Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Mile Marker Zero "The Fifth Row"

 As always, a pleasure to welcome you back to the Closet Concert Arena fellow progheads!  Thus far 2018 has been a banner year and the calendar has just recently moved into season two.  Recently I had the good fortune of connecting with a musician on Facebook who is a member of a band I was
up-to-that-moment unfamiliar with.   By now you (hopefully) know me enough to understand I am  incapable of walking past without checking out...so the Concert Closet took the search for all things prog to the Nutmeg State--that's Connecticut for you spice-deprived--and a check-in with Mile Marker Zero to unwrap their latest release, "The Fifth Row."

 Self described as an "Audio explosion...driving, powerfully progressive modern rock..."  How did I miss this gem walking through the prog garden as often as I do?  Not sure, but this is as good a time as any to broaden my listening skills, so to the prog buffet we go...leading off with "Source Code" and allowing it to bleed into "2001."

This is eerily magnificent; the album opens with a Big Brother-like overview of society flashing across your auditory sensors...from an age of innocence to a time of regret...or perhaps simple remorse.  As "2001" begins to erupt through the headphones you start to make the connection; we humans are beginning to outsmart ourselves.  With top notes of Muse wafting throughout, the adrenaline pumping through this song has the guitars pinging off the lining of my skull using the drum kit for bumpers...this is an adult dose...

Moving along, I find "Building a Machine" forcing its way through my headphones.  Mile Marker Zero is nothing if not intense; yet another sound explosion racing through your blood stream with enough force to burst through your chest, but with a calculated rhythm to the mayhem.  The vocals build a ferocity that showers down all around like a July hail storm...complete with accompanying calm. The song moves through a season of emotions as it unfolds; aromatics of Transatlantic and perhaps a scent of Rush stir my senses.

 Liner Notes...coming together in 2005, Mile Marker Zero originated in New Haven, CT and is comprised of Dave Alley on vocals, John Tuohy on guitars, Jaco Lindito on bass, Mark Focarile on keyboards, and Doug Alley on drums.  After meeting at college, the band spent much time honing their craft the old fashion way; practice and performance.  Mile Marker Zero has been on stage with  Porcupine Tree, Underoath, and
Spock's Beard among others.

"The Fifth Row" is MMZ's third full-length LP, released in March (their 2006 debut was an EP) and is a concept album dealing with Artificial Intelligence and its affect on society.  Not the first band to dabble in this subject matter, but quite an alternative view through an entirely different lens. Mile Marker Zero lets you catch your breath just long enough to suck the air out of your lungs...audio explosion indeed.

You can purchase "The Fifth Element" and other entries in the Mile Marker Zero catalog at
MMZ Bandcamp as well as the band's website Mile Marker Zero.  Music can also be found on iTunes.  Fans can follow them and learn about new releases, tour info, and all things MMZ on Facebook at MMZ Facebook and Twitter @mmzofficial.

Another bit of intrigue etched into plastic is this next cut, "Propaganda." Once again Mile Marker Zero crashes through the starting gate leaving a scorched earth and lavender aroma...Johnny and Doug paved a section of the prog garden to ensure no weeds got through; they gave this song a very solid foundation.  Dave's vocals come riding across the top like flames on a grease fire; all you need do is sit back and admire the explosive canvas on display.

The clip below is called "The Architect."  I chose it to for a peek behind the curtain that allows  you to discover for yourself what it's like to have sound travel that fast through a set of headphones.  The needle is pushing toward the red yet all the while the music is tight; this isn't loud for the sake of being loud.  Mile Marker Zero is enlightening (or warning?) us about the dangers of AI taking control of all we think, say, and do...and everything is self-inflicted.  You may sleep with the lights on after this...


Just like that seven days finished a lap around the sun.  Another week gone by and another bumper crop from the prog garden.  Mile Marker Zero is a breath of fresh air--which is apropos considering the time of year.  There has been much debate about what is and isn't prog; many people seem to believe that the entire genre is stuck in a bubble that started somewhere around 1968 and sealed itself off in 1980 or so...and I could not disagree more.

Lest we forget, prog is short for progressive, and bands like Mile Marker Zero help progress the genre along, keeping it fresh and evolving for the next generation.  That can only be a good thing, because stagnation is a painful death.  The search for all things prog has opened my eyes and ears to some incredible music and some fantastic artists, and I hope my sharing with you has broadened your horizons as well.  Now as always, time to pack up the Concert Closet and continue the journey...until next time...

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