Eponymous is the debut EP from New Jersey prog rockers Cabinets of Curiosity.
Now, normally these days when I hear the words “prog rock” I’m expecting to hear something a little closer to Tool than to Yes. Imagine my surprise when Cabinets of Curiosity turned out to be the latter.
The band formed in 2015, working fast to put out their first EP, which was released on May 4th. Cabinets of Curiosity consists of James Naprawa (guitar), Jared Hirst (bass), Matt Montagano (drums), Joe Oliver (keys), Anthony Warga (saxophone), Kristina Bacich (flute), and Nat Hornyak (vocals). Naprawa had this to say about the direction the band is taking,
There are so many talented prog metal bands out there, but we really wanted to touch on what made the classic era of prog so magical. Sometimes that means getting super technical and torturing my bandmates with insane time signatures, but one thing I love about bands like Yes, Rush, and Genesis, is that it’s always musical. It’s always hummable. That’s what we want to bring to the table, but with a fresh, 21st century twist.
1. Dr. Quantum
2. Nowhere Near the Blade
3. The Abducted
4. Nobody's Angel
The first track, “Dr. Quantum”, opens with a nice 7/4 groove. Soon we get our first taste of Nat Hornyak’s voice, and she doesn’t disappoint. It’s immediately apparent that Cabinets of Curiosity’s instrumentation works to their benefit. Captivating melodies, and fascinating lyrics are the highlight of this song for me.
“Nowhere Near the Blade” starts off feeling very mysterious, aided heavily by the haunting synthesizers. Then the song gets a little funky, an unexpected and welcome turn of events. This track is a little heavier, and we get a nice long instrumental section, something that no prog band would be complete without. “Nowhere Near the Blade” is a little more metal, but still musical and still interesting for sure.
The next song, “The Abducted” is probably my favorite track from Eponymous. I love the sax melody in the intro. Soon the vocals kick in, and I really like the lyrics here, somber and longing. The song builds and builds, it’s not extremely technical, but that works for this song. The climax of the song left me wanting more, but it was still a satisfying end.
The closing track is entitled “Nobody’s Angel”. It’s got a very cool old school intro, but with an unexpected twist that I really enjoyed once everything kicked in. This is probably Eponymous’ most technically complex track, and it does show. There are a couple moments that sound like they may be playing mistakes, but I don’t think this should discourage you from the song. 99% of the time everything is being played cleanly, and there’s some really interesting things happening in this song. Rhythmically “Nobody’s Angel” is unyielding, forcing you to pay attention for fear that you may miss something.
Overall, I really enjoyed Eponymous and it got even better with repeated listens. Cabinets of Curiosity is made up of some solid musicians, and great songwriters. If you’ve got 25 minutes to spare, at home or in the car, listen to it for free on Bandcamp. If you really like it, you can buy it for just $4, a real bargain if you ask me.
I give Eponymous an 8/10.