By now, you’re probably familiar of me champion Texan Progressive Rock bands/artist including; Proud Peasant, Stop Motion Orchestra, The Aaron Clift Experiment, Opposite Day, and Eric Roach (Zirque Bois D’Arc). One of the bands that have taken me under the wings of the Texas Prog scene is a group from Arlington called Herd of Instinct.
Formed out of the ashes of 99 Names of God, Herd of Instinct originally started out as a trio, but then moved into a larger ensemble. They have released so far, two albums on Djam Karet’s record label, Firepool Records. And with helping hands including Pat Mastelloto and Gavin Harrison to name a few who are on the road this year with King Crimson, it shows that the Crimson influences run into the band’s music. Their new album released this year entitled, Manifestation is a transitional sound for the group.
Now I first became aware of Herd of Instinct’s music after listening to them on Prog Rock Deep Cuts with Ian Beabout which I championed last year in my article on Music from the Other Side of the Room. And I was hooked into right into their sound from the very beginning. Not only it captures a textured sound, but more of the future the moment you put the CD on from start to finish with six centerpieces to get you’re attention. It can be atmospheric, blaring, hypnotic, and experimental.
Time and Again ranges into the Space Jazz-Rock adventures thanks to the blaring Sax’s by guest musician Bob Fisher and Djam Karet’s Gayle Ellett incredible organ improvisation that channels a futuristic twist of Frank Zappa having hot and spicy BBQ with Hawkwind meets The Mahavishnu Orchestra. The Warr Guitars and Chapman Basses that Mark Cook and Rick Read do add the fuel to the Starship Enterprise for a journey where no man’s gone before.
Part 2 and Part 1 of title track delves into darker themes with ominous overtones, but layered into the skies of reaching up into the heavenly clouds combining them with African music, Jazz, different time signatures, melodic, ascending the outer limits, and should I say Mellotron fulfillments? The band goes through different melodies in the composition that will send chills down to the spines on what will happen next and they hit the homerun into the ball park.
Saddha delves into the styles of King Crimson’s Starless and Bible Black-era. Again, the Crimson influences really pack a punch as it pays tribute to the piece, Fracture. The guitars really pack a mean punch heading into evil territories that would have made Robert Fripp blown away by. You know that the danger is always there and something terrifying is about to happen.
Dybbuk feels very mysterious. Very much into the essence for a Science-Fiction Film Noir set in a dystopian universe. I can always imagine this composition with its futuristic overtones with some dosage of the Rock Progresivo Italiano (RPI) scene thrown into the mix, being used in a sequence for Ridley Scott’s 1982 sci-fi classic Blade Runner while the somber flute/violin touches of Nocturne, gives into the double-layered reverb echo surrealism of a ghost town featuring a jazzier and ambient/atmospheric 1-minute chamber jazz music that make you feel that something has gone wrong.
I really enjoyed listening to Herd of Instinct’s new album. And while I’m getting onto the band wagon of their music, along with a mind-blowing cover done by Angel Stephens who’s been considered by Rupert Truman of Storm Studios “The love child of Storm Thorgerson and Roger Dean.”
Her artwork for this album is amazing. I could tell it’s an homage between Alejandro Jodorowsky’s 1973 cult classic, The Holy Mountain and the adult illustrated fantasy magazine of Heavy Metal. The artwork and the music on here, is a powerful illustration of what Herd of Instinct’s vision brings to the kitchen table. So be prepared for a powerful journey and experience the sound of Manifestation.