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Not Otherwise Specified - Projective Instruments CD (album) cover


Not Otherwise Specified

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Honorary Collaborator
4 stars US project NOT OTHERWISE SPECIFIED is the creative vehicle of composer and musician Craig Kerley, who returned to the scene as an active musician following a 15 year long hiatus with this venture when he released the album "Judgment" in 2011. "Projective Instruments" is the second full length production made by him under this moniker, and was released in 2014.

The first two names to appear on the list of stated influences and inspirations for this project are Dream Theater and Spock's Beard, and when listening through this album it is fairly easy to understand why these two bands are on top of that list, even if the music as such is slightly different from each of them. But there are similarities to be found for sure, perhaps more for the latter than the former.

The key elements for the greater majority of the compositions here are songs that move between phases and styles, to the effect that the style of the band may indeed be not otherwise specified. On one hand we have vibrant, dark toned clearly progressive metal oriented passages with gnarly guitars supplemented by organ, keyboards or both, tight and often vibrant, tension-filled escapades, at times with something of a menacing tinge to them. On the other hand we're treated to a vast array of sequences sporting a more majestic, almost grandiose type of arrangement with less intense guitars and a stronger emphasis on the combined effects of the guitars combined with organ, keyboards or both, combined in a manner that instruments wise should sound familiar to fans of bands like Magic Pie. Additional features are more elegant, subtly toned down varieties of the latter, that in execution are more similar to the sound and style explored by bands such as aforementioned Spock's Beard. And aligned with the latter, obviously with room for more sparse, delicate and fragile interludes that adds depth and scope to the compositions.

The most striking and admirable end result on this album comes with the massive, multiple part epic length creation Racing Shadows, clocking in at just over 23 minutes this composition is an impressive creation. It does take some skill to maintain the attention of a listener for such an extended period of time, and Kerley succeeds well in accomplishing this here. Equally impressive is the song that is a clear and distinct odd one out on this production, Caveat, where Kerley use layered vocal recordings to create a most impressive a cappella feature, showcasing his abilities as a vocalist in an engaging manner.

While this isn't a high budget, professional band creation, the end result here is still impressive, especially considering that this is a one man band operation. Those who tend to have bands such as Spock's Beard, Magic Pie and Dream Theater on frequent rotation on their playlists should take the time to check out this fine album as well. An accomplished, production that deserves more attention than I suspect it has received so far.

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Posted Monday, February 29, 2016 | Review Permalink

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