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The Scoville Scale measures the spiciness of hot peppers. The hottest peppers have a Scoville rating of between 855,000 and a little over two million. By comparison, a Jalepeno has an average rating of between three and ten thousand.

Progressive metal functions the way spiciness does. The people that dislike it never want to bite in twice, and the people that love it need to slowly ramp up the amount of prog they can handle per sample. Prog metal needs its own spice scale. Your average Djent band is a Banana pepper. That circus bit in “The Last Baron” by Mastodon probably rates at about ten thousand. They are the Jalepeno pepper of prog metal. Dream Theater basically do that circus metal thing the entire time, so let’s call them a Cayenne pepper between 30,000 and 50,000 units. Unexpect? They’re a California Reaper—those multi-string fretless bass runs alone are worth about one million prog units.

By this imaginary, arbitrary and totally subjective prog metal scale, I rank Locust Leaves at around 100,000 prog units, or at about the equivalent resilience to consumption of a Piri piri pepper. In pure flavor, their debut LP A Subtler Kind of Light most resembles the golden Mike Scalzi-John Cobbett axis of early aughts Hammers of Misfortune and Slough Feg, galloping folky triplets and all. Extra points are awarded for oddness like chiming bells and dramatic organ on “Light/Fos”. Soaring solos from Spectral Lore’s Ayloss don’t hurt, and neither do drums by Zemial’s Archon Vorskaath. The oddness is more than skin deep, but likewise aesthetic. I mean, look at the lyric sheet they sent…

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A Subtler Kind of Light drops on March 17 via I, Voidhanger.

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