Tuesday, May 5, 2015


Long distance greetings and heartfelt thanks for coming back one more time fellow progheads!  Last week was a thrill and got my prog juices flowing...but now my mood is shifting and I have a hankering for something hard-fitting, fast, and distinct.  Although I've taken the Concert Closet across most of the dry land incorporating this planet, this week I get to stick a new location pin into the proverbial prog-tracking map.  Welcome to Latvia and the hard-hitting sounds of Theatrum.

Theatrum is direct and straight to the point...their bio describes them as a "...Latvian progressive metal band."  Time to find out if their music is as "cut-to-the-chase" and succinct as their Twitter page.  Stepping immediately to the prog buffet for a little "Latvian cuisine," I am hit head-on with a song called "Contemptible."  The music opens in a hard-driving mood; strong horns, drums that hammer the inside of your ear canals, and guitars that wrap themselves around the entire piece create a ramrod designed to penetrate deep.  When the vocals materialize you feel ready for battle. Theatrum takes you through so many time changes, mood swings, dark alleys, and brightly lit auditoriums with this piece you are dizzy, wired, and pumped for more all at once...make no mistake fellow progheads; this will be a fierce week...

Moving with a more cautious yet excited gait, I step up for serving number two--a huge hit of "In Pursuit of Time."  Just as I suspected--an immediate drop kick to the chest.  Theatrum hits hard and fast, and seem to prefer coming at you from the shadows.  A quick jab here, an uppercut there, and before you realize it the blows are coming from all directions.  The strong female voice is both startling and refreshing; one thing prog does not have an abundance of is female vocalists.  The vocals intertwine themselves with  strong guitar and thumping drums nicely.  The mood suddenly changes about four minutes in but don't worry--your blood pressure will soon rise again as a blistering cacophony sweeps you out to sea...

Liner Notes...Theatrum hails from Riga, Latvia..one of the three Baltic States.  Yes, the prog garden has deep roots, with tentacles that penetrate the entire planet and sprout strong growth throughout the world.  Comprised of Inessa Verebe on vocals, Vitaly Ganya on bass and keyboards, Ugis Kampars and Arturs Liede on guitars, and Alberts Mednis on drums, Theatrum began making their mark on the prog world in 2011. The growing pains and maturation of the band led to some personnel changes, climaxing with the line-up listed here.  Theatrum continues to flex their prog muscle; one EP currently out and a full-length album in the works.  I sense strong growth in the metal acreage of the prog garden as Theatrum gains momentum and bursts through with a stalwart career.

My final serving this week is another heavy hitter, "Severe Fall."  The distant hammer behind the searing guitar opening is but a precursor to the strength of Inessa's vocal chords.  This song creeps into your head and slings fists in every direction.  Listen to the sense of urgency as the drums take you down a rabbit hole of dark desperation...but listen deep and you feel reason and wisdom rise above the chaos and mayhem.  A slight fooling of your senses as Theatrum leads you to the precipice of despair, only to pull you back--just in time.

My clip of choice to introduce you to Theatrum's "dark/thought provoking" side is a song called "Theater of Lies."  The strong opening guitar riff takes off in all directions while the drum is strong enough to keep you on the path.  Theatrum is the kid in the school yard who likes to thump his chest and act tough, but look past the bravado and there is character and an intelligence level worth investigating.  Learn more about Theatrum at https://www.draugiem.lv/theatrum.  You can hear and purchase their music at http://theatrum.bandcamp.com/ and of course follow the band on Twitter @TheatrumBand and Facebook https://www.facebook.com/TheatrumBand

What started as an idea to to write a prog metal opera culminated in a band with strong top notes of Dream Theater, Opeth, and Radiohead.  Add a dash of Beardfish and aromatics of KTU, and you have yourself one helluva prog metal stew!  Theatrum is not for the faint of heart--but they are for the strong-willed.  With a determination that metal does not have to hit hard simply for the sake of hitting hard, Theatrum swings a hammer designed to arouse rather than disturb.  Shades of darkness seem to cover the canvas, but look closely at the shading...lots of grays, reds, and blues bleeding together, creating an intensity of light.  Inessa has a voice that cuts through the bone of the drums and cartilage of the guitars...penetrating deep into your auditory senses.

The search for all things prog has broken new ground this week; I need to get a bigger map so as to track all the miles logged, countries visited, and locations where progressive music holds its own. You've heard it before so what the heck, I'll say it again...prog is alive and well and the garden is filled with new and exciting varietals.  Of course my search for all things prog prevents me from staying put too long and rather encourages travel, so...until next week...

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