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Aviations is a Boston-based progressive metal band, formed in 2011 when drummer James Knoerl and guitarist Sam Harchik were attending Berklee College of Music. Singer Adam Benjamin joined soon afterwards, and alongside some guest musicians they released their debut album, ‘A Declaration of Sound’ in 2012. It took until 2018 for their next album to be released, ‘The Light Years’, during which time the trio had expanded to a sextet. The band have continued to go through some line-up changes since then, and apart from the original trio only pianist Richard Blumenthal is still there from that album, and they have now been joined by Eric Palmer (guitar) and Werner Erkelens (bass). As one may guess from the title of the EP, what we have here are some reworked versions of old songs, so we have newly recorded takes on “Outliers” and “Nineties Nine Ties” from the debut, plus instrumental versions of both, and a live acoustic performance of “Two Days” which appeared on the second album. As one would expect from anyone who has been at Berklee, the musicianship is out of this world, and I am somewhat surprised that at the time of writing that here is not a single review of any of their material on ProgArchives, which shows just how hard it is to get people to hear new music. There are times when they are more Meshuggah than Dream Theater, others where they are less bombastic and far gentler, and there is no doubt that “Outliers” itself is a real tour de force with nearly 12 minutes of switching between styles and providing loads of light and shade. When these guys decided to shred, they really go for it, mixing in djent, yet they can also be soft and quiet with Adam just having a piano to sing against. The acoustic number is also interesting in that it shows a very different side to the band, but also one where they seem very much at home. Apparently, they are supposed to be releasing a new album at some point this year, and that is something I will definitely be keeping an eye out for as this is polished, exciting, and just so damn enjoyable. For any fans of prog metal.
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