Christopher Smoke and Origination

On the surface, Christopher sounds like dark progressive metal along the lines of Riverside, or maybe even Wolverine, particularly from a vocal perspective. But in the true spirit of progressive music, there’s much more going on underneath, giving the music a sense of tremendous depth while staying in touch with its progressive metal core. Though the lyrics of Smoke and Origination take a critical look at contemporary Western existence, the music explores that idea by straying away from the musical norm. The opening is reminiscent of Rhys Fulber’s first Conjure One album, with wordless, Eastern-inflected vocal improvisation and atmospheric instrumentation leading into a more traditional song structure. That framework persists throughout the record, providing the base from which Christopher’s more experimental flourishes deviate (including Baroque musical motifs that contrast the Eastern threads). Close listening uncovers new layers each time through, but more surprising is the fact that it’s all just one guy. (Ikonowerk)