Another week, another review, and another sincere thanks for stopping by fellow progheads! As the calendar inches toward spring I decided to take the Concert Closet on a little sight seeing tour of Brazil ahead the madness and mayhem the Summer Olympics will no doubt unleash. Of course there is an ulterior motive to my logging all these frequent flyer miles...I was recently introduced by some prog friends (via Facebook) to a list put out by "A Metal State of Mind" ranking the Top 50 Progressive Rock Albums.
Followers of my blog know that I have an aversion to lists that rank music, songs, musicians, bands, etc. My issue is they always lead to arguments about why "so-and-so" was left off the list or "how-the-hell-did-that-band" make the list...in short they are very subjective and based on opinion. But curiosity got the better of me this time. As I perused the list I discovered two things. First; Brazil--a great place to spend seven days (provided I can avoid the mosquitoes), and second; an exceptional prog rock band to enjoy while sipping on a caipirinha. So please join me poolside and relax with the invigorating sounds of The Opposite Of Hate.
The Opposite Of Hate is a post prog/prog metal band that came to be as "...a project of lonely friends living far apart from each other and locked up in their own recording studios..." Once I read that intro I was drawn like the proverbial moth to a flame. Time to check the prog buffet and hear what a little loneliness can do to a band...
First course is an extremely moody piece called "God's Middleman." The song opens in a dark place; almost unseemly. The music begins to bore a hole through the base of your skull in an attempt to release pent up anger and energy. I feel top notes of Beardfish and Fire Garden playing with my auditory senses; a pull that while dark and foreboding is awfully damned enticing. Meanwhile the vocals come through like a bad FM signal in a snowstorm...a perfect match for guitar work that bleeds across the entire mood like 1940's film noire. Man, it's a great week to be a prog blogger!
Going back for another slap across the ears, I find a song hard to label but fascinating to listen to; "Layers of Noise." As the piece opens you sense an eruption of emotion topped off with a muffled primal scream...then the mood changes to something almost sterile in comparison...until you feel the music settling in on something unnerving. TOOH bangs around inside your head like a mood pinball, bouncing off the bumpers of your skull, setting off sweeping guitar riffs and strong drumming while strobe lights flash off the inside of your eyelids. The overtones are metallic jazz in nature; I sense Herbie Hancock meets Weather Report meets Porcupine Tree aromatics wafting in the air.
Liner Notes...While calling Brazil their home port, The Opposite Of Hate is a party of two; Will Geraldo and Silverio Simioni. These two friends were separated by geography and began a long distance collaboration beginning in 2011. Working with several other friends and guests, they spent the next few years putting together an album, "Beginnings," that was released January 2015.
Contributors to this work include Anna Stefano, Erich Bruschini, Erik Muller, Fabio Souza, Guilherme Saba, Kassio Todescatt, Marcelo Vanini, Marcinho Pereira, and Meire Santos. Quite an array of talent; the stage is no doubt crowded when TOOH sets up to perform. A lot of equipment on stage translates to a lot of sound emanating from that stage--and TOOH does not disappointment.
Reaching across many different acreage plots in the prog garden, TOOH taps into sentiments and mood swings ranging from Gentle Giant to Chick Corea...with an occasional hit of The World Against Us thrown in the blender to keep you off balance.
My final choice to sate my appetite for metal infused jazz is a slightly hard-hitting piece called "Twitch #3." The ominous whisper that opens the curtain tells you this is a dark ride. TOOH is very good at playing cheerful while offering you black roses. The vocals pierce a veil you didn't see while the drums meld with guitar to grab your attention.
For your listening pleasure I wanted to post something that pulled a bit from every corner of the prog garden The Opposite Of Hate has journeyed through, and "I Saw Him Coming From Behind the Sun" seems to do just that. Painting once again with those inviting dark colors, TOOH captivates the listener with stinging lyrics wrapped in armor. The drums build a mood that is slammed home--hard and direct--by deliberate keyboard and guitar work. TOOH takes you on a prog whirlwind while moving through your head like the last, harmless breeze of a tornado...
Learn more about The Opposite Of Hate at https://theoppositeofhate.wordpress.com/ and feel free to contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org Follow the band on Twitter @oppositeof_hate
and Facebook https://www.facebook.com/OppositeOfHate/. You can also stop in for a more detailed listen and pick up a download of "Beginnings" at https://theoppositeofhate.bandcamp.com/releases.
Just be sure you have your "big boy" headphones...
OK fellow progheads, we are inching closer to Spring as loudly as possible. The Opposite Of Hate is a prog band with gusto; they are not afraid to venture down any alley they come to and make a little noise. In assembling a band filled with special guests and friends, Will and Silverio drove a spike into the middle of the prog garden from which they can venture in any direction...and they do it with a positive energy that lights up the room. So thank you Adam and Philippe; AKA Atlas Volt, for your Facebook post...I need to burrow deeper still and discover more buried wealth in the prog garden. The search for all things prog continues...until next week...