NPR logo Zebulon Pike: Stop, Start, Stagger

Zebulon Pike: Stop, Start, Stagger

'Space Is the Corpse of Time' by Zebulon Pike

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Zebulon Pike's "Space Is the Corpse of Time" is a surprisingly digestible slice of multifaceted prog-metal. Courtesy of the artist hide caption

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Courtesy of the artist

Thursday's Pick

Song: "Space Is the Corpse of Time"

Artist: Zebulon Pike

CD: Space Is the Corpse of Time

Genre: Rock

The Minneapolis-based instrumental hard-rock band Zebulon Pike doesn't make its multifaceted prog-metal compositions easily digestible. But its mix of down-tuned guitars, pummeling drums — and a sensibility straddling both modern classical and classic rock — has enough snap and personality that the listener feels compelled to trudge, slog, climb and even run as the band scales its densely packed 12-minute pieces like so many gigantic mountains of ice.

"Space Is the Corpse of Time," the title track from the band's new album, is Zebulon Pike in a compact, five-minute bite. Starting with tightly wound King Crimson-damaged harmonies from guitarists Erik Fratzke (bassist for the jazz band Happy Apple) and Morgan Berkus, "Space Is the Corpse of Time" stops, starts and staggers around in a stiff-limbed trot, then picks up speed like a snowball rolling downhill. Then the mood changes, and delicate, dissonant guitars, cymbals and bells shimmer like snow-coated tree branches at night — at which point a slow, ominous bass sidles in and breaks a path for ferociously doomy guitar grooves that accelerate until they slide to a dead stop.