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Haishen are a an “Aqueous progressive power trio” (their description) hailing from Rochester, NY, and comprise Chris Xu (guitar, vocals), Justin Montione (bass, vocals) and Randy Rowe Jr. (drums). The band have taken their name from the Chinese word for the God of the Sea. Traditionally, sailors and fishermen would offer sacrifices to this god for safe voyages before they set sail or when they encountered stormy weather and was also the name given to the first super typhoon of the Pacific typhoon system. I guess the question is will the band make the same sort of waves (okay – that was awful, and I apologise, but I could not help myself). Apparently the band have only played a few gigs together, and this 3-track 22-minute-long debut EP was tracked live in February, but there is no way that this sounds like a band who have only recently come together and have released it independently. They have pulled together a post-rock progressive sound which is contained and personal yet also huge. The warmth of the bass fills the music and provides string melody for the strident guitar to be placed against it, while the drums are also doing a lot of work to fill the sound and keep it together. It would be easy to compare this to early period Rush in many ways, but there are also huge swathes of Tool influences while the band also cite We Lost the Sea and Russian Circles. When the band go off on one of their instrumental passages, they really do sound like they are having a blast and are having a load of fun. They lock it in together and really take flight, everyone pushing forward and “Beluga” is a real tour de force. Here is a band I am going to keep a close eye on, as given they are producing music like this so early in their career, what are they going to come up with next?
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