Wednesday, December 19, 2012


After New York who has the best experimental metal scene, Chicago seems to be where the most forward thinking metal is coming from I the states these days.

I like the middle eastern flare to the opening strains of "Oil and Water" ,when the song goes into the gallop the vocals remind me of Only Living Witness.Three and a half minute in the riff age becomes almost death metal in its heaviness. This track had way more drive than I expected really only familiar with Lamont's work in the Bloodiest before I picked this up.

"One the Last day" takes a grungier , almost Soundgarden like take, with Lamont sounding more like Cornell than Ozzy to me Becuase his range is more comfortable as a baritone than reaching for tenor notes. The phrasing in the faster sections might be more Ozzy. The cello over the doomish descending patterns adds to the sonng's a mournful quality. The drummer on this album is fantastic.

"Man is Machine" Sludges it's way into motion , Lamont's wail takes on a lethargic moan as the distortions drips down like lava from the upper layers of hell. The Cornell approach is still there , the riff speeds up into a weird jazz thrash and the veer fro the grunge thing yet stay cleanly sung which I admire. A lot happens by the time they are three minutes into the song and it's an eight minute piece. Some of the palm muted riffs employed remind me a little of the Jesus Lizard at times and I suppose there could even be some Tool comparisons tossed about as well.

"Fire Temple and Beyond" begins with slower paced doom and the plead of the sax in the distance. The tribal groove creeps out of the shadow with the guitar. Flirting with going in a more Doors like direction. The chug rips out of nowhere, it's thick and unwieldy over the chant of ... No light suspended in the sky. The bass redeems some of the lowest common denominator nature of the chug allowing the guitar to venture off into more of a harmony. The vocals seem a little flat over the heavier progression, and where their delivery compensated for this tendency , where they sit makes this a little more obvious and where they were more Soundgarden earlier on they remind me mor of Eddie Vedder here.

"Mouth of the Lion" is much more straight forward post eighties metal. In comparison to some of the wildly winding sonic adventures it's hard to put something so single purpose in perspective.

"Species" starts off heavy and spastic with the vocals having more of a Tom Araya feel to them and this song is only a minute and a half so hard to get anything really established I that time frame.

"Lotus Array" the languid intro floats the song in on sax laced opium clouds. It feels a little like some from Miles Davis's "Sketches of Spain" period, the vocals lend it more of a Doors element, thought the Vedder still haunts them slightly. it dopes build into a little more metal section but the song retains its haunting quality even when the double bass comes in. I like how the sonic elements ride against the thrashier side.

I don't think the little excursions into the more straight ahead territory do the album any justice as the more epic soundscapes presented earlier on don't mesh with them in the albums overall feel or what the beginning really sets the tone for. The their credit the cooler elements of jazz and to a lesser degrees world music they bring to the table are so cool and work so well I have no problem rounding this up to an eight.

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