Review by Adam M on April 18, 2018.
Howling Sycamore perform a jazzy progressive metal form of the metal genre that is quite interesting to behold. Right from the start of this recording we’re treated to an interesting flair with the use of horns. The early moments of the album are heavy and combine nicely with the horns for maximal impact.
It would be somewhat appropriate to compare this band to Nevermore even though they don’t use any horns in their recording. There is the same dark flavor to these tracks that would inhabit the best of Nevermore’s recordings. The style is still fairly unique because not many metal bands have performed it in this way. The album has to be impactful because it doesn’t last very long when the instrumental tracks have been taken into account. Even with a short running length, there is still some of the most interesting music of the year performed by this act. One can sense their goodness even from the line up alone which contains Hannes Grossman from Obscura and Alkaloid fame. The line up makes for a very complex grouping that can perform these frequently technical songs at the blink of an eye. The music here represents a progressive metal opus that has traditional trappings running through it. The vocals nicely match up with the music as they are high pitched and similar to Warrel Dane at times. They match the dark style of the music perfectly.
This band is somewhat strange sounding, yet able to maintain a normal enough sound to be quite impactful. Could the music be improved upon? Yes, there could be even more interesting passages interwoven into a longer running time, but this is mere speculation for the future of the band. They are still pushing boundaries and able to craft one of the more memorable experiences of the year so far. Fans of Nevermore and progressive metal with traditional tendencies will find something to like here.
Rating: 7.9 out of 10