Chowder Passion Rift

Chowder Passion Rift

Previous stints playing with Unorthodox, Revelation and Earthride have instilled bassist Josh Hart with the power of Maryland's doom gods as he switches to guitar and keyboards for his newest musical endeavour, the ill-named Chowder. Cut from similar cloth as Minneapolis' Zebulon Pike, this power trio (Hart is joined by bassist Doug Williams and drummer Chad Rush) choose a vocal-less, progressive tack, reinforcing their path with Theremin and Mellotron. The Rush comparisons come quickly, as the 11-minute "Custody" resembles Rush's "Cygnus X-1," in a parallel universe – not to mention that the drummer's surname is, indeed, Rush – right down to the spiralling finale. Featuring a sample from Futurama's Fry extolling the virtues of his all-Rush mixtape, the rumbling, Karma to Burn-ed "Insidious" and neighbour "Head Full of Rats" are total riff-fests of start-stop tempo shifts and wild, Peart-like polyrhythms. The brooding "Mazuku" takes synth cues from "The Trees," via Hold Your Fire, while the Mellotron of "Mysterioid" blatantly conjures late '60s King Crimson. "The Innsbrook Look" reprises said Mellotron underneath mammoth, Wino-esque doom chords, but the 18-minute title track combines all these disparate elements, plus '70s horror flick soundtracks into a desert-prog epic performed by Kyuss and conducted by Robert Fripp. Not only will Passion Rift perplex even the most stalwart prog martinets, but it will also spawn a nation of Chowderheads banging along in approval. (I Voidhanger)