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Stick Men - Prog Noir CD (album) cover

PROG NOIR

Stick Men

 

Eclectic Prog

3.70 | 74 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer
4 stars This is my first trip into STICK MEN territory and it won't be my last. I'm such a fan of that KING CRIMSON style that is dark, heavy and complex. Having Pat Mastelotto and Tony Levin both KING CRIMSON members on board is reason enough alone for me to be surprised I haven't checked these guys out yet. Markus Reuter rounds out this American power trio who are obviously riding the "Make America great again" wave adding his Touch guitars to Levin's Chapman Stick and Pat's muscular drumming.

I became an instant fan when the sounds of "Prog Noir" started to come out of my stereo. So much depth and it's dark as the vocals join in. Lots of atmosphere as well. Simply ground-shaking and where's that repeat button. "Mantra" is another killer track as the first four tunes are. Outbursts of heaviness in this dark atmosphere to start before it settles in with Stick and Touch guitars. The drums and dark atmosphere continue, I'm such a sucker for this type of music.

"Plutonium" is an innovative track with some really cool lyrics. Spoken words and plenty of humour on this one and I like the nods to other bands as the vocalist says "Cue the music of..." and then says the band's name then we get a snippet of their music played by STICK MEN. This happens a few times including YES being mentioned and the song "Roundabout" getting a brief cover by these guys. What an entertaining track! "The Tempest" has a catchy beat and it's very KING CRIMSON-like as these deep, almost spoken vocals join in. Man four really good songs in a row. "Schattenhaft" is fairly uptempo and it turns heavier before a minute. So impressive after 3 minutes, especially the guitar, and the drumming 4 minutes in to the end has my approval.

"Rose In The Sand/ Requiem" is mellow and pretty as the title would suggest. The second half that starts around 2 1/2 minutes in called "Requiem" is slower with more atmosphere and I like it better than the first part. "Leonardo" is also fairly laid back and quite beautiful with intricate sounds although there's quite a bit of depth here. It calms right down late and it's emotional. "Trey's Continuum" has all these intricate sounds coming and going and it's even better when it turns heavier a minute in. So good! The guitar starts to create some noise then a calm arrives around 2 1/2 minutes in, very KING CRIMSON-like.

"Embracing The Sun" has this catchy beat and I love the drumming. This is complex like "Discipline" by KC with all those intricate sounds weaving around each other. A highlight for sure. "Never The Same" is lighter sounding to start and quite uplifting then the drums and some deep sounds join in changing it completely and that for the better as the vocals join in. Man that drumming and sound before 3 1/2 minutes is almost TOOL-like. The guitar then soars as the drums pound 5 minutes in. That opening theme is back before it ends with static-like noise.

One of the years best in my opinion, I think 4.5 stars is about right. I'm so into this album! I will be checking out some of their earlier ones like "Deep" and "Soup" along with the live one "Midori".

Mellotron Storm | 4/5 |

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