28 Nov 2022
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Stealphish - Single Review: Procidens

28 Nov 2020 // A review by Kev Rowland

I was chatting with the guys from Cafe Fistfight before their recent gig at Ding Dong, when guitarist Josh Barker asked if I would be interested in his brand-new solo release, and I was definitely intrigued. Apart from classical pianist Caitlyn Abbot, and some assistance from Dan Barker who assisted in programming the hi hat rolls at the start and some of the fills, everything on this instrumental release is by Josh.

Within Cafe Fistfight Josh has a key role to play, as with his trusty 7-string and large pedalboard, he changes the moods and styles within the overall sound by moving between metal shred and more keyboard-like sounds, always moving so that there are times when he is locked in with Chris’s acoustic and others when he is following a path which is very different indeed. Given that, I expected his own work to be incredibly varied and dynamic, and I was certainly not disappointed.

Procidens, which apparently is the Latin word for falling or collapsing, starts with gentle picking with plenty of resonance, but it does not take long at all for the complexity of arrangement to really take hold. The guitar melody is maintained, the programmed drums are dynamic and powering forward, the bass is powering, and then through it all is cutting the piano as it builds towards a logical climax. The production is very strong, and it really captures the power and the intensity of what is being played. A quick guitar break allows Josh to take the music into a new direction, with some simply superb bass lines, and he layers even more guitar on top so there are multiple strands all building together. In many ways this is an extended approach of what happens with the band, but then when he switches far more into djent and screaming solo (with the piano still there) it feels as if he has moved into Savatage/Meshuggah territory, which is mighty fine with me. This is music to make the ears bleed, but still highly melodic throughout.

It ends as it began, with picking combined with keyboards and classical piano. The only real question now is what next, and when? Definitely of interest to anyone who enjoys complex instrumental music which is bringing together many different influences and progressing in the truest sense of the word.

Rating: ( 4 / 5 )
 

About Stealphish

Stealphish is the solo music project created by guitarist and producer Josh Barker.

Josh plays lead guitar for the band Cafe Fistfight who regularly play shows around Auckland and although he writes his own parts, the majority of the music in CFF comes from the mind of talented front man Chris Moutter. So Stealphish was created in early 2020 as an outlet for Josh's love of composing and arranging original music.

It's early Days for Stealphish as only a couple songs have been made so far. The sound of the music can be described as "dream prog" as it has emotional orchestral and classical piano often building to powerful lead guitar and modern djent elements.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Stealphish

Releases

No Road To Shadesmar
Year: 2022
Type: EP

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