Zebulon Pike Space Is the Corpse of Time

Award winners of the Twin Cities' Best Band many times over, Minneapolis muckrakers Zebulon Pike release their fourth long-player, Space is the Corpse of Time. Named for an early American explorer and officer, the four-piece specialize in instrumental prog-doom, sometimes noodly, but more often meandering artistically toward its destination. Unlike 2008's groove-based Intranscience, the band have reached a creative epiphany on their latest album with a newfound sense of space and purpose. Despite their ten-minute-plus lengths, the songs never suffer from blatant superfluity. Beginning with shades of a more punishing Don Caballero, "Spectrum Threshold" soon lengthens into a freeform drum solo for Erik Bolen, held together by the Totimoshi-like riffage and quirky pedal interplay of guitarists Morgan Berkus and Erik Fratzke. The layered "Echoic Worlds" and the succinct title track are bookended by Mastodon-ish fury, with Rush-inspired midsections and Bolen's expert xylophone and upper tom work. Structurally, the gibbous-paced "Powers of the Living – Manifestations of the Dead" is the closest Zebulon Pike come to traditional doom, while "Trigon in Force" is a tour de force, destined to be a show closer, with flash pots and fake blood raining down from above. Having shared stages with scene vets Pelican, Hammers of Misfortune and the Sword, Zebulon Pike are poised to conquer the art-prog soundscape alongside such varied acts as Sleepytime Gorilla Museum, Acid Kin and the Mass. (Independent)