I saw these guys open for Dillinger Escape Plan about a month ago, and they impressed me enough to pick this up. I knew they were good, but man was I in for a surprise.
This band seems to love all the music I do. All the elements of my favorite music are combined into one kick ass metal album, the way they juxtapose all these styles can only be compared to Opeth. On this album you can hear nods to Emperor, In Flames, Opeth, various jazz, King Crimson, some metalcore and Morbid Angel among others. However, this band has most definitely got it’s own personality and style, and it comes not in the kind of riffs and melodies they play but more in how they put it together. This band has a VERY original composition style… so many little details, unexpected riff switches, so many sections to each song. It’s hard to make sense of at first, but these guys most definitely know what they’re doing and the way they put things together DOES make sense, it just requires some active listening (much like Meshuggah… speaking of which these guys can do the polyrhythm thing too).
The production is fantastic, kind of Gothenburg guitar sound.
1. All Bodies (9/10) A 3 part ‘mini-epic’ beginning with a heavy section that sort of loses its momentum in all of the tempo changes. However, the kick ass chorus melody really fixes things up. The second part ‘The Discovery’ is VERY Emperor, in other words it f**king rocks. The last part is a reprise of the fantastic chorus. Doesn’t flow as well as some of the other tracks, though. I think the song is about the hope that there is an afterlife and that our souls are not ‘mortal’.
2. Alaska (8/10) VERY heavy and great for headbanging / moshing but not too much melodic value, aside from the intro. Very strange lyrics.
3. Croakies and Boatshoes (10/10) A gloriously heavy number, the riffs are pure Trey Azagthoth… I’d say this is song is sort of a tribute to Morbid Angel. All heavy like Alaska, but I like it more since it doesn’t overstay it’s welcome. I think I’d like Morbid Angel more if they were produced this well.
4. Selkies (10/10) Another more epic one, and pretty accurately sums up this band. Intro is stylistically like a lot of melodic death metal, transitions into an original and ominous clean vocal section. Followed by some thrashing parts and then a beautiful jazzy section complete with a blues solo. Think something from Opeth’s Damnation.
5. Breathe In, Breathe Out (9/10) Short melodic intro to Roboturner, very relaxing and peaceful. Should have picked a less cliche title for it, although it does fit.
6. Roboturner (10/10) Quite possibly my favorite song on here. The lyrics are heartfelt, tragic and pissed off as hell all at the same time, discussing the abuse of musicians by the industry and society they are a part of. They’re screamed over some of the most absolutely frantic and detailed heavy sections I’ve ever heard, and some truly haunting melodic riffs drive the point home. “We will find art again”.
7. Backwards Marathon (10/10) Fantastic. Initial heavy part is quite good, but the song really gets going at the drawn out jazzy section. While Tommy repeats “It’s raining”, some plain gorgeous chords play over rain sounds. It builds in intensity until the fantastic melodic/heavy ending where the lines “Dreams they won’t let go, thoughts they will not change, I can’t watch this fly away” are repeated. I believe the song is about how he’s always dreamed of musical success, and now that he’s here it obscures the music itself and his enthusiasm for it, and that’s something that must be fixed. Another very heartfelt one.
8. The Medicine Wheel (10/10) All clean instrumental. Peaceful and amazingly powerful, sometimes plays through my head.
9. The Primer (9/10) Some great leads and such, but no really amazing standout section. Great lyrics again, sarcastic and slightly funny.
10. Autodidact (10/10) Great leads again, complex heavy song. King Crimson-esque middle section, with all sorts of dissonance and prog timing. The ending riff is one of the simplest yet most mosh-worthy things I know of. I saw this firsthand.
11. Laser Speed (8/10) On its own not an original or particularly interesting piece, kind of smooth jazz. However, it’s a fitting ending.
Many fans seem to think this album’s a dissapointment coming off of Silent Circus, so maybe that one’s even better. I’ll find out soon. However, I know for certain that this is one of the most creative and interesting metal albums I’ve heard in a while.