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  • Australian Hard/Melodic/Prog Rock – ‘My Dedication & Appreciation’

    13 Feb 2011, 0:03

    There is a special musical movement going on in Australia at the moment. A great rock sound that is slowly growing in stature, and starting to become recognised off Australian shores. I’m not sure what you call it, and I hate playing the genre labelling game, but in an attempt to describe, I feel it has three defining elements. On the surface it seems like hard rock. Not quite metal, but too heavy to be called rock, so somewhere in between. It contains melodic tones and vocals, making for a much more emotive listen than ordinary hard rock. It can also lend itself to a progressive method of delivery, with subtle and unpredictable changes, unique song structures, and constant development and journeying over time. I like to call it hard, melodic, prog rock. As much as this is a bit of a mouthful, it covers the main bases of what this music is to me.

    So who am I talking about then? Well as far as my taste is concerned, for about ten years I have grown on a heavy dose of The Butterfly Effect and Cog. In recent years Dead Letter Circus and Karnivool have joined the group. And other worthy mentions are Birds of Tokyo and Melodyssey. There are obviously many others out there, but these are the ones I have experienced and loved the most, and as a result have inspired me to write about them. A good list exists on Last.fm, in the 'Aussie Prog Rock Scene' group.

    I always thought my love of this music, was partly because it was so easily accessible when being Australian and having it come from your own backyard. For instance this style gets extensive airplay on JJJ, the bands always play small club venues in all Aus cities and towns at cheap ticket prices, and they are always on festival bills. They tour so much, seeing one of these bands three or more times in a year, is not out of the ordinary. I guess with this over saturation (in nothing but a good way), I wasn’t really sure whether this style could stack up on the world stage. I thought, ignorantly so it seems, that maybe this music is subconsciously written for Australian ears. But now living overseas, I am beginning to realise this sound is world class.

    Where this style, genre, movement, or whatever, is going, who knows. I am overwhelmed when I read about people appreciating this same music from other corners of the globe. It’s a true credit to the quality of the style. It is growing, but whether it can become a world-beater, and really put Australian modern rock on the map, I am unconvinced. Not because I believe the music doesn’t have the substance, or the bands don’t stack up, but I just can’t see the marketability of such a style to a mass audience, and I also don’t know if Australian music could ever be taken seriously enough. I’d like to think so, but I also cannot deny that I like the unique niche that it has tapped into, and feel that those who desire, will always seek and find. For now, it is so healthy without the need for magazine covers, music video chart toppers, or stadium tours. It has produced some of my favourite bands of all time, and I wait in anticipation for future albums and new artists to join the front. Its something Big, that’s for sure.