Resonaxis — Hymnarium
(Indidem IND003, 2012, CD)
by Henry Schneider, Published 2013-09-27In the land down under there is a relatively new band that is producing some of most unique progressive music you will ever hear. Who would have ever thought of combining heavy metal guitar, melodic bass, hard-hitting percussion, a choral singer, and a pipe organ? Not I, but this combination works amazingly well and the result is an alchemical mixture of progressive rock, heavy metal, and Renaissance music. Given that a pipe organ is not an instrumental that is easily moved, I find it incredible to me that Resonaxis can tour and perform live! Of course they find venues with an installed organ such as the Sydney Opera House, St. James’ Church, and St. Stephens’ Newtown. The band is Brooke Shelley (soprano voice), David Drury (organist), Matt Roberts (drums), Richard Hundy (guitar), and Adam Bodkin (bass). There is an overall Gothic feel to the disc that brings immediate comparisons to Italian progressive music. The opening track “Monsignor Loss” is also a particularly gruesome song “(he) broke my sternum, reached in his hand, and gouged out a hole.” Aside from the subject matter, Drury’s keyboard skills are majestic and propelled by Hundy’s guitar work. The second track, “Hymn,” is interesting as it alternates between progressive metal and vocals akin to a Gregorian chant. The high points for me are “Wachet Auf”; “Hymn 2,” with some crazed organ playing calling to mind Vincent Price; “Mysterium,” sung in Latin, with Metallica styled guitar mixed low to allow Brooke’s vocals to shimmer; and the closing track “Akasha” with more chanting and whispered voices. Brooke’s soprano draws some comparisons to Jacqui McShee of Pentangle, and her voice works well in a choral setting or when she is harmonizing. However, as a soloist Brooke needs a bit more grit and emotion to enable her to stand out. As it is, I find myself tiring of her voice, which is unfair to the band and their music.
Related artist(s): Resonaxis
Larry Coryell RIP – One of the greats of jazz guitar has left us at the age of 73. Larry Coryell was one of the founding figures of jazz fusion, but produced a significant body of work the bridged many styles. His group Eleventh House provided a unique take on the combination of jazz and rock that was distinct from contemporaries such as Mahavishnu Orchestra, Return to Forever, and Weather Report. » Read more
John Wetton RIP – After a long battle with colon cancer, singer and bassist John Wetton has died at the age of 67. As an integral member of such bands as King Crimson, UK, and Asia, his was one of the distinctive voices in progressive rock, lending a human touch to often difficult music. » Read more
Seaprog Announces First Artists for 2017 – The organizers of the Seaprog Festival in Seattle have announced the first set of confirmed performers for the 2017 festival. The best known names are Cabezas de Cera and Jack o' the Clock, but a host of other bands are featured, mostly from the Northwest. The festival will take place June 2-4, 2017. » Read more
Acoustic Festival of Britain 2017 Announces Eclectic Lineup – The Acoustic Festival of Britain has been going since 2006, and this year's event sees a number of outstanding artists on the bill. Fairport Convention, Tir na nOg, and Martin Turner are some of the artists we've covered, and there are many more, including The Men They Couldn't Hang, Howard Jones, Chantel McGregor, and many more. The festival runs June 2-4, 2017 at Uttoxeter Racecourse in Staffordshire. » Read more