Poverty Of Ideals
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Poverty Of Ideals

Johannesburg, Gauteng, South Africa | Established. Jan 01, 2014 | SELF

Johannesburg, Gauteng, South Africa | SELF
Established on Jan, 2014
Band Metal Progressive

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With Barriers, Johannesburg’s prog-metal sons Poverty of Ideals challenge the status quo with three-quarters of an hour’s worth of jaw dropping instrumentation. As current and former members of some of Johannesburg’s most recognisable metal acts, Poverty of Ideals never stray too far away from the genre’s formula, but rather build upon it with talented songwriting and skilled musicianship. Those of us who have been lucky enough to have caught these guys live over the past few years will know that what this three piece do with their instruments more then makes up for the lack of a vocalist, and I would even go as far as to argue that the decision to stick it out as an instrumental act is really what has given these three dudes the chance to write one of my favourite South African releases to date.

Barriers is Poverty of Ideals debut release and an absolute killer at that. From start to finish one can expect incredibly catchy rhythms, wonderfully engaging melodies and breakdowns made to tear holes in your speakers. Barriers is a jazz tinged progressive metal dream, which draws heavily on rhythms reminiscent of modern instrumental acts like Cloudkicker, Scale The Summit and Chimp Spanner. Not to discredit the musicianship throughout the album, but where I feel Poverty of Ideals truly stand out from their contemporaries is when they break from the fast-paced guitar-driven moments. The album is littered with beautiful interludes that truly showcase the bands composition abilities, all the while preparing the listener for the sensory assault that is bound to ensue.

Kicking off the album is one of these such moments, the brief introductory track “Interlaced”. After some gently strum chords and crashing cymbals “Interlaced” fades out and we are lead into “Barriers”, the albums title track. Those of us who have kept Poverty of Ideals on our radars will recognise this as the bands first ‘single’ off the album. “Barriers” is one of the easier listening songs on the album and I think probably the best entry point into Poverty of Ideals music for modern metal fans. A fairly straight forward song (by Poverty of Ideals standards) “Barriers” is at it’s best when guitarist Craig Goudge is tapping over a perfectly executed rhythm by bassist Matt Bairstow and drummer Kyle Williams. But don’t be fooled, it’s not all sunshine and rainbows for Poverty of Ideals and the guys let you know this by dropping a discordant yet catchy breakdown the lead the song out.

“Jazz, Dawg” is probably one of the bands more iconic songs, and anyone who has seen the band live will tell you that the band often cites it as one of their favourite songs. Challenging their listeners with a progressive jazz intro, “Jazz,Dawg” is a schizophrenic amalgamation of circle-pit friendly rhythms and melodies that will leave smiles on it’s listeners faces.

Following on from this “Arete Moraine” presents the listeners with a minute of relaxed guitar plucking that is played out by piano. All of this only serves to further build the anticipation of “Sky Trigger 1′s” hard hitting intro. After fourty-eight seconds of solid head banging, this track truly shines as one of my favourite riffs on the album gets played.

Track number six, “Machines” is another jazz influenced number, making heavy use of interesting time-signatures as means to create rhythms that will have your head bopping in no time. Breaking the mould, “Machines” is also one of the only tracks where Goudge solos (in the true sense of the term); which serves as a nice minute break before introducing one of the heaviest breakdowns on the album.

Following suit is “Primeval Park”, an enchanting acoustic track backed by the sounds of people speaking and birds chirping; allowing ones mind to wander. A bass slide introduces “North Star Fleet”, followed by an Explosions In The Sky-esque intro. The contrast between heavy versus and catchy choruses sees “North Star Fleet” as a remarkably uplifting song, the kind that says “right now you can do anything”.

“Fermata” brings back the keys first heard in “Arete Moraine”, but this time the guitar and bass work screams of something grander and as the music plays out and that final bass note is plucked one is left on the edge of their seat in anticipation. Luckily “Glaciers” provides just that. Where this track shines comes in after about 1:20. Everything from the lead guitars, to the thumped rhythm, to the interesting percussion screams that this is much larger then just your run of the mill contemporary prog-metal song. There is something about this song that reminds me off the greats; it’s kind of wonderfully intricate instrumentation that one would expect to hear on a Pink Floyd album. “Glaciers” is arguably Poverty of Ideals best showcase of who they are. This is not just another metal band, that this is not just another bunch of guys messing around on a Friday night, that these are musicians by the true definition of the word.

The bands second ‘single’, “Sky Trigger II” follows on from “Glaciers”. This track takes what it’s predecessor (“Sky Trigger I”) did well and steps it up a notch. This track is more of journey then the last, guiding the listener through mixed emotions as the song changes from chugged rhythms, to powerful melodies, inspiring choruses and back.

The second to last track on the album “Loop Holes” is the the longest, playing out at over six minutes long. It’s a rush from start to finish as the band switches from traditional metalcore style riffing, to heavier sections, back to “North Star Fleet”-esque uplifting choruses and it even includes arguably the heaviest breakdown on the album.

Finishing off the album in the same style it started, “Stargazer” starts off as beautifully strum acoustic chords backed by strings, building into an electronic drum beat and finishing on the final chords of a keyboard.

All in all, Barriers is an album that Poverty of Ideals can truly be proud of. Everything from the professional packaging, to the production quality, to the awesome artwork done by Pestroy’s Shane Forbes, screams that this is a band that people need to take seriously. No longer is Poverty of Ideals merely a side project of a bunch of South African musos. Barriers has cemented them in the South African metal scene and I’m willing to put money on the fact that these guys are going to quickly rise to the top. - NoiseFix


This entire review could have just been, “it’s bloody brilliant, go and buy it” over and over but for the sake of posterity (and word count) I will elaborate. For categorising purposes, Poverty of Ideals is a 3-piece from Johannesburg and plays instrumental progressive metal, with some jazz and blues thrown in. When I first opened up the album on my playlist I accidentally clicked on a random song and was greeted with a few seconds of a low tuned, djenty riff jumping from place to place. My first thought was, “Oh god! Not this again. What ever happened to the idea of guitar tone and riffs that aren’t schizophrenic?”

Boy was I wrong! When I played the album through from beginning to end (and again and again), I was hooked. Poverty of Ideals play music similar to artists like Cloudkicker and a more calm Animals As Leaders. Where this genre can easily descend into either monotonous low open string chugging or self-indulgent wankery, Poverty Of Ideals does neither.

The three members (Kyle Williams on drums, Craig Goudge on guitar and Matthew Bairstow on bass) are all clearly very accomplished musicians. The band was formed in 2009 and previously released an EP in 2010 but Barriers is their first full-length album. They all graduated from the Campus Of Performing Arts with flying colours and have cut their teeth in various bands from an early age. These boys know their chops, and it shows on this album. Every instrument has its time to shine and they shine brightly. Guitar riffs twist and turn, bass-lines groove and give weight and the drums accentuate with complex beats and nuances. Without vocals, the instruments are front and centre and there is never a dull moment. It’s sometimes hard to think this is just 3 blokes. Poverty Of Ideals certainly have no poverty of ideas.

The songs range from full on progressive metal machines with interesting time signatures to beautiful acoustic melodies, with the album opening and closing on a softer note. With no lyrics, song titles can be no more than placeholders but they do convey a certain ethos of the songs. For example, the more tongue-in-cheek titled “Jazz, Dawg” certainly has some jazziness going on and it’s funky too… Dawg. Songs like “North Star Fleet”, “Glaciers” and “StarGazer” also lend an air of expanse in the music. The production is fantastic (you can actually hear the bass guitar on a local metal album, praise Odin). By virtue of both the production and the song-writing, Barriers is an album that transports you to other worlds. I really can find no fault with it and you would be quite hard-pressed to find an album of more class and talent in these parts, let alone any part of the world. Keep an eye on Poverty of Ideals because they are going places, despite what the album title says. Now go and buy it and support these deserving chaps, the album lands on the 30 November and you can get it right here via Agent Indie Records! - Metal4Africa


Poverty Of Ideals is becoming the new instrumental force to be reckoned with in South African metal music. The band performed a killer set at RAMfest 2014 which got us hyped to hook up an interview with them. Finally, we did. See what the 3 piece Instrumental Progressive Metal band had to say.

Give us a quick rundown of who Poverty of Ideas is and how the band got started?

We are a 3 piece Instrumental Progressive Metal band from the North of JHB, South Africa. Kyle Williams on Drums, Craig Goudge on Guitars and Matt Bairstow on Bass.
We started in 2009 with the intention of being a “normal” metal band, but as time went by we decided to take the leap and continue as an Instrumental band.
All 3 of us like to consider ourselves as serious musicians and we’d all like to make a solid career out of music, being in an Instrumental band really helps us push ourselves as musicians.

You had a killer gig at RAMfest 2014 and were one of the tightest bands featured. Tell us about your preparation leading up to that gig?

Wow, Thanks for that! It was our biggest show to date, and when we found out, we were actually pretty nervous as to how we would be received by the people at RAMfest. Being a 3-piece band on a big stage is quiet a daunting thought, especially as we don’t have a “frontman” to entertain the crowd. Luckily we had just released “Barriers” which has a few interludes, so we used some of them to open the set up and fill up that awkward silence. We think it worked out well!

What was performing at RAMfest like for you and what was your favourite part?

Honestly it was one of our best shows ever, we were really happy with how we played, we made very few mistakes and the crowd was really awesome. It was certainly our biggest crowd ever and any musician will tell you how awesome it is playing in front of a whole lot of people who actually care about what you are doing.
I think we can all agree that our favourite part was watching Biffy Clyro and Killswitch Engage!

Which local bands do you look up to and aspire to?

We all grew up listening to 16 Stitch, they were huge role models to us. Now we get to play with Newtown Knife Gang, which really is a pleasure and honour! It’s great to see them doing so well at the moment.
Which international bands do you look up to and aspire to?
There are far too many to name here, we are influenced heavily by the Progressive metal movement happing at the moment, bands like Animals as Leaders, Exivious, Cloudkicker, Scale the Summit and Periphery are really pushing boundaries and that’s what we aim to do here in the Local market.
Apart from that we are all into very different kinds of music, Kyle loves his Jazz, Fusion and very “abstract/ progressive” music, Craig is big into his “acoustic” stuff – people like John Gomm and Andy Mcee, he also grew up with a lot of Punk Rock. Matt loves his Progressive and Melodic metal as well as the weirder stuff like T.R.A.M and anything Victor Wooten is doing.

What other local music festivals are you keen to play at and why?

Oppikoppi! We have been to a couple of them and they are always so well attended. The bands that they book are always brilliant. We would love to be a part of their 20th anniversary this year.

What is the vibe like between the band members and who portrays what character?

We are all best friends, being a 3 piece is a lot easier in that respect, there’s never much tension but if there is we always sort it out like grownups. We all get along so well and that really helps when it comes to touring and being in confined spaces for long periods of time.
Kyle is the perfectionist of the band, he makes sure everything is perfect and if it isn’t, we will know about it. He also does all our recordings and click tracks
Craig is the main writer, he always brings us ideas and tasty riffs. He is also the party animal of the band – if you’re looking for a party, Craig is the go-to guy. There’s always an awesome story for him to tell us when we meet up for rehearsals.
Matt handles all the admin/ bookings/ social media. He is usually the guy with the positive outlook if something isn’t going our way.

When it comes to band practice, how often does it happen and what normally goes down?

We practice twice a week, we would like to practice more, but sometimes life does get in the way of that. We are busy writing new material at the moment so Tuesday nights are spent at Kyle’s studio writing and then Thursdays we usually have a “loud” practice where we keep the set tight.

What are some of the craziest things you have experienced while on tour or on stage?

One story that comes to mind is when we were on tour in May 2012 with Truth And its Burden, we were doing an overnight trip from P.E to East London. We had 2 cars, and one had all the gear and a trailer full of gear, little did we know that they had speed bumps on the highway. It ripped the tow hitch right off the car and we had to spend the night outside a petrol station. It was a great experience and we’d do it again in a heart-beat.

For anyone that hasn’t seen you guys live, what can they expect from Poverty of Ideas?

We put a lot of energy into our live performances, and we also practice really hard to keep tight, so you can expect that.

What do you guys have in the pipeline for the rest of 2014?

As we said we are writing new material, and hoping to put out a single in the very near future, we also have some really cool ideas that we will share soon.
Keep an eye out on our Facebook page and follow us on Twitter.

Any shot outs?
Firstly a big shout out to Barry at Agent Indie Records for all the financial aid, without him we wouldn’t have been able to release Barriers. Also to the Anton and the guys at Music Connection, they are always there willing to help a broke musician. - LW Mag


Discography

Barriers- 2014

Photos

Feeling a bit camera shy

Bio

Poverty of Ideals is a 3 Piece Instrumental Progressive Metal band hailing from the North of Johannesburg, South Africa.

Formed in 2009, Poverty of Ideals started from a desire to play something more, something technically challenging yet still keeping to a sound that can be enjoyed by everyone, regardless of genre.

All 3 members started music at a very young age, dedicating countless hours to perfecting their arts. Kyle Williams on Drums, Craig Goudge on Guitars and Matthew Bairstow on Bass all Studied at COPA(Campus of Performing Arts), receiving above average grades for their respective instruments, as well as playing for many well-known South African metal bands such as Unwritten Friday, Kill The Messenger, Hell To Pay, Pestroy and Truth and Its Burden.

They take a completely unique look on the “Progressive metal� genre, aiming to fuse technically syncopated grooves with expansive melodic sections, while shying away from the generic stereotypes often associated with the genre. Not only influenced by Metal, Poverty of Ideals draws influence from a wide spectrum of genres including Jazz, Blues, Rock and Fusion.

Poverty of Ideals have strong DIY ethics, releasing their 2010 self-titled EP independently and available for free. Playing small shows as well as nationwide tours has been the name of the game for the past two years, now Poverty of Ideals looks to take their unique blend of Metal and Prog. over to an International stage.

Recently signing to Agent Indie Records, Poverty of Ideals released their debut album entitled Barriers in December 2013.

Band Members