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Helmet of Gnats

Jazz Rock/Fusion

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Helmet of Gnats High street album cover
3.85 | 60 ratings | 4 reviews | 17% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 2010

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Tsunami - 11:00
2. Tin Whiskers - 10:26
3. Dozer - 12:43
4. High Street - 30:11

Line-up / Musicians

Chris Fox - guitars
Matthew Bocchino - keyboards
Wayne Zito - bass
Mark Conese - drums, percussion

Releases information

Released in june 2010 at Ambient Records

Thanks to b_olariu for the addition
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HELMET OF GNATS High street ratings distribution

(60 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(17%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(63%)
Good, but non-essential (12%)
Collectors/fans only (3%)
Poor. Only for completionists (5%)

HELMET OF GNATS High street reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by snobb
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Third album of this American jazz-rock quartet contains just four long compositions (the last one 30+ minutes long!). From very first sound I was attracted by freshly sounded guitar-led jazz fusion. Really nice opener, even if with few melodic guitar instrumental rock touches.

Unhappily things weren't so good when I continued listening. Second composition still is fusion/instrumental rock mix with some shredding (let say in 50/50 proportion). But even here you can hear that band's musicians have their story in a field of more commercial rock. Still not so bad instrumental though.

Third composition, " Dozer" ,starts with some heavy blues rock guitar chords and continues as heavy rock instrumental with occasional keyboards passages. Still melodic, but only with smell of jazz fusion.

Then, last and longest song is a 30+ minutes monster. With electric piano intro on the very beginning, it combines all elements musicians use in their music in one place. Melodic ,almost symphonic prog sound at the very beginning changes with jazzy keys passages and competent drumming, but soon become melodic, even slightly cheesy fusion. Many will remember Return To forever sound there, but to be honest Corea's team was much more professional. And composition's size is obviously too long - it could be easily divided in few shorter ones.

I like band's melodies and quite jazzy in moments rhythm section, but too many heavy guitar shredding in combination with often too pop-friendly tunes doesn't attract me too much. Still nice American prog fusion album.

My rating is 3+.

Review by Mellotron Storm
4 stars If you say your a fan of sophisticated music you really need to check out the latest from this American band called A HELMET OF GNATS. All four of these guys received their musical training at the Berklee College Of Music. Chris (guitars) and Matt (keyboards) have been playing together for some 30 years. In fact the albums' title "High Street" is the road that they both grew up on.The garage at Matt's parents house was eventually converted into a rehearsal space then later to a recording studio. So this album is a homage to their seventies youth and the place where the band got started.This was taken from the liner notes by the way. I still think I like the previous album more but I know that will change because everytime I listen to this I like it more. Like I said earlier there is so much sophistication and complexity here that it's going to take time for me to really take this all in, if I ever do. I'm in for the long haul regardless because this is one special album.

"Tsunami" opens with atmosphere then this guitar line comes in and is repeated. Organ 1 1/2 minutes in then guitar.This is repeated then it picks up after 3 minutes. A calm with atmosphere before 4 minutes.The guitar then comes to the fore in a relaxed manner. It kicks in heavier after 8 1/2 minutes before settling back before kicking in late. "Tin Whiskers" features laid back guitar to open. Keyboards, bass and drums join in as it gets fuller. Great sound here. Keyboards are outfront around 2 minutes. Guitar leads 5 minutes in until before 7 1/2 minutes. Some nice guitar work here. I like when it settles down a minute later. It then kicks back in. "Dozer" has this cool sounding intro with atmosphere as sounds come and go. It kicks in after a minute then settles back. The tempo picks up with piano after 2 1/2 minutes. It's heavier 4 minutes in and check out the keyboard work to follow. Guitar leads 7 minutes in until after 9 1/2 minutes.

"High Street" is the over 30 minute closer.They've broken it down into 16 parts in the liner notes beginning with "1970" and ending at "1980" but it's one long suite.You can hear kids laughing to start then piano comes in playing slowly.The music kicks in around 2 1/2 minutes. This is excellent, very fusion-like. Organ before 4 1/2 minutes. It's jazzy before 9 minutes. Lots of piano before 11 1/2 minutes then some brief heavy guitar. More of that after 14 minutes.The tempo picks up 15 1/2 minutes in. An atmospheric calm after 19 minutes.The sound of children playing returns. It kicks back in before 21 minutes then picks up before 24 minutes with organ and drums outfront. Guitar follows. It settles with bass then synths come in.The guitar and synths trade off after 26 minutes. A calm 28 1/2 minutes in and the kids are back to end it. Phew !

Without a doubt one of the best of 2010, these guys should be very proud.

Review by b_olariu
4 stars Finaly, their last release to date this time with a proper album title named High street, released after another 6 long years in waiting for new music from this fantastic band, I had high expectation from this one and for sure not diseppoints at all. Issued in 2010 at same Ambient Records in digipack format is another one of those progressive/ jazz fusion album that are instant catchy. Featuring only 4 pieces, long ones, one of the them clocking around 30 min, like an epic, this release is no less then a truly blast in this field. The sound remind me of those '70's bands emulated big time in that period, fans of Brand X, Holdsworth later one must check this band because worth every second. Fresh arrangements, stellar interludes between guitar and keyboards, each piec is a truly jam. I prefer the second track of the album Tin Whiskers, some impressive passages and musicianship here, definetly my fav piece together with the enormous and fascinating ending tune High street. Little better in my view then predecesor, who was aswell a great album, is not an easy task to come again with something special. Well, Hemet of Gnats did it again, big time, even are only 4 pieces, the listner is every second conected with the album, remaing in the end to say, wow what a special and dynamic abum I've just listen to, in my case was exactly like that. Very complex music with lot to offer, like previous 2 albums, energic moemnts combined with more mellower ones, each time the music is captivating and full of unexpected turns. I can only recommend this band highly and all 3 albums released by the band, is one of the better band of this filed that needs suport as much as every one can give, they are special and is clear in each album. 4 stars again, excellent stuff.

Latest members reviews

5 stars This is a great album! I picked this album up at NEARfest this past summer after seeing Helmet of Gnats perform, and I must say that I am thouroughly impressed. What is so great about this album is that the musicianship and songwriting is amazing, BUT it still manages to be accessible and easy to ... (read more)

Report this review (#838626) | Posted by Apollo2112 | Monday, October 15, 2012 | Review Permanlink

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