15th January 2016 – Distort Entertainment
02. The Lotus
04. Sacred Fire
06. Violet Skies
08. Midnight Sun
09. Iron Hands
Progressive rock is undergoing something of a period of rejuvenation at the moment. The old guard, clinging to their 23-minute keyboard solos tighter than a cheap TV on Black Friday, can only watch as the new breed kick things up a notch, adding scintillating aggression into their dynamic, angular riffing and ever more focused rhythm sections, on top of sparkling vocals; distilling a stuffy old genre with shots of progressive excellence. It just so happens that Canadian six-piece Mandoid Echostar are at the forefront of that new breed – and their evolution is astounding.
As far as opening tracks go, “Hypnos” has to be one of the best in recent memory: its soaring opening and groovy riffs give way to some pretty hefty chugs and frontman Michael Cicca’s soaring, effortless voice, which ascends skilfully into “The Lotus“. It’s “Matoax” that most notably raises the bar however; its anthemic hooks and nods to Protest The Hero make it a standout, with contrasting twin guitar riffs and bouncing basslines popping brightly. This track in particular also has a tangible of pop influence; its vocal harmonies feel old-school whilst retaining a fresh and sharp edge.
With lashings of a classic alt rock sound, “Metatron” and “Violet Skies” are also really special pieces. Mandroid Echostar have this inherent ability to blur the lines of a multitude of styles seamlessly: pop harmonies and classic sweeping guitar lines fall side by side in a manner that sounds effortless, but is incredibly complex, especially when you note how many instruments they’re bringing to bear and meshing together so successfully. It really has to be admired.
In “Paladin” and “Iron Hands” a more metal edge is brought to bear; the riffing is more angular and aggressive whilst the vocal delivery remains completely anthemic. These fat riffs compliment the soaring vocals and whilst this isn’t most metal thing you’ll hear in 2016, it’s guaranteed that these grooves will stick with you.
Mandroid Echostar may show flashes of outside influence, but on Coral Throne they’ve really come into their own; accessible and bombastic, their take on modern prog rock is both refreshing and intriguing. They’ve succeeded where most bands fail in actually progressing their sound into something more refined, and whilst there is still work to be done, Coral Throne is a memorable and excellent step in the right direction.