In these strange times we find ourselves, there’s something cathartic—even enjoyable—about apocalyptic imagery, pronouncements of the final winner-take-all fight between good and evil.
Peterborough’s PUPPET fill their debut album with these portentous visions, writ large in slow, intentional builds with a doomy, distant-thunder-boom darkness that occasionally explode into thrashing climaxes. It’s heady stuff, and also technically complex to execute, as are the intricate, syncopated, and always-interesting rhythms the trio execute so effortlessly. The band has listed Tool and the Mars Volta as influences, and those are on full display here.
But what truly sets PUPPET apart is the vocal work of Jake Bartoli. His voice is fragile, melancholy, and high—reminiscent of fellow local ELMS—set against a brawny, confident musical backdrop. It lends the epic storytelling—which is ultimately fairly standard prog metal fare—and unexpected emotionality and vulnerability, making the stakes feel very real.
PUPPET’s Z is available for purchase on Bandcamp.
All images courtesy the artist.