Nik is a music maker from Toronto, who cites many progressive metal bands such as Born Of Osiris, Erra, Periphery, Polyphia, and Northlane, as influences in his work. Inspired by guitar hero when he was 10 years old, (weren’t we all?) Nik was determined to become a great guitarist. That’s not to say he doesn’t enjoy other activities though, as Nik informed us he is in his final year of studying Business for Accounting at a university! In this review we will be checking out his latest release, The Well.
This 6 track album consists of 2 instrumentals, and 4 tracks that each have their own guest vocalist (or vocalists). I personally liked the idea of a different guest vocalist on each track; having different voices really gave this album a great deal of diversity. I’m also a sucker for instrumental tracks, so those were quite nice as well.
Starting off, this album jumps right into action. The second track, The Well (FEAT. Gabriel Scaldaferri), has a mixture of both singing and screaming that mesh quite well with one another. In addition, the vocal lines were extremely catchy; I found myself humming along with them and banging my head from the get-go. Overall, I really liked the vibe of the song, it was definitely a highlight from the album for me. The next track, Evocation, is the first instrumental on the album. From the start it features some very pretty ambient lead guitar parts that are mixed in very well with the djent-y, proggy chugs, which really helps this song stand out on the album. This song also has a very catchy lead to it. It was both catchy and groovy, and very reminiscent of a Polyphia lead part. Overall this song certainly carries a different vibe from the rest, but by no means is it a bad one. Safehaven was another piece that particularly stuck out to me on this album. As you can probably tell by now, I’m a huge sucker for well-placed ambience in a song, and this song definitely has that perfect mixture of djent-y chugs, intricate and intriguing solos, and ambience scattered throughout. The final track, Raised By Flames (FEAT. Jonathan Knosp), is a good finisher, carrying not only some of the most intricate guitar parts from the entire album with it, but also a strong vibe of finality. It ends on a fade out that leaves the listener mentally exhausted, but satisfied.
All in all, I quite enjoyed listening to this album. If you’re a fan of progressive metal, I think you’ll definitely find it worthwhile. I also would like to give mad props to this guy, since he’s really working his butt off. I checked out his youtube channel, and I saw that he has uploaded over 100 guitar covers as well as original songs in the last six months alone. Keep it up man, you’re doing good things.