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Bushwhack - 2008 - "Bushwhack"

(70:36, ‘Bushwhack’)


TRACK LIST:                                 

1.  In Solitude 2:03
2.  The Greatest Wall 5:34
3.  Future's Passed 4:37
4.  Guacamole 4:17
5.  Sea of Tranquility 6:11
6.  Menace 7:12
7.  Sever the Sky 4:19
8.  Sirens 5:38
9.  Introspection 5:51
10. In Flames 4:59
11. Mariachi Massacre 6:43
12. Head Trauma 5:42
13. Honor 7:32


Frank Sacramone – keyboards; guitar
Brandon Green – bass; programming
Jamie van Dyck – guitars 
Ben Shanbrom – drums 

Prolusion. Hailing from Connecticut, USA, BUSHWHACK is a quartet of young musicians: young as in their late teens, although some may have hit 20 by now. The band started out in 2005, and has already established itself as a popular live act on the local scene. Their self-titled debut album was recorded and released in 2007.

Analysis. As debut albums goes, this one isn't too shabby. Opeth and Dream Theater seems to influence their sound a great deal, and some of the newer metal bands will probably be recognized as influences on the guitar sound often found on this album. As this makes the release sound awfully heavy, it should also be mentioned that it has several tunes with softer, mellower sounds too, and that musical contrasts indeed seem to be an aspect the band enjoys exploring. The compositional structure is pretty consistent throughout the album, with two or more recurring themes – most times more than two – and a few breaks and individual segments inserted to create variation. Many of the recurring themes contrast with each other partially or in full in sound, mood or atmosphere, while others build up from elements of the previous theme explored. The sound is very much dominated by the guitar, with dark, gritty, distorted chords and riff patterns as well as highly melodic acoustic guitar licks served. Some soloing and melodic overlays are present too; and many will probably be grateful for the total nonexistence of shred on this release. Synths are just as important to these tunes as the guitar, although not always as dominating. One or more synth layers will be present at most times, delivering careful fragile atmospheres to the mellow segments as well as grandiose multiple-layered themes harmonizing with riff patterns to form majestic segments pretty close to Dream Theater in style. Most aspects of this album are highly enjoyable, and such weaknesses as can be found may be put down to personal taste rather than performance and execution. For me, the main weakness was that some of the songs are too long, as I think there just isn't enough material to explore to go on for 6-7 minutes on those. The way I hear those tunes, they should have been condensed and stopped after 4 minutes.

Conclusion. Fans of technical but atmospheric instrumental prog metal are advised to check out this album, in particular if you are fond of adventurous music exploring the dark and distorted as well as the light and mellow aspects of this particular musical style.

OMB=Olav M Bjornsen: February 6, 2008
The Rating Room

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