Band Website: www.druckfarben.ca
Label: Independent Release
Release Date: 2012
It’s getting downright exciting to see how many new progressive rock bands are coming out of Canada these days. I was recently contacted by yet another new band hailing out of Toronto, Ontario called Druckfarben. This is the band’s first CD and its self-titled. They are a quintet consisting of Ed Bernard (guitars, violin, mandolin, voice), Troy Feener (drums, percussion), William Hare (keyboards), Peter Murray (bass, voice) and Phil Naro (voice). The sound is plenty accomplished, these guys can play. They draw on the classic influences of Yes, Genesis and Gentle Giant. It makes for some very engaging fusion and symphonic prog.
Druckfarbenfeatures nine tracks clocking in at 44-minutes. Things kick off with the instrumental “ELOP” [2:35] where the band’s jazzy fusion licks are showcased. The next track “Influenza” [5:26] betrays some of the Yes influences, but this is Yes circa 1970, the early days. It’s the style and tone of the vocals mixed with the songs arrangements, especially the bass work that brings it to mind. They manage to pack a lot of musical change-ups in a short time span. In fact none of these songs is overly long and yet Druckfarben seem adept at putting a lot of shifting time and tempo into a short space. Track three, “Smaller Wooden Frog” [4:39] is a great example of this as I simply lost count of the musical change-ups that take place in the first 2:45 of the song before the vocals come in. It’s smokin’ great stuff. I referenced a fusion influence, and while it’s not obvious in every song, there are clearly compositions where the band’s ability to trade musical licks is on display; they can play fast and furious. But they can also mix it up with some great melodies. My favorite track is “Dead Play Awake” [6:47] with its note-climbing chorus that builds in power. The band uses the melody sparingly and it sounds all the more powerful coming after a wild interlude of instrumental exchange. Mind you, the heavy Hammond organ series of heavy opening crunches of “Walk Away” [3:05] comes a pretty close second as far as being a catchy tune set within some serious prog musicianship. Sprinkled throughout these tunes is some classic guitar lines supported by all manner of shimmering Mellotron styled string sounds.
This is such a great disc. Coming out of nowhere (I’m sure that’s not really the case), Druckfarben have set a new benchmark for Canadian prog bands to shoot for. It’s a sound that is certainly reminiscent of prog days of yore and yet is full of new and unique melodies and sounds. I’m liken’ this a lot. Highly recommended to fans of both fusion and symphonic prog.