Mater Thallium — Abandoned by the Sun
(Autumnsongs Records AR014CD, 2014, CD)
by Henry Schneider, Published 2014-10-02Abandoned by the Sun, subtitled the album to end the summer, is the new album by Scandinavian band Mater Thallium. This is a concept album about the dubious disappearance of a 15-year old girl causing a downward spiral and ripple effect that threatens to ruin the lives of everyone close to her. This progressive and adventurous album alternates between brutal doom and sublime passages. The disc opens with “Sudden Dereliction” to the sound of sea gulls, rusted hinges, and pastoral flute, to be replaced with heavy metal doom guitar. I find the second track “Suicidium” to be one of the best on the album. It is a pseudo-requiem with a male and female chorus and organ. “Exiled Witness” begins with the sound of an opening door and footsteps leading to Mellotron strings and guitars. This song alternates between dark sinister moments and quiet passages, much like a King Crimson arrangement. Another strong song is “Maternal Mortality.” This song is beautiful in its dreaminess and brutality. There are many other sinister elements throughout adding to the despair of losing a child without getting any answers. The album closes with the nine-minute “Finite” that gives some glimpse into what really happened that fateful day, but leaving it sufficiently open to interpretation. In 2013 Erik Andås (bass and backing vocals) and Geir Venom Larzen (guitar, drums, and vocals), two members of the Procosmian Fannyfiddlers, got together with Håkon Markussen (keyboards and backing vocals), Petter Falk (lead vocals), and Mette Jensen (vocals and flute) to form Mater Thallium. After their debut release last year, they immediately began work on Abandoned by the Sun. Given this prolific output, I expect to be hearing more of their old-school heavy prog rock in the near future.
First ProgStock Festival Set for October – October 2017 will see the inaugural edition of a festival called ProgStock in Rahway, New Jersey at the Union County Performing Arts Center. With a definite slant towards neo-progressive music, the event is sure to please many fans with the inclusion of such artists as Echolyn, Glass Hammer, and Aisles. The festival will take place October 13-15. » Read more
Clive Brooks RIP – Word reaches us today of another sad passing in the music world. Drummer Clive Brooks, best known as a member of such Canterbury bands as Egg, Uriel / Arzachel, and Groundhogs, has died at the age of 67. Details are sketchy at this point. The news was reported on Nick Mason's Facebook page — Brooks was Mason's drum tech. » Read more
Col. Bruce Hampton RIP – The phrase "He died doing what he loved" is almost a cliche, but in the case of Col. Bruce Hampton, it couldn't be more true. Hampton, who was born Gustav Berglund III, collapsed on stage at his own 70th birthday celebration and later passed away. The event took place at the Fox Theater in Atlanta. » Read more
ProgDay 2017 Announces First Bands – Flor de Loto, Sonar, and Infinien are the first three performers to be announced for the 2017 edition of the long-running ProgDay Festival. The 23rd ProgDay takes place Saturday and Sunday, September 2nd and 3rd, at Storybook Farm in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. » Read more
Allan Holdsworth RIP – Surely in the list of artists who have contributed to the sound of modern music, there is a special spot for guitarist Allan Holdsworth. His name is known to virtually every student of the instrument in jazz and rock, and his style has been so widely emulated that it's hardly worth mentioning anymore — we can just assume that every guitarist has Holdsworth as an influence. » Read more