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The Devil's Staircase - The Devil's Staircase CD (album) cover


The Devil's Staircase


Eclectic Prog

3.66 | 11 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

siLLy puPPy
Special Collaborator
PSIKE, JRF/Canterbury, P Metal, Eclectic
4 stars It's hard to believe that a mere few decades ago music was very limited in stylistic approach and pretty much controlled by a relatively few major players in the industry however in the 21st century our collective imagination is the limit with unprecedented amounts of musical expressions emerging from every nook and cranny from this beautiful planet. While a gazillion bands seem to emerge from the masses every single day, very few actually seem to capture the imaginative process in a way that rises to the higher ranks of musical creativity.

Considering all the aspects of making an album such as musical content, album cover art, band moniker and conceptual adaptations, very few seem to weave all these elements together in a meaningful way but once in a while a group of similar minded musicians comes together and does just that! Lo and behold emerging as a multi-national bandwithmembers from Mexico, the US and Sweden called THE DEVIL'S STAIRCASE has released its self-titled debut album that emerged in the freakily crazy year of 2020. Having released an eclectically interesting unique style of progressive rock, THE DEVIL'S STAIRCASE that has been influenced by the heady disciplines of the mathematics of fractals, cellular automata, planetary orbits and chaos! Now that's some friggin' nerdy crap for sure!

This supergroup is essentially the project of Chicago physics professors Luis Nasser (bass, holophonics) and Tim McCaskey (acoustic guitar), both of Songs Umbra who employ the musical abilities of Ramses Luna (saxophone, MIDI wind, electronics) and Edgar Arrellin (sound design) of Mexican avant-garde rock band Luz de Riada along with guitarist Aaron Geller of Might Could. Also joining the fractalized freak-fest is former Anglagard member Mattias Olsson on drums, percussion and mellotron and together this sextet crafts some gnostic gnarliness that perfectly exemplifies an instrumental album's worth of five tracks that generates an interesting array of eclectic prog rock that evokes the retro sounds of the past while engaging in modern tones and textures. The result is one of my favorite albums of 2020 that completely evaded my attention.

Nerdiness aside, this isn't one of those albums in the vein of Arnold Schonberg that utilizes mathematical abstractness for the sake of itself but rather takes the listener on an instrumental journey that not only marries the sensibilities of Swedish sensations Anglagard with the knotty angularities of King Crimson in an avant-garde mood but also features rather interesting RIO sensibilities that wouldn't sound out of place on a chamber rock prog album from Univers Zero, Present or Miriodor. Make no mistake in perception here. THE DEVIL'S STAIRCASE present a hefty guitar driven brand of prog that features the usual rock instruments such as bass, drums and keyboards but also features the occasional jazzy touches courtesy of the saxophone.

Echoes and off-kilter time signature enrich the riffing process while stellar production values elevate the beautiful musical performances into a wider spectrum of sound structures, collages and harmonic overtones. The bass is beefed and pronounced, the drumming patterns are complex yet complementary while the guitar tones are gorgeous as the focal counterpoint to a groove driven proggy style that marries yesterday with the modern day. While the blurbs may boast about facts and geometry as being the impetus of creation, in reality THE DEVIL'S STAIRCASE very much employs the traditional prog characteristics that emerged so very long ago. In fact i'd probably call this a retro prog album more than something truly radically new in style but guess what! That's totally OK because these guys do it oh so very well. This is a beautiful album from beginning to end with excellent instrumental interplay. Nice!

siLLy puPPy | 4/5 |


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