Nightmares Of Our Own Design by Svengahli, the latest project from the mind of bassist and composer Alex Weber of Exist, is an intense and technically compelling new EP that highlights all that is great about progressive metal music. Weber displays exceptional musical aptitude and versatility as bassist, vocalist and drum programmer of the piece, combining influences in metal with that of the signature improvisational tangents of jazz (a component that is especially noticeable in the penultimate track ‘Adrift’). The drum programming stands out specifically as a most exceptional aspect of the record, owing I’m sure to not only the talents of Weber, but also those of renowned drummer and producer Anup Sastry, who is credited as aiding the drum production and programming as well as the mixing and mastering of the EP as a whole.
Guest musicians Matt Rossa (guitar) and Charlie Eron (guitar and synth) bring a further level of finesse with their suitably intense and complex riffs that drive the release across its 25-minute runtime. This EP in true progressive style sounds less like four separate songs than one mammoth composition, which owing to the latter three tracks being listed as parts I-III, is clearly the intention, and so has certainly been well executed in how it comes across so plainly. To avoid the concept getting lost however in the swirling vortex that is the guitars (not helped by the inclusion of two terrific guest spots by Rafael Trujillo and Kevin Hufnagel for good measure).
The lyrical content serves like an anchor to keep everything grounded and centred around the titular concept of “nightmares of our own design”. It should come as some relief to Svengahli, therefore, that their hard work on this project pays off and puts them in good stead for their aspirations to produce a full-length album in the not-too-distant future.