Saturday, 18 February 2012

Herd Of Instinct - Herd Of Instinct

Four years in the making, this self-titled debut by Texas’ Herd of Instinct was, in my humble opinion one of the very best progressive releases of 2011, and criminally ignored. Mark Cook and Mike Davison who between them play almost every type of guitar and guitar synth treatment you would care to imagine are backed up by the powerful polyrhythms and percussion of Jason Spradlin, who on Vibrissa is also credited with “Low synth drone”. Like it!

Having been around for a while the boys have managed to call on the services of such luminaries as Gavin Harrison (who seems to crop up everywhere these days) and Pat Mastelotto, and a crowd of others, who between them contribute drums, electronica, mellotron, keyboards, more electric guitars of every kind, bouzouki, flute, and synth. Special mention must be made of Kris Swenson, who like Mark and Jason is a former member of 99 Names Of God. She contributes the only lyric and the beguiling and gorgeous vocal to Blood Sky.

The music is a veritable melting pot of Crimson influenced eclectic world musics that knows no boundaries, rooted in complex rhythms and interplay, producing a many-splendoured listening experience. Veering from the ethnic flavoured Road To Asheville with its weaving flute work to the very Crimsoid Room Without Shadows to the downright scary Hex, in the middle we have the sinuous and slinky Blood Sky where Kris Swenson’s sensual voice wraps itself round the groovy marimba led rhythm like warm honey, before the song ends with some marvellous Warr guitar runs. Lovely stuff indeed. Pat Matselotto’s trademark percussion electronica are present and correct on Anamnesis, which would not sound out of place on one of Crimson’s ProjeKcts. Vibrissa ups the ante considerably and has some spiky guitar workouts against a backdrop of synth twiddling and keyboard dexterity from Mike McGary before changing tack somewhere in the Spanish hinterland and then returning to the heavy keyboards. This band do not lack confidence!

Things take a breather on the highly atmospheric Possession and S Karma sees a mating dance featuring Warr guitar and flute, and The Face Of Another ends things with an intricate display of 21st century power trio interplay.

Fans of King Crimson and all its myriad offshoots will love this and should buy it NOW, as in fact should all fans of real progressive music. We look forward to the second album with an eagerness that is frightening!

Buy this here!

01 Transformation (2:01)
02 Room Without Shadows (4:49)
03 Road To Asheville (5:40)
04 Hex (4:35)
05 Blood Sky (5:01)
06 Anamnesis (5:50)
07 Vibrissa (4:47)
08 Possession (4:22)
09 S. Karma (4:43)
10 The Face Of Another (4:20)

Line up:
Mark Cook - Warr Guitar, Fretless Bass, Frettless Guitar, Ebow, Synth, Acoustic & Nylon String Guitars, Chunk Guitar, Programming, Treatments, Loops, Keyboards
Mike Davison - Guitar, Guitar Synth, Spaec Guitar Chords, Nylon String Guitar, Spastic Guitar, Sitar
Jason Spradlin - Drums, Marimba, Camel Bells, Low Synth Drone

Additional Musicians
Gayle Ellett - Mellotron & Guitars (Tracks 5-7)
Bob Fisher - Flute (Tracks 3 & 9)
Gavin Harrison - Drums (Tracks 7 & 8)
Jerry Marotta - Drums & Percussion (Track 5)
Pat Mastelotto - Drums, Electronics & Percussion (Track 6)
Martin McCall - Percussion (Track 3)
Mike McGary - Keybord Solo, Additional Synth Treatments (Track 7)
Markus Reuter - Touch Guitar, Solo & Loops (Tracks 6 & 8)
Dave Streett - Warr Guitar (Tracks 3 & 5), Bass Guitar (Tracks 6 & 7)
Kris Swenson - Vocals & Lyrics (Track 5), Vocal Samples (Track 8)

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