Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Mechanical Man

Greetings from the cozy confines of the Concert Closet fellow progheads!  The mercury suddenly fell out of the thermometer after climbing to record highs recently...but as they say, you can only be disappointed--never surprised!  After watching the weather report these past several days I packed the Concert Closet with blankets and heavy wool socks as the search for all things prog took me to previously uncharted territory...Russia!  As if it weren't cold enough here in the states, I decided to follow my ears and expand my prog metal horizons as I listen in on the sounds of Mechanical Man...

Mechanical Man plays progressive metal...kinda vague but enough to make me want to get ears deep in some rough and tumble sounds.  Let us wander over to the metal offerings at the prog buffet and check out what Mechanical Man is serving up...part of their claim to fame is having performed with Dream Theater, Leprous, and Blind Guardian...

...and taking that as a tip-off for what to expect, I approach said buffet prepared to do some heavy
carbo-loading.  I start with a piece of music that is a bit surprising, "Wonderful World."  The song opens with a melodic guitar and keyboard riff that floats like fog across a meadow early in the morning...then rough-edged vocals creep in and begin to define the irony of the song title.  Dark colors emerge on the canvas as the fog gives way to storm clouds and heavy rain.  Mechanical Man emits more top notes of Transatlantic and Spock's Beard on this cut, but I am definitely walking through the section of the prog garden framed with wrought iron fencing...

Making my way back, I find a morsel from an earlier album release called "White Out."  The tempo builds as smoothly as trust between warring nations--the BOOM comes at you full throttle and you are powerless to stop it or step out of the way.  The vocals on this piece cut more like glass than a dull knife and penetrate in deep swift thrusts.  Mechanical Man has a swagger that is a bit unusual for a group in its youth--but they back it up quite well.  Each member of the band is pushing the needle toward red as the song comes together like Hulk's fist to the cranium...you saw it coming and yet you feel pleasure in the pain.

Liner Notes...Mechanical Man has given me the opportunity to place a new push pin on my prog map; first visit to Moscow Russia.  I am assuming that even Vladimir Putin is a fan of this band, consisting of Alex Zefiridis on lead vocals, Serj Danilov on guitar, Alexander Lee on bass, Evgeny Komarov on keyboards, and Vitaly Ostrov behind the drum kit.  Mechanical Man formed in 2012 and released their first album in 2013.  Their complete resume now boasts two full length albums and a single EP.  Not bad for a quintet from behind the iron curtain...although I doubt that curtain is still hanging on the rod Stalin put up all those years ago...

My final serving for the week is an eerie piece that keeps you looking over your shoulder; a haunting tune called "Nightmare Master."  The song opens with a Liquid Tension Experiment feel; you know something is lurking behind the door--and as much as you want to see it--you aren't quite sure if you're ready.  Everything about this song is ominous; the canvas is dark and foreboding as the mood goes deeper into an abyss you thought was previously unoccupied.  Don't flick the lights on just yet however; Serj rides his guitar hard and fast and Evgeny follows him straight into the den of the beast followed by Alex, Vitaly, and Alexander as they wrest sanity from the jaws of utter madness. Mechanical Man leads you across the battlefield laid out from eardrum to eardrum and gets you safely to sanctuary...but oh the emotional war that was fought in between!

Mechanical Man is not afraid to get knee-deep in the marshy end of the prog garden; but at the end of the journey they drop you in neutral territory. Learn more about Mechanical Man at  http://mechanicalmanband.com/ and  https://soundcloud.com/mechanical-man-1.  You will find their music ready for purchase at iTunes and Googleplay as well as their website.  Of course in keeping with the times the band also has a Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/mechanicalmanband so you never have to miss a beat.  Twitter will allow you to stay current with all their musings, rants, and whatnot, @mmband_official.

The clip below is taken from a live performance in Moscow of the song "Madhouse."  Assuming the "female voice of approval" that hits you as the song opens and carries throughout is just an overzealous fan, the sound quality is actually better than expected.  Mechanical Man commands a stage and can seemingly swim in the deep end of the pool.  C'mon and take a stroll through the dark section of the prog garden...

                

Once again fellow progheads we have reached the end of an extraordinary week. Mechanical Man did more than test the boundaries of the Concert Closet's GPS and  expand my search for all things prog, it proved that progressive music has no boundaries; the music is its own lifeblood.
Progressive rock-- be it metal, neo, classic, retro, alternative, ambient, or any other prefix someone cares to slap on on the genre--is fully capable of surviving on its own merits.  Mechanical Man is just confirmation of the obvious; progressive music continues to thrive the world over.

Of course to drive that point home I must continue the quest the Concert Closet has been on and further the search for all things prog...until next week...

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