Pigeon Toe are a German supergroup that began life in 2008 as an idea between the Fischer brothers, Marsn (Martin) and Hanson (Hans), of Fear My Thoughts, Mongouse and Backslide fame. When Mongouse, and later Fear My Thoughts split, they invited drummer Norman Lonhard (Fear My Thoughts), guitarist/keyboardist Patrick Hagmann (Fear My Thoughts, Triptykon) and bassist Ben Krahl (Final Kings) to complete the lineup.
Pigeon Toe released their first, and so far only, album, The First Perception, in 2012, which was an expansive progressive metal concept record. The record features a very unique sound lead by the distinctive rhythms set out by Lonhard and Krahl. During the djent-influenced The Chase, the pair drive polyrythms with steamroller-like drumming and thumping basslines. This force continues on in both A Broken Man; a progressive epic that confidently flows through ever-changing scenery, and the ferocious, The Man With The Cat, whose intricate design reminds of Opeth.
For a debut effort, The First Perception is unusually sure of itself. The bands vision, both conceptually and musically, is led by the two brothers, which has resulted in a very focused effort. Nowhere is this more evident than within the title track, as the brothers guide the band through winding acoustic passages and harder, riff-driven sections seamlessly. The album’s closing track, The Flashback, also does a good job at showcasing their transitioning ability, as somehow the five-piece manage to evolve a folk-inspired banjo riff into a wall of monolithic guitars, whilst making a small detour to the realm of atmospheric acoustic playing.
Aside from the crunch of the heavier tracks, Pigeon Toe are able to capture the story’s concept with four beautiful instrumentals too. The Cave is the best of the bunch, with a small, but gorgeous, overdriven solo elevated above a cyclical acoustic motif. The two parts of The Wizard contrast each other perfectly; the first builds up with eerie chimes, before the crunch of the distorted guitars is unleashed in the second. Finally, The Crooked Path once again demonstrates their talent for memorable rhythms, as well as bizarre guitar riffs.
As progressive metal debut’s go, The First Perception, comes close to perfection, because Pigeon Toe have managed to place the aural complexity demanded from progressive music, within song structures that are actually accessible and, more importantly, memorable. At the same time Pigeon Toe have made their musical vision very clear, which has enabled them to produce a very cohesive record. The German supergroup are currently working on their second record and if they continue down the same path, it is sure to launch them towards the recognition they deserve.
For fans of: Opeth, Steven Wilson, Mastodon
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