Album: The Maze Within
Genre: Instrumental Progmetal
Release Date: April 9th 2021
It’s been a few weeks since I came across PLEXIMENTS, the project of Russian guitarist and composer Evgen Tsibulin, thanks to a recommendation. The first song I heard – “Mental Prisoner” – caught me immediately and made be really curious about his debut “The Maze Within”, which was set to release on April 9th. It's a concept album, dealing with our inner selves and the voices, that could speak words of encourage, sometimes words of blame, or maybe be so intrusive that we want it to shut up forever. Trying to understand them can be like walking inside a maze, searching for an exit. Whether we get lost into it, or if we can leave behind anxiety, self-criticism or mediocracy depends on a strong decision, and Evgen impressively describes the wandering on these winding paths with his music.
PLEXIMENTS offers a wide variety of styles, as well as a high creativity in song-writing, but always with an amazing flow. The most striking element is the fantastic guitar playing, that alternates between heavy, aggressive, virtuosic, and very smooth when needed, sometimes even with some Spanish vibes. Mixing electric and acoustic guitars gives the sound something special here. The drums support the songs perfectly with a great, varied rhythmic, as well as the bass, which also brings in some amazing solo parts. The piano is very present and a real listening pleasure. Even though this is an instrumental release, you can hear clean and harsh vocals in the middle section, representing the voices and thoughts “Inside the Maze”, but at some points, they are the only little weakness on this otherwise very impressive first effort. Did anyone ask for more Saxophone in metal? You can have a bit of it here as well.
All-together, “The Maze Within” is an incredible debut album: step in and see where PLEXIMENTS will lead you. But beware, you might get caught and maybe don’t want to find out anymore, as the music is mesmerizing. Talking for myself, I feel a strong need to return and discover more of it.
Album: Rule of 3
Genre: Instrumental fusion
Release Date: December 11th, 2020
Do you like your music groovy, sophisticated, yet melodic? Here we go with the instrumental fusion trio 3RULES BAND and their debut album "Rule of 3", which was released on December 11th, 2020. Initially started in 2017 by Jason Rullo, who is best known as fantastic drummer for mighty Symphony X, he joined forces with bassist Artha Meadors and guitarist Ron Sanborn, who became also the main songwriter. All three musicians bring in a myriad of influences like R&B, funk and jazz (just to name a few besides metal), excellent technical skills and lots of experience.
The cover artwork is puristic with only logo and title on it, and so are the accompanying videos, that focus on the musicians without any distractions (which is very impressive by the way). Let's do the same with the music, as it deserves full attention.
"Rule of 3" contains nine songs with an incredible groove, from heavy over jazzy to funky. Guess it’s no surprise when I tell you that the drumming is excellent, and it’s great to hear all these versatile sides of Jason’s playing. The bass lines are so smooth (like on “Tropic is a Dancer” for example), it’s a huge listening pleasure, and the next moment, Artha pushes the songs forward with lots of pressure. Same for the guitar, whith Ron offering a wide range of sounds and styles, plenty of serious shredding and beautiful melodies.
You can hear a lot of highly technical playing from all three musicians, but always as a unit, and with serving the songs. If you have a soft spot for sophisticated, varied, but still accessible music, you shouldn’t sleep on this one.
EP: Project Nebula: Chapter I
Genre: Instrumental Progmetal
Release Date: April 7th 2021
ALESSIO GIACOMI is a guitarist and composer from Italy, who describes himself as followed: “My music reflects, since I was 13, what my eyes see... my guitar what my voice wants to say... We are all here on this planet to express what we are in a unique way. This is mine.” With his debut “Project Nebula: Chapter I” (available for streaming since April 7th), he gives a first impression of his art, and as this EP is part of a trilogy, Chapter II and III can be expected in June and July. On the current release, the five tracks tell of an escape from imprisonment, of nostalgia, melancholy, and the necessity to express without impediments and constraints.
The overall mood of “Project Nebula” is dark with a certain heaviness, which is mainly caused by the rough guitar tone and the background harmonies building up tension. Moving between slower and more groovy, mid-tempo parts, he manages to keep the music always interesting. Even though there are repetitive sections, they come with a constant transformation, and it's awesome how the songs slowly but surely evolve without losing pressure. From time to time, brighter moments shine through, when he lies beautiful, instrumental melodies over the soundscapes with a warm guitar sound, or just some blinking tones. My favorite songs are "Breathless" and "Subject Zero" because of their great dynamic and varied rhythmic.
But the music tells way more as I can describe with my words, so I'd recommend to give "Chapter I" a spin to experience it by yourself – best enjoyed with headphones, and some time to dive in.