Although there’s always been a representation of progressive rock throughout the years, it’s only been within the last decade that acts such as Karnivool, Sleep Parade and Dead Letter Circus have really pushed the movement to the surface and shown the world that there’s more to Australian music than the staple rock and roll of days gone by.
With the growing success of the scene (Not to mention the acts mentioned above), it comes as little surprise to find more and more acts emerging from the underground to add their mark to the growing scene. And the latest name to add to growing numbers is Melbourne based outfit Branch Arterial.
Founded a little more than a year ago, the five piece act (Comprising of vocalist Nigel Jackson, guitarist/vocalist Jason Worthy, guitarist Adam Hompas, bassist Ernie Carpanzano and drummer Darren Hurford) have played some high profile gigs alongside local acts such as Bellusira and Jericco, all the while spending time refining the songs and sound in the rehearsal studio in preparation for their recording debut.
Five months after announcing the commencement of recording, Branch Arterial has officially released their debut E.P. ‘Voices Unknown’. And quite simply, the band certainly hasn’t wasted their time in the build up to recording the real thing.
The band opens up the E.P. with ‘Emenala’, which is essentially a minute long introductory piece that quickly sets the scene for the remainder of the E.P. Right from the outset, it’s clear that Jackson has the vocals to pull off something like this off, and the band certainly know their way around a catchy chorus to suck you in from the word go.
With ‘Temple’, the band shows off the harder edge to their sound, with the song blasting out after a gentle intro. The production is a little dulled in places, but the strong sense of melody in the choruses, and the big guitar riffs more than make up for the initial lack of impact the song would otherwise make when performed live.
‘Devil In The Deep’ ups the energy levels and the heavier aspects of the band’s sound, with Jackson putting in a commanding performance where his higher vocals come to the fore, while ‘Sleep Sound’ and ‘Israel’ gently ebbs and flows, with the progressive aspect of the band’s overall sound primarily driven within the band’s musical backdrop.
The real highlight of the E.P. however is found the closing song ‘Gotham’. It’s here that the band really stretch out and take their sound to an entirely new level, with the song taking on several different feels and textures, without losing any of its character along the way.
Although you can clearly hear influences by A Perfect Circle, Karnivool and Dead Letter Circus throughout the six tracks on the E.P., Branch Arterial has put together quite an impressive debut effort, and who will undoubtedly continue to do so well into the future.
For more information on Branch Arterial, check out - http://www.myspace.com/brancharterial
© Justin Donnelly