With great trepidation and a deep sense of unworthiness, I accept the responsibility of writing short reviews of recent progressive releases streaming free on Progstreaming.com. Or, as we at Progulator like to call it, Bite-sized Prog.

Third Ion - 13 8Bit

Third Ion — 13 8Bit

From a technical standpoint, 13 8Bit is an excellent release. In my experience, it’s quite apparent when musicians are proficient at their craft, well-rehearsed on the specific songs, and have teamed up with a production team that is capable of doing exactly one job – making sure we consumers don’t react with odium at the sound quality as we shout something along the lines of, “Those cymbals sound like dog shit!” Only the vocals came up slightly short, but they have a certain droning, post-metal charm that remind me of a distant cross between ISIS and a lively Maynard James Keenan. And as a rabid fan of the classic Mega Man series of video games, the title screen theme from Mega Man 2 (which opens the album) was pure nostalgia. I restarted the track twice, I cannot lie… but I also didn’t find these types of sounds again until the end of the album.

Third Ion lies somewhere along the genre lines of djent and progressive metal, where speed and technical proficiency are supposed to break from the norm and discover fresh sonic vistas. Unfortunately, I found it far too easy to pause mid-track until I hit the excellent and unexpectedly different “Time Lapse Beta.” Music that is instrument-driven but also static in its dynamic range faces the tough task of finding new ways to engage the listener, and far too many bands resort to time changes as the only answer. The album title suggests a theme they could pull from in order to meet this goal in the shallow middle tracks, but the “8-bit” concept was hardly explored. I have a feeling that a certain type of music fan, possibly listeners who are still stimulated by Dream Theater’s compositions in the post-Mike Portnoy nadir, will think differently about this album.

Poseidotica -- El Dilema Del Origen

Poseidotica — El Dilema Del Origen

Well, this is my punishment for judging a band and album by its name and cover. I see a cover with a nude female subject reminiscent of Le Orme’s Felona e Sorona, along with an interesting title in a Latin language, and I immediately assume that I’m going to get a complex, luscious trip into Rock Progressivo Italiano heaven. I can confidently report that Poseidotica, an Argentinian quartet, has about as much in common with 1970’s Italian prog as I do with Brad Pitt.

El Dilema Del Origen is an instrumental rock album with no keyboards. The degree of difficulty in creating progressive and interesting music with this ensemble is off the charts, and I can probably only name a handful of guitar players skilled enough and creative enough to pull it off (Jeff Beck, Allan Holdsworth, and Dewa Budjana immediately come to mind, but there are certainly others). This effort misses the mark by a decent margin. In labeling El Dilema Del Origen as progressive, I expect significant exploration into effects pedals, computer plugins, broken beer bottles, risky acid trips, or anything else that will help the guitars craft a memorable experience. Instead, I received repetitive hard rock passages that committed the cardinal sin of not being led by a memorable riff, a few Pink Floyd and Deep Purple impressions, and some innovative sections occasionally sprinkled throughout. Hard rock fans will certainly find something they like; everyone else should be prepared to wade through the muck to unearth the best moments.