Ermine Maps of the Rise and Fall

A Saint John, NB trio, recently relocated to Halifax, Ermine's mission is to make a music with the heaviness of, say, metal and the melodic complexity of golden age progressive rock. On one hand they are very successful — the guitar crunches rock and bone and many a fist is pumped in the air; the bass and drums arpeggio their asses off; the vocals scale harmonically then growl menacingly. All the bases are covered. The only problem is the field they're playing in is so densely packed, historically and currently, that there's scarcely room to swing a guitar without smacking some Maynard in the face. Ermine does manage to step out of their own shadow from time to time, usually in the more delicate moments — and bonus points have to be awarded for the tasteful violin that colours four of the seven tracks. The musicianship is undeniable and perhaps the future is very bright; let's watch for it. (Independent)