Aficionado are a five piece band from upstate New York who serve up a very modern sounding form of progressive rock that has plenty of characteristics of the great bands of the 70's, but injected with a healthy dose of hard rock and even punk attitude that gives the music an edge that you don't often hear in the prog genre. This four song EP is a very positive statement and shows the talents that these youngsters from Albany possess. The band is Nick Warchol on lead vocals and keyboards, guitarists James Kehoe and August Rosa, Eric Margan on bass, flute, and keyboards, and drummer Mark O'Brien. The band firmly has an understanding of classic prog, which you can easily hear on the vibrant and symphonic opener "Said the Elephant to the Snake", an upbeat track that hints at vintage Yes, Gentle Giant, King Crimson, and Aviary. The complex interplay between the guitars, keys, bass, and drums on this piece is uncanny, almost like some long lost track off of Gentle Giant's Octopus. However, the vocals of Warchol keep things firmly rooted in modern world with his vocal style, which has a slight new wave/metal/punk edge to it, with just the right amount of aggression but very melodic. "And the Snake Replied" starts off with some doomy power chords, but it quickly turns into a quirky prog workout, with layers of vocal harmonies and some robust bass lines from Margan. The dark and atmospheric "The Bones You Built On" will instantly appeal to fans of Discipline, Van Der Graaf Generator, and Genesis, with its theatrical vocals, flute, and lush arrangements. This one also gives plenty of space for Kehoe and Rosa to launch into plenty of sizzling electric and acoustic guitar passages, but also check out the intricate grooves supplied by Margan and O'Brien. The closer "He Said to Mark His Words" is the most aggressive piece here, sort of like what King Crimson would sound like they went punk, complete with jagged metal guitar licks, aggressive vocal shouts, and acrobatic rhythms.
This is a very impressive little EP from this promising New York band. I think with a label behind them who specializes in progressive rock and progressive metal, these guys can easily go far. Hopefully that happens in the near future and we can hear a full-length CD from Aficionado that fully displays the potential that is hinted at here.
1) Said the Elephant to the Snake (6:28)
2) And the Snake Replied (5:32)
3) The Bones You Built On (7:05)
4) He Said to Mark His Words (4:56)