BAK — Flower (review)

BAK — Flower album cover EP · 2017 · Progressive Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
4/5 ·
siLLy puPPy
Sydney, Australia’s BAK haven’t been the most prolific prog metal band on the scene but this duo Beau (guitar, bass, baglama) and Kit (drums, percussion, keyboards, piano) with their ensemble of extra musicians has continued to stay relevant by releasing a series of short EPs following the band’s sole full-length release “Sculpture” in 2011. Immediately following was “Painter” in 2012 which found the band graduating from a “Black Album” era Metallica meets Arabic folk ensemble duo to a more sophisticated progressive rock / metal act.

It took five years for a followup but in 2017 BAK released its second EP titled FLOWER which found the band’s unique mix of heavy metal and Arabic folk music develop even further. This one features only four tracks that add up to over 26 minutes of playing time. This one continues the band’s niche of mixing Idian and Arabic folk music with different styles of metal along with progressive rock. While the Metallica influences have been long abandoned, this time around BAK sounds more like a folk fueled take of Fates Warning with strong progressive metal hooks endowed with the rich tones, timbres and musical scales of Oriental musical flavors.

There have been many comparisons of FLOWER to many heavier bands from the past. There is a strong Tool flavor in the repetitive alternative metal riffing as well as similarities to Led Zeppelin’s “Kashmir” but there are moments when the metal sounds a bit like Iced Earth and prog metal bands that are closer to the power metal realm. The folk and metal are mixed fairly well but moments of pure Indian folk or Arabic rhythms also are featured without any Western influences at all. The closing “Dasha Hara” in fact is a metal free zone and more akin to what you would hear on a Secret Chiefs 3 album rather than an early Myrath release. This one obviously features genuine accomplished Indian musicians including the vocalist.

I have to admit i’m a sucker for Middle Eastern scales and rhythms. The musical style is as mesmerizing as a desert mirage and BAK do an excellent job of mixing things. This one has considerably less metal moments than the previous releases and could probably be best tagged as ethno-prog with some metal moments. The production is off the chart excellent and the four tracks are quite distinct with the highlights being the two parts of the “Life & Perception” tracks in the middle. I really want more! This should’ve been a full album’s worth but i’ll take what i can get.

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