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Saturday, March 5, 2016

Matthew Parmenter - All Our Yesterdays

By now you’re probably aware of my support of Prog Rock Deep Cuts with Ian Beabout which airs every Sunday evening at 6:00pm (5:00pm CST) on the House of Prog website. Back a few years ago, I was completely blown away by a band called Discipline on his radio show. It was almost like an American version of Van Der Graaf Generator and I went ahead and bought both To Shatter All Accord and Unfolded Like Staircase with my Birthday/Hanukkah money. And I fell in love with them and I hope to get a few more.

Matthew Parmenter is for me, one of the most mind-blowing, theatrical, and hypnotic artists who holds the train rolling for Discipline. He is also a solo artist in which he released two solo albums on the Strung Out Record label. This year, the record label, Bad Elephant Music, home to bands like Trojan Horse, The Fierce and the Dead, Shineback, Tom Slatter, and Keyboardist/Guitarist Emmett Elvin (Knifeworld, Chrome Hoof, Guapo), signed Matthew to the label and it’s a perfect combination to be a part of the Bad Elephant family. 

His third album entitled, All Our Yesterdays is named after the fifth Act in William Shakespeare’s tragedy, Macbeth. It is a stunning and heartfelt album in which Matthew plays all the instruments and he brought Discipline drummer Paul Dzendel on four tracks. Rush and Klaatu’s producer, Terry Brown, also mixes the album. And once you add him to the mix, you know something interesting is about to happen, but it is for me, a perfect collaboration.

Matthew is like a brilliant actor who nails it down the line and almost doing a one-man rock opera of an insane king who’s gone into an asylum and is telling the audience what has happened to him and why he’s lost and can’t find anyone to help him out. It’s almost like the tragic hero who locked in eternity forever that is emotional and stirring.

Stuff in the Bag is a very catchy melody. It’s upbeat tempo with piano hooks, and lyrical touches to the great Randy Newman, it’s paying nod to the legend with an ‘80s vibe as if he wrote one of his songs for a John Hughes film of the Brat Pack-era.  The spooky intro Scheherazade, starts with ghostly vocalizations that just send chills on my arm hair going up at the right exact moment.

It tells the story about The cuckold king and him eyeing it’s prey like a madman and seeing what she’ll do next for the King’s diversion while Danse du Ventre has these Robert Fripp-sque guitar melodies that could have been used in Goblin’s Suspiria with haunting piano and percussion instrumental background realization for a gothic-prog like touch.

Both All for Nothing and the title-track, including the one having the essence of Camille Saint-Saens homage of the Danse Macabre as if Jack Skellington was singing the continuation of Peter Hammill’s A Louse is not a Home as the other piece, feels almost like a operatic rock take of the 1973 horror classic, The Exorcist as if the two priests are in disbelief on what has happened to the little girl and what to do now. The closer, Hey at the Dance is almost the last rite to give one final dance and who we are and what we will do before ending in a shuffling blues rock finale.

This is my fourth and fifth time listening to All Our Yesterdays. Matthew Parmenter shows no sign of stopping. And I hope he does more with his solo work and with Discipline. I’ve mentioned a few years ago he’s the combination of Peter Hammill and Alice Cooper. And thrown in the essence of the late great David Bowie, he has a lot of charisma in his body and soul. It may not be your cup of coffee, but his third album is a cornerstone that is dark, beauty, gothic, fun, and sadness.

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