The Canadian Tourist Board should start paying their musicians to help advertise the country as “the” pukka place for Prog Rock, as new band Jupiter Hollow are from Ontario. The two guys in Jupiter Hollow (Grant MacKenzie on guitar/bass/synth and Kenny Parry drums/vocals/synth) are young enough to be Geddy Lee‘s grandsons, but they have learned from the Rush masters and have taken the first steps to glory with their debut EP Odyssey.
Released on Milagro Records Inc., this five song EP moves through the gears like a Formula 1 race car. High tempo intensity plays off against shadowy balladry and the handbrake is most definitely off. The record appears to be a concept record about travels to the stars.
Racing around the first bend is the immense sound of “Deep In Space“. It kicks into gear with a riff to remember and is followed up by deathly shrieks. The riffing then goes Rush-like and when Parry starts to sing, you feel as if you have been transported back to Fly By Night. The singing is clean, high and Geddy appears to be an inspiration. The song channels down with some piano before hitting the listener with some fine prog guitar and bass interweaving. The song does give some almost metalcore nods but is an epic start to the EP.
There flows more sanguine moments when “Ascending” arrives with its Pink Floyd entrance. Then the band take a big turn towards modern Marillion. Parry reminds me of Steve Hogarth on this very emotional tune, singing about “disconnected at the most“. Listen with headphones and lose yourself in the moment of musical resonance.
My favorite track is “Hades Heart” with its chiming guitars and beautiful singing. Close your eyes and you too could be on one of the separate beaches they describe. Midway through the song, you feel the anger of the band as MacKenzie rips through one badass solo after another. This is craftsmanship that is way beyond the tender years of these guys – virtuoso performance!
“Over 50 Years” returns to a Rush vibe, but with a youthful bite that incorporates discord and more anger than you would normally associate with Peart & co. A good tune, but not one that has impressed as much as the rest…Still quality, but maybe less to my taste.
Closing out the race, the band launch into “Odyssey” with some mystic rumblings. The guitars enter on a bed of U2 harmonics and are followed with some tasty bass licks. The movement between parts reminds me of Shumaun and Marillion, with some fantastic keyboards adding to the momentum.
So far, so good, but can they last the distance? Time will tell, but does “time stand still“? Not in Jupiter Hollow‘s world – they are now on a journey that may send them into the stars.