I loved The Bedlam in Goliath, so adjust your barometer accordingly when considering my review. The previous Volta album was a muscular, diverse, intense, disturbing, ambitious album with little reprieve throughout; Octahedron is, from one possible perspective, constrastingly refreshing. From another, it is a weak, dissolved effort; the shortest, slowest, and quietest album thus far from the band, and with few surprises. For those who found that TBiG rocked too hard, the subdued Octahedron will offer some relaxed music, but (as I imagine the majority of fans’ opinions are directed) the rest may find disappointment.
As I’ve indicated, the album is short. Eight tracks, fifty minutes. A numerical analysis suggests the band has grown lazy. Anyone familiar with the progressive death metal band Opeth might see an analogous situation between Deliverance/Damnation and TMV’s TBiG/Octahedron. It’s clear the decision here for a less bombastic approach was deliberate; the lingering question is whether or not the change is appealing. All TMV fans (in my experience) adore De-loused; many consider it the band’s greatest piece of work (I tend to vacillate), and Octahedron contains several cuts that remind the listener of parts from De-loused. Copernicus is almost equal parts Televators and Radiohead. The drawn out, reflective melodies and harmonies featured consistently over the album are interesting, but there is nothing here as haunting as Miranda That Ghost…, or as sprawlingly eerie Soothsayer. Desperate Graves does steal the catchy chorus award, making it a highlight of the album.
The album does rock in parts, and the results are generally not failures. Luciforms, the longest track on the record, alternates heavy, mid-tempo sections with ponderous, mysterious ones; building up towards a climax that is embarrassingly reminiscent of Tetragrammaton (one of the greater pieces of music the band ever created). This latest track doesn’t approach the level of visceral delight characteristic of Amputechture, however. This is the worst album from the band and arguably the least progressive; it isn’t bad, but hopefully we can expect more energized efforts from them in the future. It seems that the unpleasant occult experiences associated with TBiG may have scarred TMV’s creative tenacity. Still, the album is worth hearing for its more exciting moments. Since We’ve Been Wrong exudes a lulling drift of atmospheric, melancholic prog-pop/rock that beckons at the album’s gates for a full listen.