The album is a perfect smorgasbord of musical styles.
Blending prog-metal, microkorg soundscapes and slowed down instrumentals, The Stranger is definitely trying to branch out of the realms of their genre. Undoubtedly aficionados of their craft, ‘Kaleidoscope’, showcases some incredible instrumentation that is constantly blending and transforming between genres.
The 80’s synth juxtaposed with ominous keys and a choir, ‘Eleventh Hour’ gives off a modern day Nightwish feel. The riff leaves it’s complexities at the door, instead delivering a hard hitting backing to the track whilst the synth provides the lead. Tom Fraynes vocals also act as a great driving factor for the song but his high-pitched almost Patrick Stump-esque approach at times drew away from the heaviness of the music.
Songs like ‘Jester’ and ‘Kaleidoscope’ accommodate Fraynes vocals due to their slower tempo’s, allowing the song and vocals to gradually rise in a much more operatic formula.
‘Jester’ really shines with its brief but complex fills in between bars reminding me of the free-flowing improvisational style of prog pioneers like Jethro Tull.
‘The Creature In The Canopy’ highlights my favourite moment of the album, with the songs bridge breaking down to a drawn out tempo and allowing only drum fills and loose bass notes to be prominent whilst a flurry of audio samples gets overlaid over the top. Not only is the result fantastic, it also highlights how production savvy the group is.
Finishing on a slower, acoustic-based song ‘Kaleidoscope’, The Stranger highlight just how melodic they can be by stripping things back and letting the rhythm section go wild.
The Stranger has been making major waves across the progscene and really, I can see why. Their musicality is impressive, as is their overall sound but the most impressive feature is that these guys are really trying to add in something new. There isn’t enough synth in prog-metal, so let’s embrace it when it does come around.
Kaleidoscope is out today, April 9 via Octane Records.