Bushwhack - Bushwhack
Self released
Instrumental Progressive Hard Rock / Metal
13 songs (68'00)
Release year: 2008
Reviewed by Marty
Surprise of the month
Bushwhack is a Connecticut, USA based band whose member's ages range from the late teens to early 20's with a couple of members even knowing each other since first grade. A lifelong love of music has kept this close group of friends together and after all taking up various instruments, it seemed to make perfect sense to form their own band. Showing a musical maturity far beyond their years, Bushwhack creates instrumental progressive rock that shows strong influences from some of their favorite bands including Porcupine Tree, Dream Theater and Nine Inch Nails. Dialling the clock back even further, strong influences from such 70's and 80's greats as Camel, King Crimson and Marillion often surface in their music as well as a healthy dose of Pink Floyd.

The Pink Floyd influence makes an early appearance with the album intro In Solitude. This 2 minute track bears a strong resemblance to Signs Of Life, the opening track from Pink Floyd's Momentary Lapse Of Reason album. The main difficulty with instrumental music is to try to keep the listener's interest. Without the aid of vocals, bands must try to keep a structured theme flowing through their music and Bushwhack does this very well. Tracks like The Greatest Wall and Future's Past are just a couple of great examples of how this band favors mixing jazzy segments with heavier guitar riff oriented ones; creating a cyclic feel to their song arrangements. The guitar riffs are simplistic yet very effective with guitarist Jamie Van Dyck favoring chordal octave "voicings" and tasteful yet very expressive and melodic lead guitar work. By starting many tracks in a quiet and sombre fashion, the slow building of intensity and heaviness is a strong staple of their music. Some of Jamie Van Dyck's soaring lead work over swirling synthesizers brings veteran 70's prog rock giants Camel to mind and his very expressive style with the very Pink Floyd influenced In Flames shows signs of David Gilmour's trademark playing style. A few tracks use some very odd time signatures in true King Crimson / Dream Theater fashion including Guacamole and the truly manic sounding Head Trauma. Wild and very abstract in nature, Head Trauma is all over the place in its arrangement that includes mellow piano based parts as well as huge heavy guitar and synth riffs. Heavier, chugging riff styles grace tracks like Sea Of Tranquility, Menace, Sever The Sky and the especially heavier edged Sirens. More modern sounding guitar riffs and melodies keep Bushwhack's music from sounding "dated" and they infuse a freshness into what is otherwise a classic progressive hard rock sound.

Bushwhack usually (but not always) uses two or three main "themes" for each track and builds around them; often adding small changes in melody as they "cycle" through the song. Lots of very prominent bass work by Brandon Green fuses very tightly with the solid drumming style of Ben Shanbrom and keyboardist Frank Sacramone is a very versatile musician; mastering the piano, string synth and even the 70's staple the Hammond organ. Together, they really form a very tight unit and from what I have read on the net, their live shows are very energetic and they have absolutely no problem in re-creating any of their songs in a live setting. They are actually looking for a lead singer but haven't found just the right one yet. They have vowed to use the vocals as another instrument and not compromise the instrumental focus of the band. Very impressive not only for a new band but for one whose members are no older than 20 years old. Progressive rock fans should definitely check this band out, there's a lot that this band has to offer even for those with the most discerning of tastes in the genre.

Killing Songs :
The Greatest Wall, Future's Past, Sea Of Tranquility, Menace, In Flames and Head Trauma
Marty quoted 82 / 100
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