A nomad can tell you a thousand stories – stories of strange lands, strange sounds, strange facets of life. A nomad is a person that sees a bhavachakra and sees in it life itself, with its different colors and movements. A nomad moves not only his body, but also his mind to fathom the infinite depth of the stars. Nomad is the new record by progressive rock outfit Sky Architect, who have graced us with a faceted, intricate new record.
The record features a good mix of modern and old-school prog. With synths, clavinets, distorted guitars and a good load of funk, this record will appeal to fans of The Mercury Tree or The Mars Volta.
“Wasteland” is presented as the first track of Nomad, one that starts off with a weird funk melody, rolling guitar grooves and a nostalgia-heavy, clavinet-loaded background. As the minutes go by, the song really takes its time to build itself up. The strange funk groove with jazzy drums moves on to make way for an ethereal guitar riff with lots of delay. Between soft vocals and subtle riffing, the listener can appreciate the soundscape and how naturally it breathes. This makes for a truly beautiful moment, intensified by the first climax in the middle of the song that will have fans of classic prog in tears. The following climax will probably do the same for modern prog fans: A breakdown, the next climactic point of the record, tears down the song in a funk/hardcore crossover before reaching slowly for the weird (but this time more intense) groove from the beginning. Meanwhile, the harsh guitars, bass and drums make this an absolutely stunning moment of proggy grittiness.
The songs on this LP are crafted with care and attention to detail. Self-references to the record are a common theme throughout and please the ears of careful listeners.
A wonderful example of this is “Endless Roads (Part I & II)”, where the The Mars Volta-esque riff is the same note-wise as the final clavinet background in the background. The chorus also drags itself throughout the album. It’s comparable to a well-written movie, which took some time and care to craft subtle, but nevertheless interesting, easter eggs into itself.
Between illustrious mania and intricate genius, this record is full of everything a prog snob could ask for. From polyrhythmic beats to rigorous attempts to sew funk, prog, metal, jazz and post-hardcore together, this is nearly the perfect example for all prog ever was. The only thing I could complain about is the weak production in some parts that just lets some instruments fall under the table completely. Sadly so, because the bass has a very warm tone that could almost be described as comforting. Up until now, this is my favorite prog rock record of the year besides Bent Knee‘s Land Animal.
Notable Tracks: “Wasteland”; “Endless Roads (Part I & II)”
FFO: The Mars Volta, The Mercury Tree