Some people think of high-decibel head-banging when they hear the term "progressive metal, but there's often more to it than meets the eyeor the ear. Even a longstanding group like King Crimson has edged closer and closer to a metal mentality in its most recent incarnation, even describing its own music as "nuevo metal. Not surprisingly, Crimson's last albumThe Power to Believeappealed not just to existing fans; and by touring with dark-edged Tool, the group introduced a whole new audience to the sometimes vicious twin-guitar assault of Robert Fripp and Adrian Belew.
But what continues to distinguish Crimson from the more committed metal-heads is that, while it may demonstrate an increasing penchant for getting deep down and heavy, the group balances its denser side with lighter textures, creating a breadth of dynamic and ambience that keeps it from becoming predictable or single-minded.
The Polish quintet known as Indukti operates under a similar premise. Indukti's debut album, S.U.S.A.R., while filled with its fair share of two-guitar bombast (courtesy of Piotr Kocimski and Maciej Jaskiewicz) and rapid-fire visceral double bass drum beats (from Wawrzyniec Dramowicz), creates an intriguing series of contrasts by featuring acoustic guitars and guest Anna Faber's harp on many of the album's seven tracks. Rounding out the quintet are bassist Maciek Adamczyk, whose sharp-edged tone manages to cut through the inherent density of the guitars; and Ewa Jablonska, whose violin adds a surprisingly melodic component to Indukti's sometimes complicated arrangements.
Indukti is an instrumental quintet, but for S.U.S.A.R. the group enlists Mariusz Duda, a sometimes angst-ridden singer who nevertheless gives it a greater focus that's sure to broaden its appeal. And while that appeal will be primarily to fans of groups like Tool, King's X, Dream Theatre, and Queensrÿche, the band does also have a lighter sideeven a taste of world music with the Indian-centric introduction to "Shade. While the twin acoustic guitar arpeggios that drive the beginning of "Cold Inside...I ultimately go electric, the song retains a mysterious quality throughout, dissolving into a passage for solo harp that segues to the more powerful and rhythmically insistent instrumental "No. 11812.
Nobody in this band is a virtuoso, so fans looking for a shred-fest will need to go elsewhere. What Indukti brings to the table is an approach that's more firmly compositional in nature; the group's longer pieces are more episodic in nature than the kind of extended vamping preferred by high-octane soloists.
S.U.S.A.R. may be a bit of a stretch for progressive fans of lighter fare like Porcupine Tree or Marillion. Still, for those who like their prog heavybut with enough textural diversity to keep things off-balance and filled with surpriseIndukti is well worth checking out.
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