Entities, by Pomegranate Tiger
Suggested by Dylan Smith
Pomegranate Tiger is a cracking name for a band. The pairing of fruit and jungle cat is inspired.
Let’s see if we can match it with a pairing of our own.
Actually, on further reflection, my efforts sound like archaic and arcane insults, forged from the pen of some nineteenth-century wit.
“The Parish Ombudsman? Rumour has it that he drinks the wastewater of donkeys, and lies with merchant seamen for tarnished copper pennies. He’s naught but the sauciest Plum Leopard imaginable.”
Name aside, what do Pomegranate Tiger bring to the feast?
Hailing from Windsor, Ontario, Pomegranite Tiger are an Instrumental Progressive Metal project formed by multi-instrumentalist Martin Andres. Reading that sentence, I’m immediately on the high alert. There are a number of words that set my spidey senses tingling, such as Progressive, Instrumental, and Canadian.
Entities is PT’s debut album, from 2013, and the band set their stall out from the very first track, with the swirling guitars of Gift of Tongues bleeding seamlessly into the machine gun drumming intro of Maxims, which is in turn obliterated by the grinding and thrashing guitar. Pomegranate Tiger are a Prog Metal band with a spine of metal at the core that supports the flailing appendages of prog noodling. There’s musical prowess here in all aspects, as you’d doubtless expect from stalwarts of the genre.
Unfortunately, while the band’s sound is uplifting and almost symphonic in places, and while the musicality displays a consistent internal flux, swathes of the album blends into one. There’s only so much distorted riff and hypertwiddle solo you can take. The design choice of being an instrumental band is a bold one, and while it may save the focus being pulled from the actions of a vocalist, there are times when some sort of singing is sorely missed.
Annoyingly, my true standout song is actually three songs: the Ocean trilogy of White Ship, Maelstrom and The Golden Portal. As a three-part story, they possess the dynamism that the other individual songs seem to lack, rising and falling like their titular roiling sea. But as I’m a stickler for continuity, I can’t allow three songs to be entered as a single standout. Instead I’ll plump for the beautiful and beguiling piano of Drifting. It’s a clear departure from a signature sound that ripples trough the remaining tracks, and it’s all the more interesting for it. The final track Regenesis almost pips it for my affections, but in the end Drifting take it by a nose.
Entities is an intriguing album, and I award it 6/10. It’s interesting, and a fine showcase of individual talents, but I can’t help but note that a Progressive Metal album’s strongest songs are the tracks with the least Progressive or Metal structures. Would I revisit this, or check out further Pomegranite Tigers? Maybe. But if I did, I’d poise my finger on the Skip button, discarding the standards to highlight the esoteric instead.