Halo Tora album launch @ Stereo, Glasgow May02

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Halo Tora album launch @ Stereo, Glasgow

Halo Tora album launch @ Stereo, Glasgow

The boys play a hometown show to promote the release of their most recent and stunning new album “ Man of Stone: First Chapter”.

I am a fairly recent convert to this band since seeing them for the first time last year. Since that date their debut album “Omni/One” has never been far away from my ears. Add to that having had the chance to hear the latest album for a couple of weeks before release and I have been blown away. I will be honest, prog was never a big thing for me and as I got older the further away it has become.

The twiddly diddly parts kind of bored me but Halo Tora grabbed me from the first time I heard them. They put a whole new spin on prog, introducing a darkness and heaviness that has been cultivated from Nu metal and that made me stand to attention. With that heavier side they forced me to listen through their quieter and deeper moments.

Glasgow is full to overflowing with amazing and talented bands right now but for technical ability Halo Tora steal the crown and have fast become the band I cannot miss.

The set is short tonight due to the dreaded curfew so there will be no messing about and the guys get on stage in almost darkness and as they start up “Age of Terror” the pretty impressive lighting rig bursts to life from behind. As good as it appears for atmosphere my first thoughts were how the hell am I going to photograph this and as you will see from the results…I didn’t.

Ruins” is up next and the song takes you on a journey of decay and depth. As much as I love the albums there is no replacement for being front and centre of the stage, booming PA either side of you and incredible musicians just an arm length away. You can see the quality, the individuality of each member being warped into the sum that is the band.

The first new track to be played before a live audience is “ Always the Last to Know” and as the almost U2 guitar click comes forth I settle down to just watch the song unfold. I was not disappointed, the break down pieces were sublime, the vocals far stronger live and the overall sound just perfect.

This is followed by my personal favourite from the new album in “Unthank”. The keyboards paint the way, the guitar an almost unheard piece in the jigsaw and the vocals dripping with sadness. When the beat drops and the sound builds you have a wall of instruments vying for your attention, you do not know where to look or concentrate so I just shut my eyes and get taken away with the musical tide. This song is an absolute Prog classic.

The new songs progress with “Heart of War” and “Fractured”, the latter is not treated with the respect it is due. The crowd chatter is getting ridiculous and quite rightly the shout of “Shut the fuck up” comes from the stage. The start of this song is incredible, it harks to classical music, the quiet guitar and the tortured vocals…why the hell are people talking through this? As sad as it is to say this seems to becoming more prevalent…it is a gig FFS people, Weatherspoons is round the corner if you are out for a chat, no music, cheap beer and as much as it is great to see plenty here tonight this shit is not welcome.

Back to “Omni” for the track “Permanent Revolution” and this gets everyone singing(now that is acceptable) before we head to the the title track from latest release and “Man of Stone”. With almost all tracks played from the album I am very, very happy. The rap works perfectly live on this track, something that should not work is spot on. With a track like this Halo Tora are ripping up the landscape that is Prog, they have read the prog rules A through Z and said sod that, lets try something different and man does it work.

They finish on “ Earth Exit Bloom” and what a way to bow out. As it plays out I look around and wonder why this band are in such a small venue, why such talent can be contained in a small space and why they have not been picked up by the masses totally confuses me but I suppose it is one step at a time as they head out on a UK and European tour. I pray each gig brings new fans, I hope word spreads quickly as this band is far too good to be be tied down, they must be heard and live is the introduction you need.

If you have not heard this band I beg you to give them a listen and make sure you go see them live as soon as you can and you can stand in awe as I have done.

Images and words Ritchie Birnie

 

 

Halo Tora Album Launch @ Stereo, Glasgow

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