Lean Mean Prog Machine

Black Market Serotonin – DeadByFiveOClock

Stream – ‘Hours’

Prog rock always gets stick for being too much technical proficiency and not much in the way of feeling. This usually is a bland generalisation (which does ring true for a couple of bands, though), but thankfully, the people from Black Market Serotonin keep it snappy. Even if DeadByFiveOClock clocks 35 minutes (only 5 songs), it is strange that the only song that feels like it drags is the only one that last less than 4 minutes.

But enough negativity. It all kickstarts with ‘Deadbyfiveoclock’ (which you can download from their last.fm for cero pesos). Starting with some synth stuff and a very distant acoustic guitar (slightly buried in the mix), the song jolts in, barging unannounced with a very punchy riff. The mood is more on the heavier side, although there’s a spacey interlude where the distortion is cranked down. A spot of catch your breath, yeah?

If there’s one thing that always gives a song class, it’s piano, and amidst all the crazy little guitar riffs, there are some piano interludes in three of the songs. The first one to use this really needs it, as it’s quite a heavy one. The song is ‘The end of history’,  lengthy (7 + minutes) lil’ opus that feels like several songs flowing organically. Some electronica tricks are to be found here and they complement each other rather well. The piano break is a nice touch, a trick repeated on the next track.

‘Revelation one’, stuck firmly in the middle of the EP, drops all noise to let the piano take the limelight, breathe, whirl and twirl and then go back to some proggy stuff. It’s a fresh breath of air and gives the song a lot of range.

Even if it sounded like I’m going to be negative about ‘Clarity’, it’s not really a bad song, it’s just that it feels like it could do with some extra love. Still, a change of pace is always appreciated and I like the chorus. The instrumental break is top notch too.

The piano in ‘Hours’ is much more prominent, probably the driving point for the whole song. This doesn’t mean the other instruments are AWOL, but it feels like a very joined effort, probably the moment where the whole band really syncs together. From the melancholic beginning (with added rain effects, natch!) to the introspective piano stroll to the majestic end (that drumming – oh yeah), it seems this one song is the one that Black Market Serotonin is having the most fun on. Not that any of the previous ones show any problems.

The ending is abrupt, only the soothing sound of rain is left. A very enjoyable sort of progressive rock, never gazing at its navel for too long, and with their own virtuoso-like talent Black Market Serotonin have a very nice collection of songs in this EP.



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About the author: Really like ‘Hours’. What a bostin closer.

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