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

2020-01-21
Gong Announces UK Tour for 2020 – Having spent the last few years touring the world, including dates in Japan with psych legend Steve Hillage, multiple headline European tours and festivals, America’s Cruise to the Edge festival, a South America headline tour, and a headline performance at Tomorrow Festival in China, the band have won the hearts of both traditional and modern Gong fanbases. During this live journey, Gong has delved further into the truly psychedelic, exploratory, and mind-expanding side of the music. » Read more

2020-01-15
Carlos Alvarado RIP – Carlos Alvarado, pioneering composer, multi-instrumentalist and pioneer of progressive rock and electronic experimental music in Mexico, passed away January 14th, 2020 at age 68 after a two year battle with cancer.  » Read more

2020-01-12
Wolfgang Dauner RIP – Pianist Wolfgang Dauner, one of the pioneers of both European free jazz and jazz rock, has died at the age of 84. With his own groups and with the United Jazz+Rock Ensemble, his playing and compositions were a prominent presence in European jazz from the mid-60s until just recently. » Read more

2020-01-12
Michael Allison RIP – Michael Allison, who since 1997 has been recording as Darshan Ambient, passed away on January 9th after a long and brave battle with cancer. He has been at at the forefront of the new ambient/electronic music scene, with over eighteen releases to his credit. » Read more

2020-01-10
Neil Peart RIP – One of rock music's defining drummers has died at the age of 67. Neil Peart's work with Rush provided one of the templates for percussion in rock, and he certainly ranks in the top ten most influential drummers of the 20th Century. Peart retired from playing in 2015 due to health issues, and succumbed to brain cancer on January 7, 2020. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Poor Richard - Knees, Reins & Feet – As the debate over the meaning of the word "progressive" (as it applies to rock music) continues, the loosest interpretations generally define it as anything that eschews the mainstream...  (1994) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues