Exposé Online banner

Firmament — Firmament
(Nooirax NOAC-99, 2016, CD)

by Jon Davis, Published 2017-05-12

Firmament Cover art

Heavy metal has always lent itself to what might be called progressive tendencies, and sometimes the dividing line between what’s called metal and what’s called prog is pretty arbitrary — just a matter of guitar tones, vocal style, and how often a double bass drum is used. This Spanish band falls decidedly on the metal side in regards to two of those factors — being instrumental, the vocals don’t enter into the picture — though at times they dial back the pummelling and could pass for prog. Firmament’s debut recording consists of four longish tracks named for the points of the compass, and each of them features numerous sections of varying mood. Parts delve pretty deeply into the sludge, with dropped tunings and dissonant grungy riffs at plodding tempos. Other parts brighten up the energy with faster speeds and nimble guitar parts or venture into calmer spaces with gentle arpeggios and less aggressive rhythms. My favorite track is “South,” which starts out with meditative chords picked on a clean-toned guitar while the second guitar provides a bluesy melody. It could almost pass for Pink Floyd. A couple of minutes in, they jump into a fast section with choppy chords and pounding bass drum. These two sections alternate to make up the bulk of the track, and in fact it is the simplest of the four directions, but this simplicity works well. I’m a listener who likes a heavy riff now and then, and likes to hear some tight coordination between bass, guitars, and drums, but I’m not fond of the majority of what passes for singing in the darker realms of metal, so an instrumental band like Firmament has a natural appeal. There are times when these tracks sound like the backing for something that hasn’t been added yet — a melodic lead would be welcome, be it a violin, sax, or keyboard. They’ve got a lot going for them, and I’ll be looking forward to hearing where it takes them.


Filed under: New releases, 2016 releases

Related artist(s): Firmament

Latest news

2021-02-14
SoundQuest Fest 2021 – SoundQuest Fest, first experienced as a live festival in Tucson Arizona in 2010 was created by ambient music pioneer Steve Roach. This 2021 event will unite a worldwide gathering of artists and audience members together for a 3-day online event unique in the realm of ambient music. From March 26-28th a continuous flow of streamed performances, audio-video wonder worlds and deep immersion zones will burn bright on Roach’s YouTube channel. » Read more

2021-02-10
Chick Corea RIP – The sad news has reached us that Chick Corea has Returned to Forever, so to speak. The innovative keyboardist and composer died on February 9 at the age of 79. With a career that spanned from the 60s until shortly before his death, Corea touched many listeners with the incredible variety of music he produced in his lifetime. » Read more

2021-01-18
Asia Minor Third Album on the Way – On January 29, AMS records will be releasing the long-awaited third album by classic Turkish-French band Asia Minor. Released last year in Japan, this will be the widespread debut of Points of Libration. The album features original members Setrak Bakirel (vocals, guitar) and Eril Tekeli (flute, guitar). » Read more

2020-12-09
Harold Budd RIP – Harold Budd, one of pre-eminent American composers of avant-garde and minimalism, has died of complications from the coronavirus. Budd came to prominence in the 70s, championed by Brian Eno on his Obscure Records label, with music that blended academic minimalism with electric jazz and electronic music. Much of Budd's best known work was done in collaboration with other artists, including Eno, Daniel Lanois, Robin Guthrie, Andy Partridge, John Foxx, Jah Wobble, and many others. » Read more

2020-11-20
25 Views of Worthing Finally Gets Released – A while ago, we wrote about the discovery of a "long lost" Canterbury-style gem by a band called 25 Views of Worthing. And now we're pleased to find out that Wind Waker Records has released their music on an LP. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Niacin - Niacin & High Bias – The cover of the first Niacin shows the venerable Hammond B3, a creature of legend. So you get an idea what you are in for. Who is Niacin? I think this would be called a "pet project" where...  (1999) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues