Review: Pontus – IV

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Released February 12th, 2016, IV is the fourth solo release by New York based progressive rock musician Pontus Gunve, and second full band Progressive Rock release. Expanding and evolving the classic band format by including cello in the mix, IV makes Pontus as one of the most promising and impressive progressive metal bands on the scene today.

If you’re a fan of stellar guitar riffs and technical solos, IV is definitely going to interest you. The band’s sound established on those previous releases could definitely be defined as a happier kind of progressive metal, focusing on melodies in major scales. That signature sound can still be found here, but IV feels so much heavier than those other releases.

Gunve has really outdone himself with the guitar parts on this release. Tripp Dudley (drums, tabla) and Bryan Percivall form the rhythmic backbone of the EP and keep the songs on track but also have their time to shine, coming in clearly through the mix. The heavier sound of this album can definitely be attributed to the amazing mix of the album. Where this release really shines are the cello segments masterfully performed by Eric Allen. He is definitely what makes difference between IV and every other average progressive release today.

But now to talk about the music itself! IV opens up with a ten-minute piece named “Ten,” a journey through epic riffs and melodic solos and walls (courtesy of Eric Allen) that quickly touches on melodic themes similar to ones established on previous albums. “Ten” travels through some epic, technical territory, taking a brief sojourn with some classic rock-like passage towards the middle of the song, then re-exploding back into the frenetic pace of the earlier portions. What might seem like a strange combination of genres on paper turns out to be a pretty banger song when put together by the guys in the band.

Another standout track for me is the fourth song, “Red Silver.” It’s a catchy, bouncy, focused song with a great solo.

“Felix” has some massive atmosphere, with Allen absolutely killing it over some amazing groove work. Honestly, you can listen to any track off of IV and find something to enjoy. It’s an amazing release from an amazing progressive metal band.

Buy IV from Bandcamp.

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