Ysma – Fourth Wall

After several weeks of listening non-stop to Spires’ awesome The Whisperer, I thought I’d better get back to my usual pursuit of finding interesting new music to listen to (though I am still on repeat on The Whisperer when I’m in the gym). My most frequent approach to finding new music these days is shockingly simply – I read the reviews on the excellent Prog Metal Zone. That Jeff Stevens, who principally runs the site, and I have similar tastes in music really helps!

As a small aside, last week I installed a really useful Chrome plugin called scroblr that scrobbles tracks played on Bandcamp and many other web sites. Often the smaller bands that Prog Metal Zone reviews publish their albums via Bandcamp, and so now I can directly listen to them on there and make sure my listens are correctly scrobbled through to last.fm. Probably daft but I like to think that my listening to somebody’s track is correctly accounted for in terms of listener numbers etc.

Anyhow, amongst the stuff I’ve listened to over the last few days, the new album from Ysma stands out. I’m going to be lazy since there’s a full review on Prog Metal Zone, but my summary would be glorious chilled late night dark room prog! The band reference numerous influences including Porcupine Tree through to Steven Wilson’s heavier buddies Opeth, but also classic prog including probably the first ever real prog band I was into – King Crimson. In a subtle way you can hear some of those influences across the album, though often it’s just in the tone/voicing of the instruments, and this album is in no way a derivative piece. Overall it’s a well balanced album with its own highly dynamic sound, with gentle acoustic guitar and piano via soulful melancholic solos through to crunching guitars, but never really straying truly into the world of progressive metal.