Christopher Sampson is a talented young musician I discovered when I met him at a musicans meeting in Peterborough. I also saw him perform live as a bassist with fantastic local NWOBHM band Untamed, and I could see he was quite talented from the offset. His new EP The Blood Of The Lamb II is a progressive metal journey that although 4 tracks long is in fact about an hour of music in an EP!
Opening up with Welcome… Beast, straight away there’s a bit of a Queen influence before heading into classic prog synths with a vocal slightly reminiscent of Geddy Lee but with a bit more edge. This song is all over the place in a good way, with so many different twists and turns it would take a very long review to describe it all. The fact there is songwriting this strong right from the bat is a massive strength in Chris’ advantage! With heavy riffs meeting tight rhythm sections and well performed synth passages, this is definitely masterpiece, and the risky move of opening with an incredibly long number certainly pays off! There’s some great dynamics on display, from heavy sections to more calm breakdowns that build atmosphere with spoken word too. The vocal range for such a young singer is also very impressive, and the instrumental work on display is also equally impressive.
Follow The Spiders is next up, opening with a creepy atmosphere, before slamming into some awesome riffage with some screamed vocals by Emilio Alucard, contrasting with Chris’ lighter vocal. This song although shorter than that the preceding track is equally full of changes in dynamics, and has some great melodies throughout too. This one feels a little more like Coheed And Cambria and more modern progressive rock and metal, but still has some really cool old school sounding synths and some Dream Theater style riffage too.
A Kiss From The Lips Of Deceit/Climbing The Blue Mountain has a really nice chilled out vibe to begin with, with nice clean guitar chords, some great percussion building up an atmosphere and some vocals from Charlie Cassells providing a really well performed duet from her and Chris here. This is a really nice track, and offers something a little different from the two that came before. There’s some great guitar soloing later on, and yet again great use of dynamics here!
The EP closes with Dancing To The Melody Of Madness (and Drinking The Blood That Remains) and this is another epic at 28 minutes long. Opening up with delicate piano before ripping into a massive guitar riff with some great synth melodies layered on top. This is another track with a hell of a lot going on, even with some saxophone moments and even some stuff that borders on jazz in places! There are plenty of awesome riffs here, with really heavy sounding guitars in places meeting lighter sections later on. Tension is built and released really well throughout the track’s long runtime too! This song has lots of different parts in a very classic but highly appreciated prog rock methodology, telling an epic tale throughout.
I am told there are a lot of references to the genre of progressive rock itself. I must admit personally couldn’t them out on the whole, but at the same time wouldn’t really want to spoil it for prog rock fanatics, so for that reason as well as the music itself I certainly recommend checking this out!
The production is really quite good, with great studio quality and well recorded instruments throughout. Clearly a hell of a lot of thought and effort has gone into this release.
This is a fantastic release from Christopher Sampson, with the advent of him travelling to uni to study the art of music, I am definitely interested in seeing what happens next with this young man!