The original aim of the blog was to promote discussion about all and any facet of progressive rock but from time to time, bands and musicians contact ProgBlog with new prog-related material that they want to expose to a wider audience; ProgBlog's album of 2017 An Invitation by Amber Foil was one such approach.
The range of styles ProgBlog has been exposed to through this route has helped to expand and challenge my listening habits but time constraints have meant that not all submissions have received the attention that they deserve.
The DISCovery section has been introduced to better serve the requirements of musicians who contact ProgBlog with the aim of increasing the audience for their music; without music there can be no discussion of music.
The Solipsist EP is a really interesting instrumental prog metal project by Henrik 'Hens' Huber, the sole composer and performer of the songs.
From what I can surmise from the titles of the tracks, it portrays the internal struggle of the titular solipsist. Maybe I’m reading too much into this, but I found that the titles describe the songs quite well. The feeling of urgency in A Way Out is apparent, but I found the underlying melancholy of Blame and in some of the passages of It Has Always Been Myself quite on point.
Huber is evidently a really accomplished guitar player with a distinctive style. Listening to the tracks I was strongly reminded of the Canadian band INTERVALS, especially their 2014 album A Voice Within, and this is by and large the strongest reference I could point out. In comparison with INTERVALS most of the tracks in this EP are less layered and more direct (and obviously they lack the singer), but the tone of the guitar and the complexity of the rhythmic structure is quite close.
There’s a good variety in the tracks, sometimes with a notable mood swing in the course of the song; mostly we remain in the realm of progressive metal, but there are passages where you can feel a stronger rock vibe or that are played with a clean guitar.
Huber's style as a soloist is quite melodic, with a prevalence in the use of delays, reverbs and choruses that gives airiness to the tracks and mellows out the rhythm section that in many points is powerful and harsh (sometimes reminding me of Devin Townsend). Bass, drums and keyboards are here to serve, but even though in some cases they just follow the riffs of the lead guitar there are some passages that impressed me for the complexity and sophistication of the rhythmic patterns. I don’t know if it was a production choice, but they sound a little flat to me and I have a feeling that at least part of them was made with virtual instruments but that said, it doesn’t detract from the quality of the composition.
There are some things that didn’t totally satisfy me, but these are tied to my personal tastes and as such they can be disregarded. Huber has a distinctive way of playing and this gives personality to his composition but in some cases they feel a little repetitive to me. Also, the tone he uses is mostly the same or very similar - for many guitar players this is a plus, it’s the same as having a distinctive tone of voice and I can understand this, but personally I prefer it when there’s more variety.
All in all, Solipsist is a good and admirable effort that could gather strong following between the fans of bands like INTERVALS. I will be interested to follow Huber’s growth as a composer in his future productions.
Henrik Huber - Solipsist
Henrik Huber - Solipsist