The artists who innovate are never the ones who “play it safe.” These forward thinking creative types are often deeply consumed in their own world and receive critical praise long before the public en mass follows suit. There are not many music groups comprised of only two members; even fewer who fall into the genre of instrumental music. This premise did not deter drummer Lang Zhao and Bassist/Guitarist Yas Nomura in forming The Resonance Project; of course, these are two very uncommon and extraordinary musicians. Both are multi-instrumentalists who served multiple roles in the creation of the band’s self-titled debut offering. Released in June of this year, The Resonance Project was awarded a 5 out of 5 rank by PROG magazine who stated, “This album definitely stands out as one of the best debut albums of the whole modern progressive scene”. The album ranked #3 in metal/ progressive category; leading drumstick company Vic Firth (owned by global cymbal giant Zildjian) to feature videos of Lang and Yas on its social media/website. Much more than simply a technical master, Zhao’s work on The Resonance Project testifies that he is a complex composer focused on writing whether that be melodies or rhythm.
The Resonance Project is not a status quo Prog Metal project. With compositions deeply rooted and influenced by Classical, Jazz, and even modern film scores; the songs are as prominent as the talented musicians creating them. Much of this is due to the two-person group’s ability to perform on multiple instruments. Zhao is one of the most talented drummers of his generation who began his musical journey with classical piano while Yas is a virtuoso on both guitar and bass. The duo takes the challenge of their musical very seriously. The album’s second track “A Progression to Infinity” took more than five years for them to finalize. This is an indicator that these two masters are committed to their artistic vision regardless of what it requires. Influences such as Dream Theatre, Animals as Leaders, Pat Metheny, Snarky Puppy, and Allan Holdsworth are perceivable in the music of The Resonance Project and communicate that Jazz is as essential to their DNA as Metal.
A number of varied guest musicians appear on The Resonance Project’s debut release, cementing the respect and popularity of the band amongst their peers. Bassist Bubby Lewis (Snoop Dogg, Dr. Dre), guitarist Taso Comanescu, and Yo Onityan (Rings of Saturn) perform on “The Anthem”, best described as chamber music meets Meshuggah. Track # 4 “Neo Thangka” features Mateus Asato (Tori Kelly, Jessie J) on a rollercoaster ride which combines traditional Metal and Neo-Jazz. This album contains heavy orchestration using modern sound design, synth and a large full scale symphonic orchestra, and copious Jazz improvisations. PROG magazine awarded The Resonance Project 5 out of 5 in their review and stated, “This album definitely stands out as one of the best debut albums of the whole modern progressive scene.”
More than 60,000 Spotify streams for this debut release confirms that the public finds it as engaging as critics. The album sales ranked #3 in Metal/Progressive category on Bandcamp, further vetting the band as one of this year’s most successful new groups of the genre., Lang Zhao concedes, “While popularity is certainly appreciated, it’s not a motivation for us. I don’t think there are any other Prog bands out there which are functioning and creating music like we are. Our intention is to create something good, something new, something different; because everything sounds alike now days. Our musical tastes and style are very much different than most other prog bands because we are Prog Metal musicians, Fusion-Jazz musicians; add to this my training and working experiences in the Classical music, film/game composing world, and audio engineering. A lot of listeners comment they have never heard something like this before; which is my favorite thing to read.”
Written by Patrick Wilson