Writing progressive music can be a true tightrope to walk for musicians. Make your material too straightforward while identifying as a “prog” act and you’ll be facing down the sort of folks who moderate gear forums and base an act’s musical worth on volume of notes, or how many polyrhythms can be crammed into one song. Too far in the opposite direction, however, and the technicality too often strips the performance of any semblance of energy; the show becomes a guitar clinic, and sends the show’s hardest headbangers scrambling for a beer/bathroom break.
On their debut EP, “Organic Music for Turbo People,” Richmond VA’s Hiraeth approached their songwriting with the right sense of balance. Closer to Opeth than to Periphery, the band offers riffing with a classic sensibility; just enough stop-starts and time changes to give a sense of complexity. Bass is extremely prominent in the mix, even taking the lead for a portion of closing track “Subterranean Skies.” Guitarist/vocalist Conner Kincaid’s growls conjure Mikael Akerfeldt in their throatiness, while still being a unique voice. His clean vocals are a bit rough, but in a way that’s endearing; this style of prog doesn’t necessarily need heaps of saccharine, melodyned cleans to get their point across. Akerfeldt isn’t known for being a virtuoso singer either, mind. This applies to the production as a whole. Programmed, but well-composed drums and a workably gritty guitar tone round out a solid-sounding debut effort. Beneath any roughness in sound is a band that’s clearly on to something exciting, heavy, but exploratory as well. Check out “Organic Music for Turbo People” below, and name your price for download if you like it!