Album Review: Pomegranate Tiger – Boundless

After a much needed week off from the site, I’m back at it. Whether it was the musical A.D.D. from multiple submissions, or the sheer exhaustion brought on by the holiday season, I needed to step back for a little. During this time, I have still been listening to new music submissions, but have been listening to one in particular more than most. Canadian instrumental metal project Pomegranate Tiger released their latest album “Boundless” just a few weeks ago, and it’s been nothing short of marvelous.

For some reason, I have been bombarded with news relating to Pomegranate Tiger on Facebook. Possibly because of its similar band name to prog metal band Good Tiger, I’ve seen this name more than once the last several weeks, whether on accident or on purpose. In fact, I’ve seen it enough to where I acted on my own and listened to their latest album. Discovering Pomegranate Tiger is only multi-instrumentalist Martin Andres, I was completely floored. Reminiscing on the multiple talented individuals and their various solo projects, I can’t help but feel we all are in a new age of music, featuring some of the most talented musicians the world’s ever seen. I remember trying to write my own music in my high school years, and couldn’t write anything beyond scribbled notes and barre chords. I both envy and appreciate the musicians who are able to do such more on their own, and Andres is one of those musicians who deserves widespread attention.

From the opening notes of “Manifesto,” I knew I was in for a treat. Setting up the listener for the rest of the album, the song contrasts between the perfectly balanced quick-paced, higher lead guitar and the low, low, low rhythms. Title track “Boundless” also contains this back and forth between high and low, but allows for Andres to show off his shredding skills. Residing somewhere between Animals As Leaders and The Contortionist, the arrangements are familiar to fans of progressive instrumental metal, but with its own unique flavor. Besides the guitar arrangements, Andres opts for a natural drum sound, performing all percussions on the album instead of using drum machines. I feel this is what gives the album that BIG sound, as the listener can identify the true hits of the cymbals and toms. The song “The Masked Ball” contains what I feel is the most memorable drum performance, keeping the pace of the album before dropping off into a slow, piano-led rhythm. Knowing that Andres uses the guitar picks AND drum sticks on this album leaves me in sheer delight.

In fact, the only thing Andres doesn’t perform on “Boundless” are the various string instruments sprinkled throughout. With help from three guest musicians, Andres is able to incorporate an entirely new feeling in these tracks. With sophisticated plucks and strings, I can sense the frailty brought by the string instruments, characterized as a battle between heavy and soft. The songs “Paper Hammers” and closer “Ovation” in particular focus on these instruments, the prior utilizing a jazzy sounding clean guitar arrangement complementing the instruments. I can only guess this is what the “Phantom Of The Opera” would sound like if Andres directed such a piece.

If you want to be wowed by an individual’s performance, then I’d definitely recommend Pomegranate Tiger’s “Boundless.” It’s heavy, cultured, and powerful when it needs to be. To think that only one musician performed about 90% of the material gives the listener more gratitude for what they’re listening to. For fans of bands like Arcade Messiah and Draw Me A Sheep, this album will be a nice addition to your library. You can support Pomegranate Tiger by checking out their website, and by following them on Facebook and Twitter.