Pain of Salvation meets Red Hot Chile Peppers meets Gentle Giant? You could certainly draw those comparisons on the debut from T.A.O. called The Abnormal Observations. The Polish four piece, made up of bassist Lukasz Adamczyk, guitarist/vocalist Adam Juerwicz, drummer Robert Sztorc, and keyboard player Kamil Urbanski, throw everything but the kitchen sink at the listener on their first release for Unicorn Digital.
From song to song T.A.O. change styles and really keep you guessing. "Rhythm of Silence" is a complex & funky piece that sounds like the Peppers, as the tune contains deep grooves and plenty of melody. On "Shruti" the band delivers some bruising progressive metal, featuring Juerwicz and his crushing guitar riffs and Urbanski's tasty & majestic keys. The complex prog rock number "Forget It" has a certain Gentle Giant feel to it as far as the arrangements and use of counterpoint go (and Adam's vocals sound very similar to Derek Shulman as well) , although it is pretty heavy with some killer riffs and unison bass & guitar lines. The Pain of Salvation comparison rears its head on "Sema Nei", with complex vocal lines and undulating rhythms & riffs, while "Run Away" is just a fun melodic prog number with some dazzling instrumental passages that are ridiculously complex. Bassist Adamczyk & drummer Sztorc are two pretty sick players, as they not only hold down a solid groove but launch into plenty of twisted fills and solos.
The dreamy and atmospheric "Ifot" contains some elastic bass work and textured guitar chords over spacey keys and intricate drums before it morphs into a heavy Dream Theater type prog-metal number. Urbanski's gorgeous electric piano meets up with some lush acoustic guitar courtesy of Juerwicz on the closing instrumental "Hereabouts", a nice track that mixes some jazz ambience with Gentle Giant complexity, a real proggy way to end this solid debut album.
Judging by the high quality on The Abnormal Observation, T.A.O. have made their opening statement, and it's a strong one. Expect big things from this band in the years to come, and be sure to check this debut out.
2) Forget It
3) Sema Nei
4) Rhythm of Silence
5) Run Away