Texas' Herd of Instinct (comprising
drummer Jason Spradlin and guitarists Mark Cook and Mike Davison)
debuted with Herd of Instinct (2011),
recorded between 2007 and 2010.
The majestic and apocalyptic tone of Transformation leads to the
twisted symphonic narratives of pieces like Room Without Shadows and Hex
(that morphs from a ghostly beginning to a symphonic ending),
but the highlights are probably to be found in the least conventional
ideas, like the
flute-driven exotic dance of Road To Asheville,
or the dervish-like spinning of S.Karma,
syncopated Afro-pop ballad Blood Sky (the only sung piece).
the rhythmic orgy of Anamnesis
While displaying sophisticated interplay,
Vibrissa and Possession are a bit too relaxed, bordering on
Instrumental dexterity and production quality were further refined on
Conjure (2013), that, however, seems to retreat from the broad
range of styles of the debut.
A slightly more futuristic attitude permeates Praxis and
Vargtimmen, but many pieces are actually too "earthly", like
the Middle-eastern disco music of Solitude One,
the whirling synth melody at the center of Dead Leaf Echo,
and the martial closer The Secret of Fire.
The band seems to have focused more on consistency and coherence than on
sophisticated touches, but the rhythm (a tinkling metronome) and the
wavering flute decoration of Praxis and the
suspenseful African percussion of Alice Krige Pt.1 still show
that the potential is there.
Mark Cook also recorded Spoke of Shadows (Firepool, 2014) with
drummer Bill Bachman and a plethora of guest musicians. Best is probably
the merging of orchestral, folk and hard rock modalities in Tilting At Windmills.
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