Again, I sit here, recovering from surgery. Bored…yes, but time to maybe see what’s new, and happening in the music world. Recently I was contacted by a new band that is trying to carve a niche out for themselves, like many other musicians. I’m one of those people that tend to first look at the album covers…yes, one of those. Maybe I’ve missed a LOT of good music because of that but not this time! The artwork was something that grabbed my attention, so let’s take a dive into a brand new, UNSIGNED band!
About the Band, Future Now
Hailing from Cambridgeshire, UK, the band begins its musical journey by a simple coincidence. The bands Equitas and Flesh That Burns had members Jaz Hunter, and Charlie Mckenzie-Stewart. Their musical creativity began to blend, and collaboration was underway, feeding off each other’s talents. Over time, Jaz and Charlie continued to create together. More and more comprehensive material began to form that Jaz was planning to use for a solo project, but that quickly changed. In 2015 Riko Burrows offered to help out with his vocal powers.
Fast forward four years, with patience, and perseverance, the debut album has arisen. Future Now has delivered a fantastic album with Utopia Awaits, and have already completed almost half of the follow-up album to come! With dreams of becoming one of the top Prog Metal bands from the UK, Future Now has their eyes on the prize, and are well on their way to achieving their goal.
Listening to Utopia Awaits, I can immediately get the feel from their influences like Dream Theater, and Pagan’s Mind, with some Sons of Apollo and Transatlantic, mixed in. Funny how Mike Portnoy is in three of those four! I wonder if he has listened to this? Having seen Dream Theater myself numerous times leaning on the stage as they electrify the crowd, I think Future Now would be a stellar opening act for DT. It would fit right in with the Prog/Metal lovers out there.
When the album opens, it has a thematic piece of music, called “Remnants“, that sets the tone. It creates an environment like walking through the looking glass into a new world of the unknown. Soon you’re blasted with a flurry of notes from the next tune, “Creation Of Man“. It makes you stagger back and take note of why you’re here. While listening, your already foot tapping, and head nodding along with the musicianship, and heavy guitar riffs, and the quick drum beats. The vocals fit extremely well, but in a weird way stand on their own too.
“Dying Universe” is next, and it starts off with a fantastic opening that paints a picture of a mood, that’s really hard to express. I almost get a feeling of seeing the death of a phoenix, before it’s miraculous rebirth. I cannot say that this is what the guys were going for, but it’s music, we all see different images with what we hear right? The music and riffs with the proggish time changes here are stunning. The story does continue.
More about Utopia Awaits.
Now keep in mind, like many Prog/Metal albums, the songs are a tad longer than your normal “rock” album. With most songs ranging from five mins to almost ten minutes, the music should be telling you a story along its journey. This is probably my favourite tune on the album. Great music, solos, and hooks to keep you completely engrossed for the whole 6+ minutes.
“From Legend to Myth” has gotten the fourth slot on the album. It blends right into the previous song, but the mood changes while listening to it. You could almost envision a conceptual animated video to accompany this one. With a very fast beat and heavier riff on this one, it’s another beautiful painting done with music.
“Pillars Of Creation Pt.1” takes us into a direction of rebirth, and beginnings. With a musical piece in the start and a Pink Floyd-ish vocal, it’s a well-composed piece, that evolves into a more of a Prog-Rock piece that this listener quite enjoyed to hear for the first time on the album. Coming in just short of ten minutes, it’s a music quest that takes you all over the map. Fast, slow, up and down. Again so well-composed and built. Exactly what prog/metal is known, and loved for.
Even More about the album!
Hitting the halfway mark on this album, we are “Born into the Underworld“. I know I keep saying this, but this album can literally bring a fictitious movie into your mind. I can literally see a “Heavy Metal” styled animated film in my mind as I listen, and I love it!
“Wisdom of Harmony” is a great way to begin what record lovers would dub side B. It has a great heavy guitar riff to start, and vocals that blast out at ya. A little more rocking than the others, and less (not completely) proggish in its sound. The guitar solo is worth it alone!
“Past, Present Future” is a return to the more prog sound. Coming in over just six minutes. A piece that is more music than vocals. It’s a track that sticks out as well on the album but in a good way. “Pillars of Destruction Pt.2″ is up next, and it may have a different title, but is the follow up to track 5. Creation being part 1. I guess what rises must fall huh?! Regardless of the concept, it’s another magical piece to the puzzle of Utopia Awaits.
Fast-forwarding to the end of the album, leaving some pieces of the journey to your own discovery, let’s look at “World’s Apart“. Beginning with a rocking guitar, and backbeat behind it, we are treated to some simply amazing guitar work, and accompanying percussion section. Showing what the band is more than capable of creating down the line.
Future Now – Utopia Awaits is quite possibly one of the best Prog/Metal albums I’ve heard in a very long time. Not since 2007’s Systematic Chaos from Dream Theater, have I truly enjoyed a great prog sounding album with rock/metal influences scattered throughout. If you are a true fan of the genre, or even just getting started down this musical rabbit hole, then I highly suggest that you take a trip with Future Now….because Utopia Awaits. I’ve already made a mental note to watch these guys for the follow-up album!
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Trevor “Psychoone” McDougall
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- Jaz Hunter – Guitars & Creator
- Charlie Mckenzie-Stewart – Drums and Creator
- Riko Burrows – Vocal Melodies and Arrangements
- Richard (Nejjy) Nejman – Keyboards
- Creation of Man
- Dying Universe
- From Legend to Myth
- Pillars of Creation Pt.1
- Born into the Underworld
- Wisdom Of Harmony
- Past Present Future
- Pillars of Destruction, Pt.2
- Stand as One (Foreign Lands)
- Utopia Awaits
- Time and Time Again
- Sky Racers
- World’s Apart