Needs to simmer a little longer

At a time when Australian progressive music is beginning to sound as if it is all being filtered through a post-TOOL processor, Sydney based lads No Home for Heroes have unleashed a slab of prog-metal that has somehow bypassed this and the result is something a little more unique.

There is a big focus on fat stomping riffs juxtaposed against discordant passages throughout the album’s journey, and for what the band state in their bio: “The debut EP from No Home for Heroes, serves as a teaser for what is to come on their forthcoming rock opera double-concept-album”, one could catch a whiff of some grand plans in the air.

Opening cut ‘Alleyway, dusk’ is a fair indication of the versatility on display and a showcase for Mike Zoias unique vocal delivery that borders on power metal crossed with Dave Draiman. Although his tone mostly sits in the mid-register, I feel Zoias is at his best when he sweeps into a harmonised falsetto at key points across the span of the EP. ‘Here and Now’ sports a catchy Megadeth riff with a true pop chorus as its heart.

The title track is merely a brief segue into the disc’s centrepiece ‘Three Lives – Part II: Semiconscious’, which for all epic promise sadly ends up coming off as a mixed bag of good intentions. The opening is powerfully seductive with crunchy riffs and some solid backbone in the bass and drums department, but then as the mostly instrumental number drifts in and out of some tasteful solos with some awkward discordant acoustic strumming underneath, it just never sat right for me. Zoias enters the fray with some real vigour in the song’s middle section, but I couldn’t help but notice some more spit and polish was needed in some of the sloppier moments. The song continues into some orchestrated keyboard sections that felt so overwhelming that they threatened to derail the whole song, and it was certainly a welcome relief when Porcupine Tree was invoked in the latter stages before the song really lost its way in its closing minutes.

‘Parallel’ makes its mark as the highlight of this collection of songs with some raw power and focussed song-writing, but in attempt to offer up a dash of avantgarde in its back half, it loses its way with strange off key harmonies and a discordant tone. Closing cut ‘Alone on Earth’ adds a different dynamic to disc and although Zoias overreaches vocally at times, the song fulfils its promise as a memorable closer with its mysterious atmosphere – more of this please, fellas.

No Home for Heroes show some solid potential here and are experimenting with some interesting ideas and textures. Influences are obviously drawn from far and wide and poured into a strange brew that feels like it needs to simmer a little longer. Nevertheless, I anticipate hearing some growth on their imminent double album opus.

1. Alleyway, Dusk
2. Here and Now
3. Fragments of a Dying Sun
4. Three Lives – Part II: Semiconscious
5. Parallel
6. Alone on Earth