Kettlespider – Avadante

On a surface level, Kettlespider plays a sort of music that’s all-too familiar to my ears. It’s a style of progressive rock that flirts with metal without being metal. It dabbles in post-rock without losing its sense of concise songwriting. I could throw out meaningless pseudo- labels to help describe the band’s sound, but emotional descriptions may do it a better justice. For a concept album about a man in terminal comatose, “Avadante” manages to create a remarkable atmosphere of life-affirmation and hope. It’s proof that you don’t need a singer to make emotionally stirring music, really. Suffice to say, Kettlespider leaves an excellent impression from the first listen onwards; it’s accessible and effortless to get into, but the atmosphere and musicianship makes for a rewarding experience many times over.

Although Dream Theater at their most symphonic often comes to mind, the best parallel I could draw for Kettlespider would be Mogwai- specifically their recent material. Although Kettlespider is much closer to the typical ‘prog rock’ sound palette than something out of the post-rock handbook, there’s the sense that this is intrinsically atmosphere-based music, filtered through a relatively accessible set of song structures. The rock-edge in their sound is certainly there, but “Avadante” feels most defined by Kettlespider’s ability to create an epic mood in half the time one might expect. Especially given the album’s relatively brief half hour span, Kettlespider takes the listener on a fairly diverse adventure. “Discovery” is a wonderful, soaring prog metal tune that sets up the sincerely optimistic tone of the album. Taking things in a less energetic direction is the appropriately titled “Comatose”. Although the album’s protagonist is essentially facing his physical death, there is no sense of anger or tension here- moreso a nostalgic calm and the kind of ‘romantic peace’ I usually associate with Explosions in the Sky’s music. “Revelations” later takes the album to its heaviest and darkest- not particularly extreme in either regard, but well-indicative of the emotional dynamism Kettlespider brings forth in their music.

The compositions are memorable, perhaps most for the melodies that drive them. “Avadante” is certainly accessible, but not necessarily catchy- I do not imagine to see a pre- teen humming along to these tunes (and if I did, I would be inclined to compliment them). It’s more of a sonic accessibility really, the sort of beauty you would often find in effective film score music. Kettlespider’s heaviest tracks ironically are the ones to bring the most emotionally stirring melodies.

“Avadante” enjoys a stellar sense of production. While some of their heavier instrumentation feels a bit dry as a result of the studio sheen, there is no loss of atmosphere. Kettlespider do not explicitly attempt to wow audiences with their musical skills. Particularly in regards to the effective keyboard work and cinematic drumwork, the musicianship is beautifully woven into the songwriting. At only half an hour, I am certainly left wanting more from Kettlespider. Some of their more mellowed stuff lacks the emotional ‘punch’ of their heavy material, but “Avadante” comes across as a remarkably consistent and solid album, especially considering that this is their debut. I hope to hear more from these guys in the future!


1. Introduction (0.37)
2. Discovery (4.38)
3. Avadante (4.52)
4. Comatose (5.55)
5. Revelations (6.32)
6. New Eyes (1.36)
7. Reflections (8.46)


* Colin Andrews – bass guitar
* Scott Ashburn – guitars
* Haris Boyd-Gerny – guitars
* Geoffrey Fyfe – keyboards
* Simon Wood – drums and percussion


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