My introduction to Chicago’s Coyote Man was a rather serendipitous one. I was browsing Reddit, responding to a thread where a guy had asked for recommendations for bands that are similar to Mastodon. One user suggested he give Coyote Man a listen. They were the only band on the list that I wasn’t familiar with, so I made a quick shift to Spotify. Lo and behold, Coyote Man immediately caught my attention.
Instrumental metal bands, in my opinion, have to really shine to hold our collective attention. Bands like Animals as Leaders and Intervals come to mind. I’m happy to say Coyote Man effortlessly do the same.
Based in Chicago, this two piece prog group are made up Augie Portugal (guitar, bass, keyboards), and drummer, Ian Wheeler. “Precognition” is the first album since the band’s successful 2017 self-titled debut. Let’s break these new track down one at a time.
“Blatherskite” is the opening song, introduced with a swirling of ominous keyboards, before giving way to a staggered beat from Wheeler. The song ebbs and flows between static and hallucinatory before Portugal’s driving, discordant, biting chord voicings appear. Alternating between crushing waves of drum fills and atmospheric guitars, a beautiful keyboard/guitar melody takes front and center and leads the song into a droning and driving outro. Killer opening track; attention hooked.
“Remnants” is up next and wastes no time heading into a flurry of distortion and open drum spaces. Rich reverb and modulation adds an extra layer of trippy effects to an already cosmic track. Atonal melodies shared between guitar and keys take you over the precipice before plunging into driving, building drums from Wheeler. From there, the steady and repeating flow turns to a melodic and dreamy keyboard interlude, very King Crimson in nature, and languidly brings the listener to end of the journey.
“Perilous” is the band’s first single release, (see video below), and opens with chugging guitar and drums from the very beginning. The first break comes with huge open melodies that easily float above ethereal guitars in all their ambient glory. Structured together with flowing back beats and psychedelic guitar, the song moves you from one realm to the next before its unexpected end.
“The Unseen Hand” swells in with keys and drenching texture before the gorgeous clean guitars descends to carry the moment. The floating cadence drifts along at a slow, but progressive pace before energies turn darker, capturing the listener in a din of melodic effects barely contained within the song. If you have extracurricular hobbies, make sure you plan accordingly before this releases on 4/20. The song wraps with soft piano intervals that feels hauntingly familiar.
“Death Before Dishonor” “Going down..” the automated voice proclaims before the catchy chugga-chugga-chugga pulls you into ubiquitous waves of dreamscapes. Not content to stick too close to any one riff or melody, the song twists and turns with high-gain distortion that seems reminiscent of older Mastodon. Heavy ass guitars and drums pound the ending home. Death before dishonor indeed.
“Apocalyptic Love” closes the album. Save the best for last? You decide. Lightly distorted guitar and bass welcome you into another realm of flowing, dancing beats, assuredly designed to tap into your inner being. Droning, swelling, interplanetary sections allow you to ascend to new levels of prog metal consciousness – and it’s an open invite to you, dear listener. This is so much a song I could hear coming from someone like The Flaming Lips, but fortunately Coyote Man stake claim to the heavier punctuation needed to sell this ambient meandering into the soul.
If instrumental prog metal is your thing, then I can’t recommend any new release more than this. “Precognition” lands on 4/20. Enjoy the current apocalypse between pungent puffs and glorious interplanetary songs from Chicago’s best up and comers. I encourage you to share this with your friends.