A Self
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A Self

Toronto, Ontario, Canada | SELF

Toronto, Ontario, Canada | SELF
Band Rock Alternative




"A Self “Self Titled”"

Many progressive metal bands operate from a decidedly pre-1990s perspective. Combining 1970s/1980s-style power metal with progressive rock, such bands will typically get their inspiration from Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, Queensrÿche or Ronnie James Dio on one hand and Yes, Pink, Floyd, and King Crimson on the other. But there are also the progressive metal bands that have a post-80s perspective and blend that love of progressive rock with alternative metal and alternative rock influences. A Self is that type of band. This self-titled 2011 release falls into the progressive metal category, but it isn’t an album that sounds like it could have been recorded in the 1980s. Rather, A Self’s music is relevant to both progressive metal and alternative metal. Their material draws on classic prog influences such as King Crimson, Genesis and Pink Floyd, but they also have direct or indirect alternative influences that include Tool, Neurosis, the Deftones, U2 and Nirvana. Unlike all the prog-metal bands that are so 80s-sounding, this Canadian outfit doesn’t have an overt power metal influence.

A Self are aggressive, loud, and forceful (this is metal, after all), but they are also melodic, nuanced, intricate and musical. This album never becomes an exercise in bombast for the sake of bombast or brutality for the sake of brutality. And A Self’s melodies are often moody, dark and haunting. The brooding on “Myopia,” “Sandpaper and Skin,” “Fallen Ones” and “Artecz” makes it clear that A Self are well aware of Pink Floyd and King Crimson. Listen to “The Mountain,” “River of Dead” or “Saturn’s Return” right after playing Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon or King Crimson’s In the Court of the Crimson King, and it is easy to see how much inspiration A Self get from 1960s and 70s progressive rock. But that awareness of prog rock legends doesn’t mean that A Self sacrifice the metal component. There is no shortage of metallic crunch on this album. Tracks like “Myopia” and “Fontanel” thrive on melody, but they also rock hard. That said, A Self are not the type of metalheads who go out of their way to be as punishing or as abrasive as possible.

People who have a limited knowledge of progressive metal have a tendency to compare any prog-metal band that comes along to Dream Theater. but not once on this album do A Self sound like they are actually trying to emulate Dream Theater. Again, the alternative component is an integral part of what A Self do. So while Dream Theater clones will have shiny 1980s-like guitars, A Self bring down-tuned alternative guitars to this album. And while the Dream Theater clones sound like they are stuck in rock’s pre-Nevermind era, A Self gladly bring some Nirvana-ish outbursts to “Fallen Ones” and an awareness of Tool to “Angra Mainyu” and “Deafened by Silence.” Dream Theater clones show no awareness of the Deftones; A Self, however, have been influenced by the Deftones (among many others).

This self-titled album is not easy to absorb on the first listen. A Self offers complex songs that, in true prog fashion, have a lot of twists and turns. Anyone who insists on always getting the quick fix from music probably wouldn’t have the patience to give A Self a chance. But for those who don’t have a painfully short attention span, A Self‘s material is worth exploring. While this album falls short of exceptional, it is a decent listen from this Canadian prog-metal/alt-metal combo.

Review by Alex Henderson
Rating: 3 stars (out of 5)
- Ariel Publicity


A Self ( Self Titled ) 2011



Brothers Aaron (bass) and Jacob (guitar) composed, recorded, and performed as a duo since childhood. Upon relocating to Toronto, they sought a vocalist and drummer who could meet the challenge of creating the full sound they envisioned, and found this in Nathan (vocals) and Santiago (drums). A Self’s sources of inspirational, spine-shiver-inducing sonic delight include King Crimson, Tool, Primus, The Beatles, Pink Floyd, The Mars Volta, Genesis and Deftones.