7 Oct 2016

Messenger: "Threnodies"

Immense sophomore effort from prog's shining star, a piece that is sufficiently on the heavy side to bring forth depth
The very nature of progressive music, or progressive rock for that matter, is always up for discussion. The concept is, in essence, hard to define. The still newly established Prog chart lists groups, musicians and bands from Radiohead, electronic music pioneer Jean Michel Jarre, heavy metal-rock leaders Katatonia and heavy metal warriors Grand Magus over avant-garde musician Brian Eno, progressive metal bands Dream Theater and Periphery, to classic acts like Electric Light Orchestra and Hawkwind. In the meantime, a new heavyweight in modern prog emerges from the shadows...

Messenger from the UK are nothing if not progressive. Their first album, Illusory Blues on Svart Records, established the band and their sound, essentially coalescing their concept in the exceptionally well-written single Somniloquist. With Thredonies, the group is back and ready to truly take rock music in a new direction.

"Their confident strums and staggering melodies ... echoes the providence, musical foresight and will to explore of bands such as a young incarnation of Deep Purple or Pink Floyd,"

Right from their trademark heavily distorted guitars, the group has found a niche among fans of heavy metal. Each song on Threnodies is like a translucent pearl of compartmentalised instrumentations and vocals, with thick lines drawn between them to create the most immersive compositions. Their confident strums and staggering melodies, delivered with a substantial feel for groove, echoes the providence, musical foresight and will to explore of bands such as a young incarnation of Deep Purple or Pink Floyd, but distilled through modern filters and sonic achievements to create a more up-to-date experience.

Fragile restraint meets wild, eddying flurries in a landscape whos myriad features achieve layers upon layers of haunting vocals, open-sky atmospheres and rock hard protrusions. Strong and jaw-rattling bass accentuates a coarse organ and the guitar's heavy-handed distortion, while also contrasting lead singer Khaled Lowe's rounded, deliberate and delicate voicings. The quintet's originality is rivalled only by their capacity to beguile.

True, Messenger dwell in a profound respect for the previous decades of musical history, losing themselves over and over in the experimentation and edge-seeking behaviours of the 60s and 70s, but only to accentuate and bring forth the originality that lies at their core. Their songs are tender pieces that borrow, sure, but in a combination that is moreso their own doing than that of their predecessors. Threnodies is heavier than what progressive rock usually is by tradition, held down by a mean bass and a destructive guitar. The album is, however, at the same time brought alof by several murals painted by song, organ, ambience and more that lends to their compositions tremendous depth.


Released in 2016 by Inside Out Music


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