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Progstone: Out From There

I'm often seen in album reviews, reminding myself not to read too much into a band's name, or image. However surely when an outfit calls themselves Progstone, you can expect at least a hint of Prog? No?

Well, to be fair to Switzerland's Progstone, this is a band willing to stretch things out and capable of adding nuances which stops any of the fourteen tracks on the debut effort from this quartet, Out From There, from being "straight ahead". That said, if you're looking for an easy genre "in" here, then it's inarguably the Seattle sound of Grunge. Admittedly not the anger fuelled noise based, punk rich, Nirvana or Mudhoney side of Grunge, however if you're familiar with the likes of Soundgarden and imagine them doing a swap meet of members with Pearl Jam, then you won't be in any way wide of the Progstone mark. But let me tell you, boy do these Swiss lads do it well!

Singer (and guitarist) Julien Brousset has a soulful, rich voice landing somewhere between Chris Cornell, Eddie Vedder, Corey Taylor of Stonesour and Mark Hennessey (of the much missed Paw) and it really makes him a powerful, constant, focal point here. This is a man who can sing, but not only that he also becomes a storyteller in the process, drawing you into his lyrics (bleak though insightful as they are) and really helping to build a bridge between the listener and the song. However the music itself doesn't really need a huge amount of help in that direction, Brousset's guitar partner Alban Wirthner helping to create a mix of powerful bulldozers and fragile heartbreakers.

Credit has to go to producers Florent Bernheim and Pierre Gueguen, alongside Geoff Ott, Howie Weinberg and Dan Gerbarg, who between them mixed and mastered this album for creating a seriously punchy sound, which allows the songs to not only hit hard but to soar when the occasion arises and to feel as vulnerable as a new born baby when the intensity is suddenly stepped away from. However without tracks as convincingly captivating as "Inner Fire", "Alone Together", the cello infused (courtesy of Emilie Cavallo) "Bark Of Time", brooding grit of "The Thin Red Line", or standout staccato smack of "Blackout", that would count for nothing. Bassist Eric Pellouchoud is a powerhouse, driving the songs on energetically, while drummer Yohan Ravera walks the tightrope between keeping it for the song and adding enough colour to embellish; never once looking in danger of tumbling from the wire and in truth there's barely a foot put wrong from anyone involved in this album from start to finish (I even have to commend the unusual and thought provoking artwork, also designed by the drumming Ravera!). If ever there was proof that an often plundered and much maligned genre can sound fresh and vivacious in the right hands, then it's Grunge and those hands belong to Progstone - and there ain't no Prog or Stones in sight!

See more about this release on our recent YouTube show!

Track Listing
1. Alone Together
2. Out From There
3. The Thin Red Line
4. Blackout
5. Wanna Leave
6. Inner Fire
7. Taste Of The End
8. Bark Of Time
9. Turning Down The Light
10. From Loneliness
11. Your Puppet
12. Just A Game
13. Psychotic Cage
14. Bark Of Time

Added: September 24th 2014
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Progstone online
Hits: 2958
Language: english

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» SoT Staff Roundtable Reviews:

Progstone: Out From There
Posted by Simon Bray, SoT Staff Writer on 2014-09-24 09:48:05
My Score:

First things first. I really like the artwork on this release; in fact the entire CD package is excellent almost worth the price of entry by itself. That said, when Steven Reid passed a copy of the album noting that it sounded a bit like Alice in Chains I was somewhat worried as I've very rarely met a grunge album which hasn't made me want to jump off a ledge (Pearl jam being the notable exception.)Steven is indeed entirely accurate in describing Julien Brousset as being in possession of," a soulful, rich voice landing somewhere between Chris Cornell, Eddie Vedder, Corey Taylor of Stonesour." For me, "Blackout" is the standout song, building from a jangling beginning to an almost Asia-like poppiness before becoming a driving classic rock tune powered by the strong bass guitar of Eric Pellouchoud.

I have to say that ordinarily this isn't the kind of album that I would choose to listen to but clearly something in the water over there in Switzerland which has enable Progstone to make a rather fine record.

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