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A Romp Through Wank and Wonk - 90%

Five_Nails, June 2nd, 2017
Written based on this version: 2004, CD, Tribunal Records

Canvas Solaris is a progressive metal band from Georgia, USA, that is fun, unique, and all sorts of talented. “Sublimation” is sometimes unwieldy and at others otherworldly as each song grows into a flourishing flow from seemingly disparate sounds and structures, coalescing into a labyrinth of beauty from such uneven building blocks. The immersive mixture of instruments used throughout these thirty-eight minutes makes for a splendid series of journeys that explore the unusual space between two forms and bridge on incompatibility in order to embrace their transitions as they tightly wrap around each other in harmonious fashion.

This very unusual, very jazzy, and very technical instrumental progressive metal seeks to push boundaries by articulating indistinct and brash phrases through a consistent and sensible stream of consciousness that finds its purpose in encouraging melodies. While the opening moments to songs like “Cosmopolysyndeton” or “Cyclotron Emission” can begin in delirious and disorienting disharmonies where drums divide from guitar structures and every element sounds as though its playing its own completely separate song, the ethereal unifications of each splayed structure find their own hypnotizing home in this confusing space. The grooving “Spheres in Design” embraces its gorgeous moments and bends them in unusual ways to see how close they can curve before snapping the structure. The soloing at the end of the song brings the theme home to show that they weren't reaching too far out on a limb but instead wanted to play with it and take things as far as they could go. There is no attempt to offend. Rather the adoption of a new perspective is sought. While exploring these celestial cycles there will be some friction due to the tides of expansive gravitational waves but Canvas Solaris' ship is more sturdy than it may seem at first listen.

Canvas Solaris adapts the asymmetry of jazz into its own metallic metamorphosis but also hints at a bit of philosophical dictum that was originally anecdotally ascribed to the U.S. Army and poignantly parallels this groups approach. “The reason the American Army does so well in war is because war is chaos and the American Army practices chaos on a daily basis.” Like three separate armies traversing winding backroads and forming distinct prongs of a front in order to conquer a capital, the destination is a set goal in each song while the turbulent battles form a journey where every contingent may encounter its own challenges as it makes its way from the fires of chaos into the pleasure of peace.

This album is cleanly produced and an intimate listen as though listening to a band jamming in a quiet club as the sun rises and the crowds have stumbled forth from the sonic sanctuary. In the most aggressive moments of “Ekstatik Parataxis (The New Measure)” the cascading drums are chased by guitars without a hint of intrusion between each element as the song nurtures a nuanced series of jazz measures. The transition holds tight to its 'new measure' against the curl of chaos as it momentarily ventures too close to a singularity and then throws its engines into full thrust to ride out of the vantablack maw back into a friendlier black space.

Canvas Solaris has found the most appropriate title for its first full-length album. “Sublimation” is an absolutely sublime example of the calculated transitions that can simulate an alien form of sound deep in the interstellar night and, through a gradual movement, transport you into the intoxicatingly beautiful nebula it seeks to share with its audience.

Technical Metal Jazzy madness - 85%

yogibear, December 30th, 2004

Canvas Solaris- “Sublimation”

This is a new band from the town of Statesboro, Georgia. They are a 3 member band with:

Nathan Sapp on lead and rhythm guitars,6 and 12 string acoustic guitars, Micromoog, Yamaha cs60 synthesizers.

Ben Simpkins on rhythm and lead guitars, bass guitar, 12 string acoustic guitar.

Hunter Ginn on djembe, table drums, congas, shekere.

There are 7 songs and the time lasts about 39 minutes.
Musically these guys are an instrumental heavy technical metal band with some jazzy interludes/influences. Being instrumental they rely on dynamics and speed to make the songs interesting, oh and also super playing ability. These guys can play with the utmost speed, agility and wank ability/chops of almost any band out there. These guys are very “tasty”. Musically they sound like a lot of bands such as Spiral Architect, King Crimson, the fucking champs, Cynic, and Behold the Arctopus.

The songs all have lots of interesting things going on. Most are begun with finger picked intros and also with synth efx to add some differentness. The guys can play fast runs or slow down and play for effect and “feel”. The drums and bass are really well recorded and together the band is really tight and well rehearsed.
One thing they do is that they “name” their solos within the songs. I think they are the only ones I know of that does this.

Arranging is very good, these guys mix acoustic guitars with electrics and very tasty synth burps and bleeps as well. The drummer is excellent as he uses congas and other percussion for a very dramatic effect on some of the songs such as “When solar winds collide”. The drummer Hunter, also throws in some tribal drums and bells into the song “Sublimation” for an Indian feel that makes this one my favorite tunes on this cd. The electric guitar playing is done very tastefully. They mix lots of clean tones with some varied types of distortion (Mesa to Marshall) to change the sounds so as to always make for an interesting mix. The crunchy, heavy bits and riffing are all over the place but not a focus of the music and when they are heard make the music more visceral and powerful.

This is a very good release of technical modern metal. The only thing that may be missing is more or better melodies within the songs so as to make them memorable for listeners. The changes in speed and the variations in dynamics are very cool but are not enough to make this a great Cd.