RECENT REVIEWS OF THE NEW CD RELEASE - Human Life Index: Welcome To!
SEA OF TRANQUILITY - The Web Source for Progressive Rock, Progressive Metal, & Jazz Fusion
Take parts of The Mahavishnu Orchestra, Dixie Dregs, King Crimson, Jean Luc Ponty, and maybe a bit of Frogg Cafe, throw them all in a blender, and add a last minute dash of Middle Eastern influence, and you get something that sounds like Human Life Index. The band was formed by drummer David Gaziel and guitarist Ali Shayesteh, augmented here on Welcome To by acclaimed electric violinist James Sudakow, Jen Kuhn on electric cello, and Jessica Catron on cello. The results are quite interesting and different from what you would normally expect from an instrumental outfit such as this. With the heavy ethnic flavor, groove laden rhythms, and weaving solo spots from violin, viola, cellos, guitar, and bouzouki, this is fusion of a different sort that should find wide appeal in the prog rock community. Tracks like "Surveillance", "HLI", "Defiance", and "Conquest" are practically hypnotic, as the melodies created by the stringed instruments create an intoxicating aura while Gaziel's intricate drum patterns and Shayesteh's crunchy electric guitar work adds a solid framework. The guys almost fall into prog-metal territory on the heavy "9000th Century", complete with massive guitar riffs and the slashing violin bursts from Sudakow. Welcome To is indeed a great introduction to this Los Angeles act, and should be a precursor of much good music to come.
Added: August 8th 2007
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
ProGGnosis - Progressive Rock & Fusion
This unconventional line up of musicians was formed by drummer/percussionist - David Gaziel and Bouzouki, Saz, Oud, performer - Ali Shayesteh. Adding two virtuoso violinists and equally skilled cellists the group made for an unusual if not entirely unique ensemble of musicians. What comes from this group is a culmination of ethno beat, world fusion, with ample sentiments towards progressive rock music as well.
My trip to the bands Myspace allowed me to get better acquainted with the pedigree and history of the band members, and also a nice visual glimpse of the band in a live setting. Pretty impressive line up, well schooled, well rounded, and certainly well paired for the way they are able to integrate so many unique styles into their sound, and stay true to the bands' intended identity. They use their unconventional instrumentation in such a way as to create mid-eastern modes to a more progrock-ish backdrop, both violinists are skilled soloists and are able to play outside the typical classical training that most violinists are trained for. The cellos act as the bassists as well as ensemble strings for the band, and as for Ali Shayesteh, he goes between his electric guitar and those 'other' stringed instruments, which in truth are the bands basis for musical foundation, his flare for the mideastern inspired feel is enhanced by the methodical and mezmerizing polyrhythmic drumming and percussion work of Gaziel.
The complexity of the music is more in the melodic arrangements of the violins and cellos, as the rhythms are mechanical and fairly repetitive, in a good way, these are foundations for the purpose of song development. The electric guitar will provide the rock-ish aspects of the music when they are in that mode, and again the drumming is the metronome for the rest of the band. I can't help to make comparisons to Boud Deun, and even Ozone Quartet when attempting to make a basic comparison, each of those bands features rock based prog, somewhat angular with violins as well as occasional fusion tendancies, both are from this same camp, and have a somewhat similar feel.
Published on: 15 Sep 2007
ProgNaut.com - Progressive music CD & DVD reviews from a fan’s perspective
Another band emerges from the LA area called Human Life Index. And with the name you might think it’s some hardcore metal or punk band but you’d be very wrong. As they old saying goes, never judge a book by it’s cover. Human Life Index is part of a new breed of heavy progressive fusion. They can be ranked up with such bands like The Mahavishnu Orchestra, King Crimson and newer bands like Planet X, KBB as well as countless others. Human Life Index was formed by drummer David Gaziel and guitarist Ali Shayesteh, and are augmented on the band’s debut ‘Welcome To’ by James Sudakow (electric violin), Jen Kuhn (electric cello) and Jessica Catron (cello). The end results are simply amazing and different than what I was expecting. The highlights instrumentally for me are all the string instruments especially James Sudakow‘s contributions (whose solo album Green is quite remarkable as well). ‘Welcome To’ is one of the better instrumental releases of 2007, hands down. It just doesn’t get any better, at least to me. Needless to say, it gets a high recommendation indeed! So what are you waiting for, go get this album today!!! Reviewed by Ron Fuchs on November 17th, 2007