We found out about Slagduster via an e-mail from Shane Sherman, the band’s vocalist and second guitarist. Even before getting to the music, I thought the band had two things going for it — the cover for their debut album, Nature.Humanity.Machine., and their name. One-word band names are cool, and just when I thought all the good ones had been taken, here we have Slagduster. I have no idea what it’s intended to mean or how it was conceived, but it’s got a nice, nasty ring to it.
Slagduster are from British Columbia in Canada, and the album design and art were handled by Zak Waterlow, who also recorded the album and produced it with the band at Waterlow Audio Studio. He also happens to be the band’s bass player. That’s what we call one-stop shopping.
I decided to listen to the album as part of our on-going EYE-CATCHERS experiment, in which we test the hypothesis that cool album art correlates with cool music. This particular test case completely supports the hypothesis, because this is one seriously cool album — a collection of inventive, head-spinning songs played by four extremely talented musicians. I suppose it’s a type of progressive metal, with intricate arrangements and often astonishing execution. But I really hesitate to use the term “progressive metal”.
Too often, I find prog metal to be over-produced and either too pretty (particularly the kind that includes clean singing) or so wanked-out as to lose all shape as songs. Also, too many bands who hold themselves out (or get classified without trying) as prog-metal bands forget that if you’re going to append the term “metal” to your music, it needs to be heavy, as well as creatively multi-faceted. Slagduster don’t forget that for one minute. If I had to compare them with another math-metal-leaning band, it would be CiLiCe from The Netherlands (which is high praise in my book). Continue reading »