Berto : Everyone knows a progressive metal band. Dream Theater, Symphony X and maybe even the latter Death. But is the progressive metal that is so praised really progressive? That kind of progressive often consists only of combining regular metal with influences from the seventies or eighties and perhaps here and there an orchestral piece woven through it. But the bands are not progressive. Simply combining two or more styles does not necessarily mean that the band is progressive or creative. Bands that really want to innovate are few. A band like Watchtower was one that was groundbreaking, in a way that the band really moved beyond the fixed boundaries of the metal genre.
Now there is Howling Sycamore, set up by guitarist Davide Tiso, known from his work with Ephel Duath. Howling Sycamore is a band that is progressive, in the sense that there is much more experimenting with vocals, drum patterns and the addition of the baritone sax by Bruce Lamont is quite unique. The vocals are done by Jason McMaster, who previously sang with the aforementioned Watchtower and actually sings here in the same style and in his unique way. He is, I think, the only singer who makes vocals from the higher regions listenable to me. The sound of the band is clearly based on metal, but they are not afraid to slow down and explore some jazz territory. This makes the balance on the album perfect and the whole sound is very dynamic. 'Howling Sycamore' is an album that was made by a number of adventurous musicians who want to explore the boundaries of music and with that the limits of the listener. These kind of albums does give the extreme metal still validity in 2018.