Proghma-C - Bar-Do Travel
Mystic Production
Progressive Metal
10 songs (1:13:59)
Release year: 2009
Reviewed by Goat
Archive review

Polski Proggers Proghma-C have a very specific formula to their brand of music. Quite obviously a prog band from their name, the five-piece have two influences which they obsess over in the course of Bar-Do Travel, their debut full-length – Tool and Meshuggah. And that’s it, and I could end the review there and you’d know all you need to know. People who love either or both of those bands are going to get a good deal more out of Bar-Do Travel than people who hate them, obviously, yet Proghma-C have a way to go before they measure up to their idols. At this early point in their careers, the band are better at replicating their influences than they are at actually doing anything with them, and so we get the sort of bendy-sounding riffs that Meshuggah are known for on Spitted Out, and we get Maynard Keenan impersonations on So Be-Live – neither of which really come over that well.

I find this frustrating because there are numerous moments of weirdness dotted here and there which suggest that the band are capable of evolving an interesting sound of their own – the beginning of Kana a good example. Hints of atmospheric skill such as gentle guitar tingles in the background are nicely done, and really you can’t fault their skill at any point – the enjoyable Naan is played to perfection, mixing trippy Toolisms with a nice and technical rhythm section. Interestingly, the band are into their electronica as well, meaning that moments of ambience like I Can’t Illuminate With You are rife. The stuttering part of Spiralling To Another works well, yet for every moment like that there’s plenty of standard Meshuggah-esque grooving which, when replicated as soullessly as this, can get dull fast.

It’s all strangely unexciting – you haven’t got the overall sense of expectant journey that you do with Tool albums as you ponder the band’s next move, or the drive and aggression of Meshuggah’s single-minded technical maelstroms. A certain breed of prog metal fans will find much to like, yet overall I did get the feeling that Proghma-C weren’t replicating anything nearly as brilliant as what their influences have achieved. A band to watch, then, as I expect their second album to build upon the small successes here and be a better summary of what they are all about.

Killing Songs :
Spiralling To Another, Naan
Goat quoted 68 / 100
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