Hailing from Hoboken, New Jersey, Bardo Island is a three-piece prog rock band comprised of Nick Zwiren (guitar/vocals), Jacob Berke (bass) and Michael Guevarez (drums). They just released Suddhodana, which is a five-song EP showcasing some serious talent.
At this point the band's strengths lies in their technical ability like many other prog rock bands. All three members have impressive technical and creative skills, which ultimately is the element that makes these songs worth listening to.
When it comes to the singing I can’t really say that Zwiren has golden pipes. His delivery gets a bit sloppy at times especially when trying to hit higher notes. That being said he certainly isn't a bad singer and his style works. I think a little better production and a little bit of tweaking here and there and he will be golden.
Speaking of production, prog rock is a genre that benefits from the details. Suddhodana doesn’t quite have the separation and recording quality to appreciate some of the things that are happening. It also would have helped if the songs would have been mastered properly. The second track is a good four or five dbs louder then the third track. After spending some time with these songs I’m willing to bet that Bardo Island is an exceptional live band. These songs demand to be heard live so if you get a chance to see them you should do that.
The band kicks things off with “Veranda” which is an impressive song. I enjoyed the intricate pattern of bass and drums as the drums hold down the fort. It’s quite dynamic and gets into chaotic yet funky territory towards the end. “Pineapple” is perhaps even more impressive. The timing and transitions are just sick. It’s one you really just have to listen to in order to appreciate. “Victus Man of Dallas” is the seven-plus minute centerpiece that reminded me of Rush towards the end of the song.
Bardo Island is a band to keep your eyes on. They show a lot of potential on this release and with a few adjustments will be quite a force.
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