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Herd Of Instinct - Conjure CD (album) cover


Herd Of Instinct


Eclectic Prog

3.83 | 113 ratings

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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

tszirmay | 5/5 |


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