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Proghma-C: Bar-do Travel

Label: Armoury Records
Format: CD
Released: 2010
Reviewed By: Jack Mangan
Rating: 7.5/ 10

It's dense, it's difficult, it's challenging, it's pretty good. With a name like Proghma-C (or is it Prohgma-C? Prhogma-C? I can't remember where the damn letter "H" goes without checking the CD. OK, it is Proghma-C.), with a debut release featuring three-minute long songs bleeding right into the 9-minute journeys, 130-seconds of heavily-accented spoken word, some Voivod-esque disharmony, and many, many long stretches of repetitive instrumental sections - - this band is not trying to achieve VH1 Top 10 list success. I do hope they make it in their target prog-metal community, however. "Bar-do Travel" is full of dark delights and rewards for the patient listener. Nothing is done quickly or succinctly on this album (these guys probably really struggle with Twitter), but that's not necessarily a bad thing. The listener needs to accept from the get-go that they won't be able to sustain focus on every note throughout every song. Attention will drift and return, especially during the long expanses of deep prog.


I can hear why they're compared to Tool, but Proghma-C remind me much more of their countrymen(?) Textures (good band), especially when the vocals get screamy. I can't recommend Proghma-C to all, but the select audience who will get this will enjoy the heavy, low-tuned guitars, the alternate time signatures, the epic feel - - even on the shorter tunes - - and the wonderfully-utilized spacy synth. The album highlight is probably ‘Spiralling to Another’ and its seamless transition into ‘Spitted Out’. Still, there are many wonderful sections laying around the rest of the album. I especially like the eerie doom that starts about 3:30 into ‘FO’. I'm least interested in their cover of Bjork's ‘Army of Me’. It's fine, but this song has been redone many times before, and none have yet topped the original.

This is a good album. This seems like an intelligent, artistically-ambitious band. These guys show tons of promise, and I hope they leap from "Bar-do Travel" into a brilliant sophomore release.

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