Brothers Nick and Stephen Wiley, along with Cameron Fitzpatrick (of TITAN, We Are Masked) and David Hill (TITAN) came together with a desire to create something powerful when they formed Kindler and after listening to their EP Afterglow I have to say that they succeeded. The band creates epic progressive metal not unlike bands like Mastodon or ISIS but also have this 80’s style of vocals that is reminiscent of a band like Iron Maiden.
Anyway you look at it Afterglow sounds polished. The high production standards work great with this type of music as there are so many frequencies competing for space with the highly distorted guitars, thunderous drums and gritty bass work.
The EP opens with one of the highlights entitled “Shifting Ground.” Within the first moments the band is flexing their muscles as the song starts with a technically impressive and creative guitar riff that gets bombarded by additional distorted guitars, bass and drums within 14 seconds. As quick as they rock out they scale things back a bit seamlessly transitioning into elaborate guitar patterns that create a nice canvas for the vocalist. The song brings a lot to the table in a short amount of time. It also has a lot of changes that are not only powerful but always interesting keeping you at the edge of your seat.
“Open Air” has some of the best metal guitar riffs this side of Megadeth as they drive the song into oblivion. The creativity is at its peak here as some of the lead guitar work is spot on as it gets more intense as it progresses. I was impressed by the varied vocal work on “Western Sun” as the vocalist displays quite a dynamic range as well as different styles he can turn on. The closer ‘Anselmo” is a bit deceptive. At first it seems that they might be going for a ballad but that changes fast. This was also the track where the bass work really struck me. The precise in the pocket playing carried the song as it melded with metronome proficient drum work.
Afterglow is a fun listen if you enjoy progressive metal. Kindler is a group of technically enhanced players who have a knack for writing powerful songs that leave a lasting impression.
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