Josiah Clelland is a musician from Toronto who recently released First Step EP. It’s a complete DIY effort that largely falls into metal territory. According to Clelland, “Each song is meant to tell its own story within the bigger story. Sometimes life is happy and sometimes life is sad.” Considering this is an instrumental album the “story” may be a little hard for you to follow as it was for me.
Clelland’s primary weapon is the guitar. He has an endless array of riffs that come one after another. The bass played more of a supporting role. Unfortunately I wasn’t as much of a fan of the drum sounds which had a more mechanical, programmed type sound to me. I’m not sure exactly what was happening here but something about drum recording didn't seem to capture the natural dynamics very well.
I say this as a compliment that the album could have worked as one long song. It’s a very cohesive and seamless album. The onslaught of guitar riffs come in with “Purple Room” and stays to the end. On top of that a lot of the songs seemed to be around the same BPM.
I was constantly impressed by his guitar skills. Take for instance the fills he pulls off on “No King (Moon)” or the guitar picking on “Why why why (Rats)” which may contain around three different guitar parts simultaneously. Cleveland’s most frantic and fast moment comes on the closer “Funeral.” The song is a solid closer.
First Step EP isn't breaking the mold. This type of prog rock metal is very popular and the advancement of technology allows more and more of these type of ventures to be successful in a bedroom recording type setting. There is also no denying that if you want to hear some impressive guitar playing that won't leave you bored you will want to check this out.
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