" & "The Cleansing" feature the rhythm section of brothers Mike & Dan Rosado to be replaced by Key Andrew, Eric Earnst & Tommy Hunt on "Duality" & "Just Be" but, except for a slight difference in production quality & the fact that Andrew takes things slower on the bass, which could be as much a reflection of the composition as his playing, there's little to distinguish the two line-ups. Actually, if anything the two Andrew-Earnst-Hunt songs sound more alike than different, particularly given the same slow pace & single note guitar playing, that back to back they sound like one eleven minute song. But, maybe that's the secret to disguising a line-up change. Since the recording of this debut they changed once again by adding a fifth member Dave Milan on keyboards & guitar. Though, there will be no disguising an additional guitar.