Spotify Friday Review #18: S.I.Q.

Last month we were contacted by a band we’d never heard of before, Charlotte North Carolina’s S.I.Q. or Society In Question as they had just released their debut album “A Constant Struggle” and asked us to review it.  Honestly, you just never know what to expect with unknown bands, some are good, some are just okay (just my opinion of course) but every once in a while one comes along that blows you away with some really amazing music and is just charting their own path in the sonic landscape.  S.I.Q. is definitely one of those bands, a group that has many influences but combines them into a unique and very exciting brand of intelligent and powerful progressive metal.

The band lists a large array of influences from the prog metal world including the usual suspects Dream Theater and Symphony X but also some of the great modern bands like Andromeda and Circus Maximus (two of this reviewer’s favorite Euro-prog metal bands).  But what really sets the band apart is that they filter their sound through a very modern stark and aggressive attitude that comes straight out of some of the other bands they love, primarily Tool and Alice In Chains.  For this reviewer that’s just golden as there aren’t too many groups out there that are cool with both aspects of the prog metal world, both the symphonic and the less ostentatious intensity of Tool.

There really isn’t a weak moment on the entire album as it starts right out with the powerful Tool-like opener, “Riddle of You” (I love drummer Paul Woods’ cool swing section during the opening moments) and then really kicks it in with the aggressive “Slightly Out Of Breath” (again, gotta give drummer Woods a lot of credit for pulling out the very cool Danny Carey Lateralus-style beat near the beginning).  But, just when you think you’ve got the band pegged, near the end of the song, they add in a very cool laid-back and kinda heavy fusion jam, complete with singer Ashton Johnston’s alto sax.  It really works and is just so goddamn cool!  The rest of the album is just fantastic, but I especially like the beautiful, mostly-acoustic ballad “Silver Lining” which could easily be a hit if it got any airplay (if such a thing even exists anymore!) and the powerful epic closer, the three-part suite of songs “’till Life Do Us Part” where guitarist James Nelson really gets to shine.

The band has obviously spent a lot of time crafting their songs and it shows that they care a lot more about impacting their listeners deeply rather than showing off their chops.  I just hope they can keep this level of writing beyond their first album.  S.I.Q. just recently decided to put their entire debut album on Spotify and you can listen to it via the playlist at the bottom of this review so please give them a listen and let us know what you think!

S.I.Q. – Official Site

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S.I.Q. on Spotify!

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8 Comments

  1. Sharon Stevens:

    I like the way you describe the group SIQ. MAkes me want to listen to their music

    • Annonymous:

      Sadly, they will never sound like this again. Less than 24 hours after this review was posted they got rid of their lead singer…

      • Jeff:

        I know. I just heard about it on their Facebook site. I wish them well but I think they had something really special with Ashton.

        • Sorry I just found your website and this review. I think “Annonymous” and Jeff will change their minds if they zero in on Phillip Rich’s voice. Catch their August 3, 2012, concert at The Chop Shop in NoDa. The group is as strong as ever, actually more in tune with each other.

          Friday, August 3, 2012
          7:00pm until 12:00am
          S.I.Q. will be performing with some awesome bands to kick off the “dog days” of Summer.

          Tickets are just $5 and will be available for purchase a month or so before the show. There will be an additional $3 charge at the door for those under 21.

          Door at 7pm, show will start at 8pm.

          The Chop Shop
          399 East 35th st, Charlotte, NC 28205

          • Jeff:

            Thanks for the comment Susie. Wish I could go to the show but Charlotte is a bit too far from Los Angeles! I will let anyone I know in Charlotte about the show. Cheers!

          • Lisha Nelson:

            Show was awesome and they definitely made the right business decision – Phil Rich has some pipes!

          • Progmetalzone:

            Cool. Are there any vids or clips of the band with Phil?

          • Lisha Nelson:

            Now they can perform other songs that they have been wanting to perform but were vocally incapable with Ashton such as Kansas’ “Carry On My Wayward Son”. Phil’s pipes were awesome! James Nelson was right on point with his backup singing. With a little practice now that Phil is lead singer – they will be on their game in no time!

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