2 Jul 2022
UsernamePassword

Remember Me? | Join | Recover
Click here to sign in via social networking

Stealphish - EP Review: No Road To Shadesmar

09 Jun 2022 // A review by Kev Rowland

It has been quite a while since we last heard from Stealphish, probably due to a combination of Covid and guitarist Josh Barker busy recording an EP with Café Fistfight, but this time around we have a 3-track EP instead of just a single. He is again joined by his brother Dan who wrote and arranged the drums, while pianist Caitlyn Abbott again makes an appearance on one track. Josh is known as a seven-string shredder, adding bite and complexity to CF, and while he also lets rip in his own project when he decides the time is right there are also plenty of times when there is much more concentration on atmosphere and the power of the arrangements.

Involving Dan means the drums have a far more organic feel in nature, driving the music along as opposed to just setting a beat, which can often happen within one-man projects. Also, Josh does not rely just on his guitar throughout but also brings in layers of keyboards to create a soundscape which always has direction as opposed to just meandering along. This is instrumental music with a purpose, and although he has a fine Meshuggah-like crunch when he needs it, for the most part he keeps it in abeyance which means it has far more impact when he does let rip. According to the notes, “This music is best enjoyed while listening through headphones and pondering the limitless abstractions of infinite reality while watering your favourite house plant.” While I am not sure how to relate to the last part of that sentence (I must have a favourite?), I do concur that the only way to really optimize this release is by playing it on headphones, preferably when not being distracted by anything else.

There is a depth within this, with complex arrangements that can also be quite simplistic in nature at times, all combining to create something quite special indeed. The dynamics and contrast within this are intense and we can change from something almost balladic in nature to something which is bombastic and massively over the top within a bar, yet it is always controlled and polished and never as aggressive as one knows it could be. With one song at 6 minutes in length, another at 5, we are being led to Shadesmar which in more than 9, but it passes by very quickly indeed. This is a wonderfully intriguing release from Stealphish is captivating and thoroughly enjoyable on first play while repeated listening helps to fully understand the depths and layers within.

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

Other Reviews By Kev Rowland

Gig Review: Pale Flag @ Dead Witch, Auckland - 01/07/2022
02 Jul 2022 // by Kev Rowland
Tonight, I was supposed to be at The Tuning Fork for Ekko Park and Jordan Luck but the dreaded Covid had cast its spell and the gig was cancelled earlier in the week. I did a quick check to see what was on at Dead Witch and discovered there was a four-band bill and knowing three of them I could see it was going to be a good night so decided to head that way.
Read More...
Ayla Wesley - Single Review: Say To Me
30 Jun 2022 // by Kev Rowland
Normally, when I am reviewing singles for MNZ the turnaround time we work to is 7 days and it is not unusual for me to work on far tighter deadlines than that, but Ayla was incredibly well organised with the promotion for her second single, and I have been playing this for the last 3 weeks at least. In that time it has become a real earworm, and I have even found myself singing it as I walk around (not a pleasant experience for anyone in the vicinity, let me assure you).
Read More...
Ed Waaka - Single Review: E Kura
30 Jun 2022 // by Kev Rowland
It did not take long for me to fall in love with this song, probably the first 30 seconds I guess, as there is something about it which grabs hold the listener, puts them in a safe place, and lets the singer bare their soul. Soul, yes, this is full of it in a musical sense as well as an emotional one, and when I discovered he was singing about the upcoming birth of his first daughter, whether he would be a good father, and the need to reconnect to his Maori heritage it made a great deal of sense.
Read More...
Danica Bryant - Single Review: Crush
30 Jun 2022 // by Kev Rowland
Here we have the lead single from Danica Bryant’s forthcoming EP, Ego Death, and if this is fully representative, then that is something to look out for. For a young artist she has already had considerable success, mentoring with Bic Runga while also gaining a support slot for Elton John on his ‘Farewell Yellow Brick Road’ tour, and while she has already tasted success on the NZ Hot Singles Chart, I am sure this is going to head the same way.
Read More...
Tia Ward - EP Review: Me and Me Too
30 Jun 2022 // by Kev Rowland
This is the debut EP from Hawkes Bay singer Tia Ward, following on from two singles which were released ahead of time, Under Wraps and Paint Dry, both of which are included here. The first thing which the listener notices are her vocals, which are both understated yet firmly to the fore.
Read More...
Dark Divinity - Single Review: Left For Dead
30 Jun 2022 // by Kev Rowland
Formed in 2017 by drummer Ian Moir, melodic death metal act Dark Divinity have been through quite a lot in the last five years, as not only have they supported the likes of At The Gates, The Haunted, The Black Dahlia Murder and Psycroptic but have already released an EP, some singles and have of course been running the gamut of line-up changes. The most recent of these has seen the departure of singer Jolene Tempest and the return to a male singer in Jesse Wheeler, with the line-up completed by guitarist/bassist Paul Stewart and guitarist Jiji Aligno.
Read More...
Tryonics - Album Review: Fragmented
29 Jun 2022 // by Kev Rowland
Tryonics is the solo project of Hap Richardson, formerly of My Little Pony, Go Victim and Freezer Child. It is completely a one-man affair as Hap not only provided all the music and vocals but also recorded and mixed it as well.
Read More...
Anxiety Club - Single Review: Carousel
24 Jun 2022 // by Kev Rowland
Here we have the latest single from Wellington-based Anxiety Club, taken from the forthcoming album Old Dreams, but anyone expecting more of their guitar-led music is going to be in for quite a surprise as there has been a major shift in their sound, caused by circumstance as much as by design. Like many bands unable to perform or tour over the pandemic, they used the downtime to focus on new songs, but that was not their only issue.
Read More...
View All Articles By Kev Rowland

NZ Top 10 Singles

  • GLIMPSE OF US
    Joji
  • RUNNING UP THAT HILL (A DEAL WITH GOD)
    Kate Bush
  • AS IT WAS
    Harry Styles
  • GO (GODDARD. REMIX)
    Cat Burns
  • VEGAS
    Doja Cat
  • JIMMY COOKS
    Drake feat. 21 Savage
  • BIG CITY LIFE
    Luude And Mattafix
  • I AIN'T WORRIED
    OneRepublic
  • FIRST CLASS
    Jack Harlow
  • ABOUT DAMN TIME
    Lizzo
View the Full NZ Top 40...
muzic.net.nz Logo
100% New Zealand Music
All content on this website is copyright to muzic.net.nz and other respective rights holders. Redistribution of any material presented here without permission is prohibited.
Report a ProblemReport A Problem