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HERD OF INSTINCT

Eclectic Prog • United States


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Herd Of Instinct biography
Founded in Arlington, USA in 2007

HERD OF INSTINCT are a Texan band that were formed from the ashes of 99 NAMES OF GOD by MARK COOK (Warr guitar) and JASON SPRADLIN (drums). They were joined by MIKE DAVISON (guitar, formerly of NERVEWERKS, who had played with 99 NAMES), and in 2011 they were signed to DJAM KARET's label, Firepool Records. Their music is influenced by multi-cultural music, literature, horror/cinematic film scores, and incorporates influences from jazz, ambient, electronic, avant garde, progressive, and rock musics as well. Spradlin says rhythm is probably the bands main inspiration.

The band were able to involve many guests for their debut self titled record, including GAYLE ELLET, MARKUS REUTER, GAVIN HARRISON, JERRY MAROTTA, and PAT MASTELOTTO. The album was released, after four years of work, in May of 2011, the premier release by Firepool Records. It quickly made waves in the prog world, with critics praising their compositions and making comparisons to King Crimson. The album was mostly instrumental, featuring only one track with vocals.

Work on the second album has already begun.

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HERD OF INSTINCT discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

HERD OF INSTINCT top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.06 | 82 ratings
Herd Of Instinct
2011
3.83 | 113 ratings
Conjure
2013
3.63 | 43 ratings
Manifestation
2016
3.86 | 22 ratings
Drone Priest
2017
3.93 | 36 ratings
Incantation
2019
3.89 | 9 ratings
Unravel
2020

HERD OF INSTINCT Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

HERD OF INSTINCT Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

HERD OF INSTINCT Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

2.00 | 3 ratings
Hallow
2018

HERD OF INSTINCT Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

HERD OF INSTINCT Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Unravel by HERD OF INSTINCT album cover Studio Album, 2020
3.89 | 9 ratings

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Unravel
Herd Of Instinct Eclectic Prog

Review by Rivertree
Special Collaborator PSIKE Team & Band Submissions

4 stars Constituted around multi-instrumentalist Mark Cook HERD OF INSTINCT are releasing albums nearly every second year since 2012. Concerning the music output though on the other hand it's quite an unpredictable project. I mean the ability to create eclectic compositions again and again, quasi as the framework for proper improvisational freedom. And then Cook's warr guitar playing obviously turns out to be a comfortable trademark throughout. Now due to this new album it was time at the latest to place some comments. The incredible cover picture alone makes curious, or what? Other musicians with a vivid presence aboard in recent years are both drummer Bill Bachman and Jason Spradlin, Rick Read (bass) as well as Mike McGary and Djam Karet member Gayle Ellett on additional keyboards.

Alltogether this is serving a lush sound due to a multi-varianted bunch of instruments being in place. I mean trumpet and flute included, also unbelievable variations concerning the bass input, including fretless and chapman stick, ambient synthesizer patterns all over, and diverse ethno/world styled percussion. I'm overly impressed by the album embracing tracks Conjure and The Plot which offer some heartwrenching atmosphere either, and a groovy behaviour on top in the same way. Regarding 'Unravel' we are dealing with some unreleased material from the past combined with new songs. Nevertheless it's a rounded effort. Complex yet melancholic stuff, sound-wise related to the likes of King Crimson, Djam Karet, Nodo Giordano, Trey Gunn, Markus Reuter. HERD OF INSTINCT is a definite recommendation if you already like music stuff from the aforementioned bands respectively artists.

 Unravel by HERD OF INSTINCT album cover Studio Album, 2020
3.89 | 9 ratings

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Unravel
Herd Of Instinct Eclectic Prog

Review by Steve Conrad

4 stars This Instinctual Herd

Let's Just Say This

There's basic music- three chords and a guitar.

Then there's Herd of Instinct. And I blame Mark Cook, that restless WARR-guitar wanderer- and I may be wrong about this, but maybe not.

Because who can stay rooted, elemental, or basic while holding that intimidating piece of musical hi-jinks? Hey Mark? How about getting a simple Strat or iconic Les Paul, and get back down here with us mortals?

But No!

HERD OF INSTINCT has to go gallivanting all over musical creation. No time for simple strums, soupy ballads, manly blasts of heavy metal. Worse yet, they pull unsuspecting musician friends from the musical spectrum limned by progressive rock, jazz, metal, horror shows, and deep space.

Then they too become infected with these sophisticated, complex, maddeningly dense and dark flights of musical genius, these challenging, cerebral explorations from some alternate dimension...

Listener, Beware!

Do you seriously expect to fully grasp what you are hearing, to file it in neat categories and genres and sub-genres, pigeon-hole these melodies that swoop in from Mars and then on to another corner of the multiverse?

Guess again! But by the way, "Unravel" is a fit name for this insane, skilled, somewhat arrogant display of oddly coordinated musicianship.

After all, you- haplessly hearing, dimly perceiving, nibbling at the edges of what is being proffered- the ominous, sometimes tribal and sometimes audacious percussion and drumming. The multiple wails, moans, flights, lushness, and space-speckles from keyboards, synthesized guitar (?), synthesizers. The rumbling, rambling, deep bass excursions- I don't even pretend to know from which part of which 'instrument' these sounds are emitted.

But Damn

Here's another gripe, Mr. Cook & Co. Improvisation? On this level? Well, it's just insanely wonderful- and that's a real problem for me. After all EVERYONE knows improv is meant to be a trumpeter in a jazz band or a guitarist in a blues band or whatever.

Not THIS- just take Markus Reuter as one example. Not THAT kind of endless stream-of-consciousness reverie flowing from the mind, heart, and soul of a beyond-the-pale talented fellow- THIS is not acceptable! Who else on the planet can hope to grasp, much less emulate, such musical finesse and form?

But I get it Mark!

Oh yes- your mission and your musical co-conspirators'- is to bring ordinary mortals into the herd, to stand chomping our cud, huddled together for warmth and comfort, listening glassy-eyed to such musical madness/joy/bliss- words fail. Such levels of creativity and expression seem designed only for one purpose. To keep us cattle humble and in one piece.

So That's It

I've had quite enough- for now. May whatever well(s) you and your precious HERD draw from remain deep, cool, and crystalline.

 Incantation by HERD OF INSTINCT album cover Studio Album, 2019
3.93 | 36 ratings

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Incantation
Herd Of Instinct Eclectic Prog

Review by alainPP

4 stars HERD OF INSTINCT is a Texas rock instrumental progressive hybrid group that comes out notes from the prog world, post-rock, minimalist, jazz, psychedelic, avant-garde film and ethnicity. From contemporary music to the ART ZOYD universe, dinosaurs that are GENESIS or KING CRIMSON, complex sounds of ANEKDOTEN, Philip Glass, a bit of Peter Gabriel, some HELDON to THINKING PLAGUE, the first PORCUPINE TREE and their mentor DJAM KARET for dark music, instrumental and intimate. HEI moving his music in dense convolutions intense bunk drawers to make us dream. HEI was formed from the ashes of 99 NAMES OF GOD and plays to create "interesting music."

"Sun Gun" starts the album an atmosphere frippienne quite dark, although enhanced by the use of various instruments at the Chapman Stick Rick Read and fruity Mark Cook guitars; it's playful, although the sounds of "Red" is also intimate. "Incantation One" follows a more dynamic way and dark with the voice of Elaine limit science fiction; more present synths and rhythmic with OSI moments with a big riff leading to the limit of controlled improvisation; As hovering halfway through where the dark sounds cleared late more airy, like a waterfall with droplets of fresh water. "Coin Locker Babies" happens more in a hard movement at that time when we do not know too well if the hard helped the prog gasoline or the reverse; The bass of Steve Harris is found here and a riff IRON MAIDEN somewhat muted is fusion and magical. "Prey 4 Winter" off again on a more dynamic atmosphere up again eyeing the instruments here to "Discipline" is energetic, it's fresh and melancholy guitar that stretches the notes helps me think a little QUANTUM Fantay even SPECIAL PROVIDENCE or ANEKDOTEN for atmosphere typical. It is also in a major progressive vein, fusing the sounds of various eras and out in a crucible '' melting pot ''. "Myth and Ritual" arrives as an interlude, an orchestral piece in two parts honoring Scott Walker disappeared during the recording, a short majestic moment that can turn buckle, which provides a gravity of the moment. it's magical fusion. "Prey 4 Winter" off again on a more dynamic atmosphere up again eyeing the instruments here to "Discipline" is energetic, it's fresh and melancholy guitar that stretches the notes helps me think a little QUANTUM Fantay even SPECIAL PROVIDENCE or ANEKDOTEN for atmosphere typical. It is also in a major progressive vein, fusing the sounds of various eras and out in a crucible '' melting pot ''. "Myth and Ritual" arrives as an interlude, an orchestral piece in two parts honoring Scott Walker disappeared during the recording, a short majestic moment that can turn buckle, which provides a gravity of the moment. it's magical fusion. "Prey 4 Winter" off again on a more dynamic atmosphere up again eyeing the instruments here to "Discipline" is energetic, it's fresh and melancholy guitar that stretches the notes helps me think a little QUANTUM Fantay even SPECIAL PROVIDENCE or ANEKDOTEN for atmosphere typical. It is also in a major progressive vein, fusing the sounds of various eras and out in a crucible '' melting pot ''. "Myth and Ritual" arrives as an interlude, an orchestral piece in two parts honoring Scott Walker disappeared during the recording, a short majestic moment that can turn buckle, which provides a gravity of the moment. up again eyeing the instruments here to "Discipline" is energetic, it's fresh and melancholy guitar that stretches the notes helps me to think a little about QUANTUM Fantay even SPECIAL PROVIDENCE or ANEKDOTEN for atmosphere typed. It is also in a major progressive vein, fusing the sounds of various eras and out in a crucible '' melting pot ''. "Myth and Ritual" arrives as an interlude, an orchestral piece in two parts honoring Scott Walker disappeared during the recording, a short majestic moment that can turn buckle, which provides a gravity of the moment. up again eyeing the instruments here to "Discipline" is energetic, it's fresh and melancholy guitar that stretches the notes helps me to think a little about QUANTUM Fantay even SPECIAL PROVIDENCE or ANEKDOTEN for atmosphere typed. It is also in a major progressive vein, fusing the sounds of various eras and out in a crucible '' melting pot ''. "Myth and Ritual" arrives as an interlude, an orchestral piece in two parts honoring Scott Walker disappeared during the recording, a short majestic moment that can turn buckle, which provides a gravity of the moment. It is also in a major progressive vein, fusing the sounds of various eras and out in a crucible '' melting pot ''. "Myth and Ritual" arrives as an interlude, an orchestral piece in two parts honoring Scott Walker disappeared during the recording, a short majestic moment that can turn buckle, which provides a gravity of the moment. It is also in a major progressive vein, fusing the sounds of various eras and out in a crucible '' melting pot ''. "Myth and Ritual" arrives as an interlude, an orchestral piece in two parts honoring Scott Walker disappeared during the recording, a short majestic moment that can turn buckle, which provides a gravity of the moment.

"Abaddon" attack on an atmosphere worthy of "Thrak" dark, complex, unstructured limit, the instruments are calmer, the atmosphere is heavier, nervous, almost stifling or oppressive, but the second half brought a more linear rate up at the end in fireworks. "Pavement Gray" from him as a dark and lit a beautiful darkness in the style ALL TRAPS ON EARTH could compose lately; this is what we can imagine a Scandinavian sound with the musical paradigm that goes with it. There is a beautiful rhythmic progression in this sweet and denser as well. "Temples" with a violin in the Jean-Luc Ponty for a title for intimate again, cold, on a background of languid melancholy, with an imposing bass on an air of staggering beauty, so beautiful that we forget the reminiscences: it's beautiful with frippienne guitar is even more enjoyable with the return of the violin, looking as share on tribal rhythms dear to Peter Gabriel. "Incantation Two" on an intro that could have accommodated Philip Glass, an air boundary of spleen but also there where a voice mantra propels us directly to heaven; a title with ethereal voice, which can get out of a movie soundtrack as "Time of the Gypsies" for the power of melody, a singular title by the hypnotic final. "Torture Garden" concludes the album with new tribal air to a dark atmosphere like "Passion" Peter Gabriel; low to Tony Levin well in hand, a dull air, rhythmic posed with reverb, Rick is very loving, dreamlike way to bring us here to this column. it is even more enjoyable with the return of the violin, looking as share on tribal rhythms dear to Peter Gabriel. "Incantation Two" on an intro that could have accommodated Philip Glass, an air boundary of spleen but also there where a voice mantra propels us directly to heaven; a title with ethereal voice, which can get out of a movie soundtrack as "Time of the Gypsies" for the power of melody, a singular title by the hypnotic final. "Torture Garden" concludes the album with new tribal air to a dark atmosphere like "Passion" Peter Gabriel; low to Tony Levin well in hand, a dull air, rhythmic posed with reverb, Rick is very loving, dreamlike way to bring us here to this column. it is even more enjoyable with the return of the violin, looking as share on tribal rhythms dear to Peter Gabriel. "Incantation Two" on an intro that could have accommodated Philip Glass, an air boundary of spleen but also there where a voice mantra propels us directly to heaven; a title with ethereal voice, which can get out of a movie soundtrack as "Time of the Gypsies" for the power of melody, a singular title by the hypnotic final. "Torture Garden" concludes the album with new tribal air to a dark atmosphere like "Passion" Peter Gabriel; low to Tony Levin well in hand, a dull air, rhythmic posed with reverb, Rick is very loving, dreamlike way to bring us here to this column. Air also share on rhythmic tribal dear to Peter Gabriel. "Incantation Two" on an intro that could have accommodated Philip Glass, an air boundary of spleen but also there where a voice mantra propels us directly to heaven; a title with ethereal voice, which can get out of a movie soundtrack as "Time of the Gypsies" for the power of melody, a singular title by the hypnotic final. "Torture Garden" concludes the album with new tribal air to a dark atmosphere like "Passion" Peter Gabriel; low to Tony Levin well in hand, a dull air, rhythmic posed with reverb, Rick is very loving, dreamlike way to bring us here to this column. Air also share on rhythmic tribal dear to Peter Gabriel. "Incantation Two" on an intro that could have accommodated Philip Glass, an air boundary of spleen but also there where a voice mantra propels us directly to heaven; a title with ethereal voice, which can get out of a movie soundtrack as "Time of the Gypsies" for the power of melody, a singular title by the hypnotic final. "Torture Garden" concludes the album with new tribal air to a dark atmosphere like "Passion" Peter Gabriel; low to Tony Levin well in hand, a dull air, rhythmic posed with reverb, Rick is very loving, dreamlike way to bring us here to this column. air on the edge of melancholy but also there where a voice mantra propels us directly to heaven; a title with ethereal voice, which can get out of a movie soundtrack as "Time of the Gypsies" for the power of melody, a singular title by the hypnotic final. "Torture Garden" concludes the album with new tribal air to a dark atmosphere like "Passion" Peter Gabriel; low to Tony Levin well in hand, a dull air, rhythmic posed with reverb, Rick is very loving, dreamlike way to bring us here to this column. air on the edge of melancholy but also there where a voice mantra propels us directly to heaven; a title with ethereal voice, which can get out of a movie soundtrack as "Time of the Gypsies" for the power of melody, a singular title by the hypnotic final. "Torture Garden" concludes the album with new tribal air to a dark atmosphere like "Passion" Peter Gabriel; low to Tony Levin well in hand, a dull air, rhythmic posed with reverb, Rick is very loving, dreamlike way to bring us here to this column. a singular way by the hypnotic final. "Torture Garden" concludes the album with new tribal air to a dark atmosphere like "Passion" Peter Gabriel; low to Tony Levin well in hand, a dull air, rhythmic posed with reverb, Rick is very loving, dreamlike way to bring us here to this column. a singular way by the hypnotic final. "Torture Garden" concludes the album with new tribal air to a dark atmosphere like "Passion" Peter Gabriel; low to Tony Levin well in hand, a dull air, rhythmic posed with reverb, Rick is very loving, dreamlike way to bring us here to this column.

HERD OF INSTINCT is a musical bomb, this 5th album is much better than "Conjure" in 2013 on which I had already stopped when I had known; HOI wrote a beautiful opus motley music, unclassifiable, beyond the dark and disturbing atmosphere of the best KING CRIMSON. HOI has created his own musical paw, HOI released a wonderful album, even if such is not mine. HOI may bring you to a state of decay, not sublimation as on the cover.

 Conjure by HERD OF INSTINCT album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.83 | 113 ratings

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Conjure
Herd Of Instinct Eclectic Prog

Review by b_olariu
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Herd of Instinct is a quite intresting band from newer generation of prog bands. Conjure is the second offer from 2013 and I might confess I was both delighted by some piecesd and bored to death by others. Definetly the sound is something between heavier section a la Kind Crimson with electronic experimental arrangements, jazzy moments, avant prog escapades, a real mix bag here. Dead Leaf Echo or New lands are definetly solid, but when the music beggins to be very avant and experimental with electronic keyboards and abient sounds then something is not right for my ears like Solitude one or A Sense of an Ending. Overall decent I might say, almost half of the album is great the rest is boring to death. 3 stars is best I can give and btw strange art work like the music aswell.

 Conjure by HERD OF INSTINCT album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.83 | 113 ratings

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Conjure
Herd Of Instinct Eclectic Prog

Review by Windhawk
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars US foursome HERD OF INSTINCT was formed in 2007, and following four years of work with a number of guest musicians helping out they released their self-titled debut album in 2011. "Conjure" is their sophomore production, and was released through Djam Karet's indie label Firepool Records in 2013.

If you have a taste for instrumental rock that resides within the more demanding parts of the progressive rock universe, Herd Of Instinct is a band that merits an inspection. Structurally complex material using electronic effects and metal inspired details in a framework defined by Frippian inspired guitar details, and I'd recommend this band to fans of early 80's King Crimson and classic Djam Karet, especially those amongst them with a taste for artists such as Ozric Tentacles.

 Herd Of Instinct by HERD OF INSTINCT album cover Studio Album, 2011
4.06 | 82 ratings

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Herd Of Instinct
Herd Of Instinct Eclectic Prog

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars An intense album showing the influence of mid-1970s King Crimson as filtered through more modern revivalist acts like Porcupine Tree or Djam Karet (indeed, the album came out on Djam Karet's own Firepool Records label), Herd of Instinct's self-titled release is a compelling mostly-instrumental affair. You get the impression listening to this that if they wanted to, Herd of Instinct could be a devastatingly heavy technical extreme metal band, but instead they go for a more musically diverse sound which displays a wide sonic palette. With impeccable production and excellent performances, the band also strike a fine balance between showcasing technical proficiency and maintaining a distinctive tone and atmosphere.
 Conjure by HERD OF INSTINCT album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.83 | 113 ratings

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Conjure
Herd Of Instinct Eclectic Prog

Review by AtomicCrimsonRush
Special Collaborator Symphonic Team

4 stars Herd of Instinct's "Conjure" is an instrumental album with some heavy guitars and embellishments of flute, trumpet, fretless bass, Hammond, Moog and Mellotron and some killer drums. Immediately one will recognise heavy influences of King Crimson, especially on the polyphonic time signatures of 'Brutality of Fact', even feeling at one point like guitarist Mike Davison is channelling Robert Fripp.

This leads to the spacier effects on 'Alice Krige Pt.1 ' with a haunting guitar sounding violin style, punctuated by African rhythms and sweeping keyboards. Joel Adair's trumpet is otherworldly and adds a genuine feeling of isolation and shrouds the nocturnal atmosphere. The flute further enhances the soundscape played beautifully by Bob Fisher; a mesmerising track.

'Solitude One' continues the ambient sound, with backwards keys and an Egyptian or Arabic flavour resounding; an incredible atmosphere. Another great track is 'Mother Night' utilising the fretless bass well and swathes of synths that transfix with their beauteous melodies. 'Vargtimmen' has a short narrative then locks into pronounced Crimsonian guitar phrases and grandiose synth lines. 'Malise' is more King Crimson sounds that have a dissonant aroma until breaking into frenetic tom tom percussion and blasts of guitar distortion. There is a heavier feel on 'New Lands' with a driving fast tempo and more aggressive guitar expulsions. The lead break is dynamic and frenetic.

'A Sense of an Ending' slows things down to a simmering keyboard and bold fretless bassline notations. The effervescent keyboard phrases are coupled by guitar glissando and some distorted off beat rhythms. 'The Secret of Fire' closes things off with glistening key pads and phased lead guitar over a relentless bass and drum signature. The melody is more upbeat and it ends with an improvisation of sustained lead and ethereal synth. It is a wonderful journey and one of the better instrumental albums out there.

 Conjure by HERD OF INSTINCT album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.83 | 113 ratings

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Conjure
Herd Of Instinct Eclectic Prog

Review by Vibrationbaby

5 stars There is nothing routine happening on this jewel. Conjure crosses fine red musical lines as the surreal cover concept implies and the listener is never ready for where or when each composition is going to decide to end. Certainly nothing verse / chorus / verse about this Frankenstein. Dark mysterious forces lurk on this spooky instrumental whose themes and inspirations form sonic images of everything from a Swedish gothic horror movie ( Vargtimmen ) to delving into the supernatural qualities of fire ( The Secret of Fire ). The foreboding blackness of night ( Mother Night ) is explored with Crimsonian mellotron backdrops and gothic synth harmonies which contrast with more soothing overtones that paint a terrible yet sublime portrait of this fascinating time of day when everything that lives seems to undergo enigmatic transformations. The opening track, Praxis seems to draw some cues from Mike Oldfield's Tubular Bells intro that was used in The Exorcist horror film which sets the mood for the rest of the album,a precursory for the rest of the work which takes the listener through a mind trip of abstruse fluctuating ideas and moods.

Stylistically Conjure is a hybrid beyond category assimulating eclectic interpretations of electronic, ambient, metal, eastern stylings with tinges of psychedelia and traditional jazz and at times even sounding like a dreamy new age soundscape. Like any cutting edge musical exploration Conjure can take you to many places in relatively short time periods using many different musical devices such as reverse reverb, loops and the use of unexpected instruments such as the trumpet and flute on the smoky Alice Krige pt.1 with it's cool hypnotic electro beats. The meticulously constructed pieces also give the listener the illusion of missing time. I was surprised to find that only 53 minutes had elapsed after the first listen and thought the clock was playing with my head and even then I didn't want the album to end! It is one of those first listens that leaves you aghast, saying to yourself : this I gotta freaking hear again man! It is definitely music for the future while maintaining a conspicuous mystical future/primitive aura throughout. The masterful employment of the Mark Cook's low action Waar guitar and fretless bass lines of Colin Edwin ( from Porcupine Tree ) lend an overall visceral feel and provides a common denominator that fuses the individual compositions together. And when Gayle Ellett's angry synths enter into the fray a legendary sound is created. He audaciously integrates the rather antiquated moog, mellotron, Hammond Organ and Fender Rhodes piano with cutting edge recording technology which make them sound like novel inventions of the 21st century. Conjure might be sporadically compared to King Crimson's later work as well as some of Bill Bruford's solo work ( think : One of a Kind ) but the overall aftereffect emanates from the creative recesses of the individual players that meld as one single entity that give Conjure it's magical preeminence. Despite their intrinsical differences, the 12 tracks each live up to their namesakes and manage to create their own visions within themselves. Even if they are subiect to abrupt mood swings at times the compositions still maintain an individual musical intellection, and though Conjure is not a concept album per se, the result is a circumscribed harmony. I got the impression that the music was actually some phantasmagoric living entity. Solitude One ( my fave ), which also demonstrates the group's ability to adapt to another composer's intentions, reflects this impression magnificently. There is so much happening in this integration of middle eastern / east Indian rhythms and charms with western technologies. The coda simply numbs the mind. While I am not familiar with composer Lisa Lazo she must have arrived from some other dimension of time and space that I don't know about yet. The employment of the traditional bowed dilruba alongside modern guitar loops/synths and keyboards and programmed tabla-like percussion is a perfect marriage that defines the delicate future / primitive intricacy of the music found on Cojure.

Dark & moody as it is, Conjure is a mysterious creature of depthless substance that definitely beckons the headphones. Conjure is not an album to be listened to from across the room or while tinkering with your 1966 Pontiac GTO project car. It requires fully focused, attentive ears or you miss out on subtlties that colour the album. Whether it be the sublime Alice Krige pt. 1 or the furious Dead Leaf Echo with it's poignant intro and Sabbath-like riffing before grinding to a halt. The barrage of changes and suprises on Conjure are not unlike what was being unleashed by Gentle Giant in the early seventies with their incongruous renderings and unresolved musical inversions. The very Crimsonian, conflagrated Brutality of Fact aptly demonstrates this with Mike Davidson's Frippish guitar lines that are constantly persecuted by Gayle Ellett's relentless synths. Conjure is not all that doomy and gloomy though. Upon the arrival of track 10, the evocative New Lands, a sweeping folky tone emerges which is evocative of a quest for discovery. It comes as close to mainstream affections that you're going to hear on the album complete with an almost conventional guitar solo at the conclusion which consolidates and gives the piece a conquering finality.

This is no garden-variety contemporary instrumental album. No showboating here, just solid musicianship and compositional structure. This is one of the most together instrumental groups that I've heard in a long while, tight rhythms, complex musical phrasings and complete disregard for convention. I'll be listening to this baby when I'm in my eighties for sure.

 Herd Of Instinct by HERD OF INSTINCT album cover Studio Album, 2011
4.06 | 82 ratings

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Herd Of Instinct
Herd Of Instinct Eclectic Prog

Review by tszirmay
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

5 stars Herd of Instinct, as the name would likely imply, proposes a primal, almost visceral take on experimental prog, armed with the latest technological tools of the trade, namely guitar synths and the Warr guitar , both propelled by some bruising drumming. Mark Cook is the Warr man, splashing a vast array of stringy colorations that defy logic, aided and abetted by Mike Davison on various electronic, electric and acoustic guitars as well as the sitar. Then comes along the drum maniac, Jason Spradlin who is a merciless percussor of the very finest ilk. The material is all instrumental, highly atmospheric but instinctive, almost prehistoric in a strange way, an interesting collage of modern and primeval. I am reminded in many ways of the original innovators of this style, the Summers-Fripp collaboration in the 80s that yielded the magnificent" I Advance Masked" and the slightly less brilliant "Bewitched". All the tunes are in the 5 minute range, nothing overtly symphonic or epic, just straightforward experimentation with lots of complex intricacies, amid gales of rhythmic fury and huge cascades of sound.

"Transformation" sets the tone, "Room without Shadows" takes it to another depth altogether, a taut, claustrophobic explosion of sound that will surprise the casual listener and draw them in seductively. Highlight track "Road to Asheville" offers up some flute salad, sitar and fabulous acoustic work on nylon guitar, all packaged tightly and tautly. On "Hex", slithering pools of serenity are assaulted by an unexpected brutal onslaught out of nowhere, devastating and ruthless. This Spradlin fellow really appeals to me a lot, a fantastic drummer who understands the polyrhythmic jungle and yet still beats the skins silly. The colliding guitar work is tremendous and exhilarating. "Blood Sky" even has a female vocal that gives it a delicate preciousness and a sense accessibility that are most gratifying. One will not fail to recognize the legendary Jerry Marotta on drums with his cymbal-less beat made so famous on classic Peter Gabriel albums. First appearance from Gayle Ellett on mellotron, he of Djam Karet fame, a musician who will soon join the core for their sophomore album. "Anamnesis" is technically intricate yet wholly accessible and ear- pleasant, a track featuring the tremendous Dave Streett on bass, King Crimson's Pat Mastelotto on drums and Markus Reuter on touch guitar. "Vibrissa" is the undeniable highpoint here, a colossal piece that screams, howls, sears and crashes like a phosphorous bomb gone berserk, propelled by the mighty Gavin Harrison himself, Davison and Ellett trading axe solos , Streett holding down the low end and Cook plastering the Warr all over the sonic package. The mood veers into jazzier percolations (Gavin really does wonders here!) and the entire track is pure travel and flight. "Possession" conjures up some more vocal samples from Kris Swensson and Gavin remains seated at the drum stool, as Cook, Davison and Reuter weave some axe magic, lush with treatments, loops and sonic manoeuvres, very cool and very vaporous. The "I Advance Masked" influence is very obvious throughout but especially here, as the guitars stitch oh so tightly. I just love solid music like this! "S. Karma" keeps the pace torrid and bellicose, arrayed with some tremendous fretless bass work from Mark Cook as well as some flute dashes, while Spradlin continues to establish his drumming credentials. The album concludes on the rampaging cavalcade "The Face of Another", a fitting finale of brooding exuberance, confidently expressed and ecstatically received.

This is one of the more stunning debut's by any American band ever, where drop-dead brilliant cinematographic music, fabulous production and sound, attractive artwork and devastating enjoyment coalesce as one Herd of Instinct, indeed! The Next one will be even better, believe it or not!

5 Flock Dispositions

 Conjure by HERD OF INSTINCT album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.83 | 113 ratings

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Conjure
Herd Of Instinct Eclectic Prog

Review by tszirmay
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

5 stars Herd of Instinct combines the essence of experimental progressive with obvious recent King Crimson overtones, mixed in with the instrumental creativity of Djam Karet, a legendary US band that has musician Gayle Ellett handling the mellotron and synths. The music is dense, brooding and adventurous, nicely expanding the soundscapes of conventional prog. Essentially a quartet of Mark Cook (Warr guitar, guitars and basses), Jason Spradlin on drums, guitarist Mike Davison and the afore mentioned Ellett, the band has continued its usage of hired guns to perform on various cuts, just like they did on their debut album. The most prominent here is Porcupine Tree bassist Colin Edwin who injects his fretless rumble on a couple of tracks, namely the terrific opener 'Praxis' where the fluid low-end combines nicely with some 'bicycle' guitar motifs a la Fripp, dense ivory atmospherics and solid beats.

The tracks are rather short, mostly between 3 and 6 minutes, which gives an immediate sense of freshness and breath, even though the delivery is rapid-fire and frenetic. The flow of expressive musical ideas certainly provide a sense of direction but this is most definitely an athletic yet musical display of masterful chops with great attention to avoid overtly technical exuberations, sticking to the mind-music philosophy of this interesting band. All tracks are standout pieces of glorious music, a dab of flute here, some trumpet there, pulsating rhythms and deadly soloing.

On 'Alice Krige Part 1' the music gets really spacy and ethereal, firmly anchored in stunning reverie and sonic anticipation, while the magical 'Solitude One' offers some sultry Middle Eastern motifs mixed in with almost electronic beats, a trick that doesn't often work but here it's just plain genial because of the solid percussion work and the dissonant sand storm- like guitar. Herd of Instinct actually deliver a fascinating instrumental ballad on 'Mother Night', with howling mellotrons, nuclear drumming, rollicking bass patterns and shifting contrasts between splendor and palpitation. The serene synth 'led chorus is melancholic to the hilt, a total success story! I mean, WOW! 'Vargtimmen' has Nordic glacial overtones, frozen bergs of mellotron sprawling among the lapping North Sea waves, reverberating bass buoys bobbing frantically amid the crazy guitar sinews, something any progfan would relate to. There is a definite hint of Anekdoten within the grooves. 'New Lands' inquire about more Floydian scapes, with a scratchy guitar barrage, pummeling bass and some sweltering axe solos, while Colin Edwin does a return cameo on the moody 'A Sense of Ending', once again showcasing his fretless magic. If you are fan of the bass like yours truly, you will not be disappointed, the deft finger play is simply staggering! The disc ends with the volcanic 'The Secret of Fire', a spewing musical volcano of sheer delight, showcasing the shifting electric guitar in a most psychedelic spotlight, a tremendous finale!

Moshkito correctly stated that this is highly innovative and futuristic progressive rock, I cannot agree more as the crisp production only highlights the modern feel of the musicianship. Sensational background music but also dense enough for the critical headphone sonic surgeon, there is a lot to admire and enjoy from these new pioneers. Definitely a revelation that will surprise many a skeptic, Herd of Instinct is an avalanche of beastly intentions, set to trample mercilessly every clich' set in its rampaging path. Great artwork to boot!

5 invocations

Thanks to epignosis for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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