My fellow metal lovers, I am here to preach to you – to preach the truth!

Proghma-C’s debut full length Bar-Do Travel has been out since 2009 oversees, but just recently saw a US release date. So you can already find many reviews of this record on-line. And what you’ll see is a common theme – they are “weird”, “strange” and “odd”.

And why are they so different you might ask? Supposedly it’s because they don’t stick to the traditional mold. They are heavy in places, they are prog-rock in others. They add layers of trance and atmosphere over screeching guitars, one minute screaming at you and another melodically luring you in to false sense of security before hitting you over the head with low-end. Though “weird” may be accurate for some bands, calling Proghma-C this simply feels like the reviewer didn’t get what the group was aiming for.

I’m not saying this review is going to be any better than anyone else as it’s all subject to taste and yours may not be mine, but when I listen to this, I get the following words in my head; “Intelligent”, “Thought-provoking”, “mesmerizing” and “challenging”.

I think for any band that adds features a heavy prog element in their metal, “challenging” is a great thing to be. You must make me really think about what I’m listening to. If you are in that genre and the music becomes background noise to me then you’ve pretty much failed. I pretty much can’t do anything but listen to this album when it’s on. Therefore, Bar-Do Travel passes that test.

For any band that is going to include ambient parts, trance-like music or atmosphere as part of the sound, they have to be able to mesmerize you in that flow, otherwise when they switch back to the heaviness, the immediate impact is lost. Bar-Do Travel has a massive impact. Check.

Unless I’m specifically listening to an album that’s made to break someone’s face, throw my hands up in the air or shake my ass then being “intelligent” is a plus. My molding all these different elements together and really trying to push boundaries I get the feeling the band is really trying to do something great and not just going through the motions or making what’s popular. Intelligent music for intellegent people. It’s a great concept. Proghma-C to the rescue!

Now, I may not be able to come up with one other band that sounds like Proghma-C as a whole but the initial comparison is inevitable. Immediately, they sound like Meshuggah. If you’ve heard Meshuggah before, then you know the chugging guitars and time changes I’m talking about and everyone with that similar sound is going to be compared to them for eternity – that’s just inevitable – so I’ll take the lazy route on that one. But with the rest of the sounds put together, Proghma-C breaks out from that pretty much one-dimensional mode.

If that wasn’t enough, this is sequenced perfectly (and I’m a stickler for sequencing) with the nine-minute epic, “Kana” opening the disc and the spectacular cover of Bjork’s “Army of Me” closing it out. In between both the prog-ish elements and the atmospheric parts are intertwined so well that you can never really get comfortable in one particular place. That’s what makes it stand out so much.

Now what I have to do is go listen to this record about a hundred more times so that I can continue to pick out all the nuances I’ve missed and I’m positive that it’s worth those hundred more listens. Hopefully, you’ll agree. Just please, instead of calling Proghma-C “strange” how about speaking the truth and calling them “fucking awesome”. See how much better that sounds!

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About the Author

Dave Steed

Dave Steed is all about music; 80's and metal to be exact. His iPod will shuffle from Culture Club to Slayer and he won't blink an eye. He's never heard Astral Weeks but thinks "Dazzey Duks" by Duice is the bomb. It's an odd little corner of the world he lives in.

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