Exposé Online banner

Backhand — Through the Turbulence
((Not on label) , 2014, CD)

by Peter Thelen, Published 2014-09-25

Through the Turbulence Cover art

The eleven minute multi-part instrumental opening cut “Introspektion” by this Venezuelan five-piece featuring Canadian singer Phil Naro (of Druckfarben) is like a calling card that features a diverse collection of styles and some outstanding playing by everyone. The piece starts in earnest with some heavy metal chugga-chugga riffage mixed with with bombastic choral keyboard blasts before it finds its way into genuine symphonic prog territory, then in a quick scoop the listener is led away into a jazzy rock passage driven by keyboards, then onward into a sweet bluesy section that starts gently and slowly grows into full throttle blues rock, with the reappearance of those choral blasts and some truly outstanding lead guitar, full of power and emotion, all culminating an a massive coda, covering all the elements of a classic prog rock opus and more. Indeed, if the album ended right here it would alone be worth the price of admission. But it doesn’t.

For the remainder of the disc’s 76 minutes the listener will hear plenty of material that straddles mainstream prog (think Saga, later Kansas, Wall era Floyd, and post 90125 Yes) and straight-ahead classic rock, often punctuated with generous moments of instrumental brilliance. Naro’s vocals are a perfect match when the band is in this mode. Cuts like “The Big Red Wall,” “Me, Myself and I", ”Hold the Light” and “Crime Story” don’t really break much ground stylistically, staying too close to the all too comfortable and often hackneyed realm of accessible prog. The band throws some decent instrumentals in along the way that keep the fire of that opening track burning, like “Hardwood,” with its gentle and jazzy center section driven by piano and guitar. A couple other instrumental pieces that shine brightly are “Tears from the Sea,” with its emotional attack and melodic substance, and “Spider Riff,” a multi-part workout that shifts gears continuously as it goes through its six-plus minute duration. So there you have it; there are really two distinct albums here – one of commercial sounding vocal cuts, and another set of inspired instrumentals by a promising group of outstanding players and writers.


Filed under: New releases, 2014 releases

Related artist(s): Druckfarben, Backhand

Latest news

2018-07-31
Tomasz Stańko RIP – Tomasz Stańko, one of the greats of Eastern European jazz, has died at the age of 76. Stańko's career started in Krzysztof Komeda's quintet, where he contributed trumpet from 1963-1967, when he formed his own group. He worked extensively with Edward Vesala, Don Cherry, Zbigniew Seifert, Chico Freeman, Howard Johnson, Cecil Taylor, and many others. Many of his recordings have been released by ECM, an association that began in the mid-70s. » Read more

2018-07-09
Soft Machine Set to Release New Music – It's been 50 years since The Soft Machine changed the face of music with their first album. Their blend of psychedelic rock and jazz was unique, and while the band went through many changes before disbanding in 1981 — by which time there were no original members remaining — they remained an innovative force with a style all their own. » Read more

2018-07-01
7d Surfaces Happy Rhodes Back Catalog – We've covered singer Happy Rhodes before, both for her solo work and recently with The Security Project, but her 11 albums have been hard to track down. Until now. 7d features high-quality downloads of all her releases, and several of them are also available on CD. » Read more

2018-06-25
Fred Chalenor RIP – We have news of another sad passing in the world of creative music. Bassist Fred Chalenor, whose creativity featured on albums by Tone Dogs, Caveman Shoestore, and many more, died on June 23, 2018 after a long battle with Alzheimer's. Tributes have poured in from the many musicians and fans whose lives he touched. » Read more

2018-06-13
Jon Hiseman RIP – One of the great drummers of the rock era has died. Jon Hiseman was a veteran of such ground-breaking groups as Colosseum (I and II), Tempest, John Mayal's Bleusbreakers, and was a founding member of the innovative large band United Jazz + Rock Ensemble. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Stick Man - Fretless – On Neil Haverstick's ninth CD, he offers a compilation of all the fretless pieces from his previous CDs. Four of seven tracks exceed the ten-minute mark and feel improvised, sometimes enhanced with...  (2011) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues