Let’s just make this easy. If you like Misery Signals, Between the Buried and Me, Opeth, and Darkest Hour, allow me to introduce you to your new favorite band (and let me compliment your taste in music). Hailing from Vancouver, Neck Of The Woods play groove-laden and shreddy form of progressive death metal/core that feels like it would have been really en vogue about ten years ago. Their Basick Records debut, The Passenger, feels like it would have fit in quite well with the rash of progressive metalcore bands that emerged in the wake of Between the Buried and Me’s wake. However, there are some key differences, and they get to what make Neck Of The Woods really special in 2017.
Most notably, these guys can play. Guitarists Dave Carr and Travis Hein love to trade off excellent solos, but their bread and butter is these triumphant classic thrash-y heavy metal dual leads. The whole band injects a lot more fun into this album than is common in anything related to prog. Just listen to album stand-out, “White Coats”, with its hip-shaking interlude that leads into a fantastic guitar display (and some time for bassist Jordan Kemp to show off). These songs are really smart in their execution, as they’re all just a joy to jam along with, but the sonic depth rewards careful attention. Neck Of The Woods aren’t proggy in the sense that these songs go in unexpected directions all the time (no random flamenco or polka sections). Instead, these Canucks can really play and choose to just have a damn good time.
Neck Of The Woods have come out of the woodwork (sorry) to release one of the most promising label debuts of the year. Those looking for prog metal that doesn’t take itself too seriously and also knows how to get heavy and flashy are in for a real treat.