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Canvas Solaris - The Atomized Dream - 70%

ConorFynes, December 9th, 2011

Canvas Solaris have long been at the forefront of the technical metal scene. A band as consistent in any in their mission to deliver cerebral and sometimes puzzling music, this collective of skilled musicians has always had my respect. On their fourth album, 'The Atomized Dream' is a natural continuation of their trademark style of mathematically-driven progressive metal. Contrary to what this band is normally about however, there is an added slight emphasis on atmosphere and texture that slightly distinguishes this album apart from the rest, at least on a stylistic note.

'The Binaural Beat' immediately demonstrates that 'The Atomized Dream' is Canvas Solaris' attempt at broadening their sound a bit. Instead of the intensely technical observations I'm used to hearing on a record like their third, 'Cortical Tectonics', Canvas Solaris opens up this album on a much lighter note, even at times focusing on melody, something that- I can decidedly mention- hasn't been a brighter point of this band's music. In fact, even as the album's title and surreal artwork may suggest, the music here starts off in a fairly spacey direction, with plenty of atmosphere and ambient layering highly reminiscent of Ozric Tentacles. However, there is still the tech metal outlet on this album; after an uncharacteristic opener, 'Reflections Carried To Mirror' brings the listener a slice of Canvas Solaris that is much more familiar, perhaps too familiar. The fact that many of these guitar tones and general artistic approach the band takes with their more technical material here is almost a rehash of what they have already been doing for a few albums.

Now, a band like Canvas Solaris cannot ever be judged as weak musicians; after all, their very essence as a band is that of sheer technicality and logical precision. Still, the music on 'The Atomized Dream' comes off as a little dry, despite the atmospheric additions the guys have installed on their music. Instrumental music can have plenty of emotion in it, and there are moments here (such as a very melodic passage in 'The Binaural Beat') that make me feel something beautiful. All the same, the majority of this music shakes my head around without necessarily plucking the heart strings. There are plenty of erratic time signature changes and dense orchestrations as usual, and Canvas Solaris achieves a challenging record with 'The Atomized Dream' that requires several listens to really 'get', regardless of how familiar the sound may be to existing listeners of the group. While it may be a little cold, Canvas Solaris are sure to give your brain something to think about.

The Atomized Dream - 75%

Kinslayer6, October 26th, 2008

So we're blessed with yet another release from the instrumental progressive metal band Canvas Solaris. With four official releases under their belt, and the latter three being only about a year apart, this is certainly a band that likes to keep busy. Of course, that's nothing fans of good progressive metal would complain about! You'd think that being so prolific in their album releases and composing they'd run out of ideas and start to sound the same after a while. I'm very pleased to say this is not the case with Canvas Solaris, nor this release, The Atomized Dream. Each and every track is more original than the one before it, progressing, improving and taking shape, defining its a unique sound and style before the album comes to a wonderful close.

The album eases our listener into a state of musical bliss with a very soothing, and melodic intro track called ’The Binaural Beat’. Using soft tones and mastering along with simplistic instrumentation , this track assures even the most skeptical of music fans that these are musicians who truly know what they're doing. Repetitive melodies and phrases are usedoften, but are tastefully scattered throughout the tracks in a way that keeps them from feeling worn-out or overused. The guitars, drums, bass and synthesizers create complex melodies yet complement each other in rhythmic structure, creating music that almost allows you to picture the notes dancing around in your head.

While the composition is incredible throughout, one of this album’s prime advantages is the diversity in tone of the songs. Tracks like ’Chromatic Dusk’ and ’The Binaural Beat’ have a softer, more soothing feel, while other tracks such as ’Reflections Carried To Mirror’ have more powerful and sharper tones. This contrast, helps make The Atomized Dream a very diverse release that - along with strong composition and song structures - never becomes boring.

Unfortunately, there's one slight flaw in this album; while each song seems to be quite appropriate in length, it tends to feel as if they could have done much more with their music if they were to make their songs longer . However, two tracks, ’Photovaltaic’ and ’The Unknowable And Defeating Glow’ come in at over 8 minutes and 10 minutes respectively. So fans of long, drawn out, technical and intricate progressive instrumentation are certainly still able to get the trademarks they've grown to love and appreciate from this genre.

This is an incredible album, with catchy songs, memorable leads and great instrumentation. Some may find it hard to get past the fact that there are no vocals, but if you appreciate musicians showcasing their talent in complex melodies, phrases and riffs, this album is well worth checking out. People who like to hear 'heavier' guitar work in their music probably would not enjoy that, but if you're a progressive fan, or open minded to different approaches in metal, I highly recommend picking up this release.

I Don't Care For Instrumental Blimps - 55%

GuntherTheUndying, July 10th, 2008

I think it’s very important for 24-7 metalheads to semi-frequently dabble into other forms of musical genetics, as doing so can actually expand one’s taste in unusual artists, especially throughout the listener’s head-banging birthplace. Indeed, my personal revelations have allowed the bizarre mixture of obscure progressive metal and instrumental flow to show Canvas Solaris’ “The Atomized Dream” amongst other squads, yet time has shown flaws within their fourth album caused by daring trails reaching toward new frontiers. The record’s sole attack is progressive metal given soft influence and a pound of atmosphere, which is fine, but not done very well at sunset. So in explanation of such minor plagues in multiple quantities, I’m left feeling rather ‘meh’ after countless instances of hearing Canvas Solaris’ abstract pattern.

Now performing music that appears like something a barometer would measure isn’t immediately horrid, but these guys kind of take the idea too far. About eight of the ten tracks reveal a keyboard-driven buoy bent on making everything against gravity, as proven by free-floating instruments just emitting an ambience ridden with semi-heavy guitars and technical percussion. Most of these recordings look rather intelligent upon dissection, leaving room for cool shredding and limitless performances; it’s truly unique once realizing how simple it all is at Canvas Solaris’ core. I don’t find it ironic that tunes focusing on complex, heavier musicianship actually lead the charge throughout “The Atomized Dream,” which can be easily proven upon experiencing the likes of “Solar Droid” and progressive anthems demonstrating an attack, rather than a musical blimp. At the day’s end, however, trippy atmosphere penetrates almost all around it, creating a galactic vibe within your listening space; quite a record of an experimental nature, if not a bit overblown.

However, there are several issues summoned when our uncharacteristic gentlemen constantly worship this distinct equation, which can honestly be found during moments both mediocre and enjoyable. Hearing tracks like “Chromatic Dusk” and “The Binaural Beat” prepares you for a ride of simplicity, mostly engaging in meandering structures that can’t go anywhere or do anything; lacking concrete ideas, the illness takes over a dangerous amount of songs. On a problematic scale, these bouncing textures look extremely dour once “The Atomized Dream” has received play upon play, proving Canvas Solaris cannot keep musical strides on a proper road; there’s too much floating around, minus the poetic attributes. Sure it’s imaginative beyond the cosmos, but that doesn’t change these humdrum plights into blissful gifts. Well, maybe if you’re easily amused, anyway.

So in conclusion, Canvas Solaris’ demeanor has a decent amount of pleasure-emitting drones within these cloudy fences, but they just fail at making the whole formula memorable, which simply boils this whole effort into a materialistic item with little impact. I do find “The Atomized Dream” rather interesting on several premises, yet Canvas Solaris can’t take their unique edge anywhere else besides an atmospheric tickle and the occasional zest of progressive instrumentation. Not something I’d suggest unless you really have a sweet-tooth for this kind of stuff; other individuals will find this record completely boring and uninspired. Cast forth thy own judgment appropriately.

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The Atomized Dream - 80%

MTDOOMIVXX, June 22nd, 2008

I started listening to Canvas Solaris three years ago, when a friend of mine recommended the Spatial/Design EP when i was first getting into Instrumental-Prog bands. So I went to the record shop and picked it up. From the very start of that album I was greeted with technical heavy guitar riffs with jazz interludes. I was instantly turned on by their sound, it was unlike anything I ever heard before at the time. Since then I've gone out and bought all of their albums, and they're on the top of the list of bands that I want to see live in the future.

Last year CS made a tremendous line-up change, going from a trio to a quintet. After Ben Simpkins' departure, founding members Nathan Sapp and Hunter Ginn brought in Gael Pirlot on bass, Chris Rushing on guitar, and Donnie Smith on analog synthesizers. This is the new members first album with Canvas Solaris.

The Atomized Dream is very different from anything Canvas Solaris has released. The founding members made a great move recruiting the new members. They can really fucking play! Especially Chris Rushing, I've never heard anything from this guy before he started playing in Canvas Solaris, but he's awesome alongside Nathan Sapp. The twin guitar interplay is amazing! Hunter Ginn never disappoints with some excellent work on the skins.

What makes this album completely different from the others is the use of keyboards. The keyboards are used more on this album than any other album by CS, and it's not a bad thing. They add more depth and put a different twist to the songs. The core sound is still there, the same CS formula that I've grown to love. The production of this album is pretty good. I'd say Penumbra Diffuse was the best CS album production-wise, but this really isn't bad at all.

Highlights: Reflections Carried to Mirror, Patterns Spiral Into Swarm, Heat Distortion Manifest, Solar Droid, The Unknowable and Defeating Glow

I'd recommend this album to anyone who is open-minded and looking for something "different" to listen to. Lovers of old school metal and old school metal only are not going to like this music.

The Atomized Dream - 95%

EmperialWrath, June 22nd, 2008

Canvas Solaris have been putting out albums consistently for a few years now. Being a progressive fan, their brand of “prog” never really made any impact on me like how label mates Spiral Architect or Gordian Knot had managed to. But with Atomic Dreams, the band has successfully managed to keep me inspired and absolutely spellbound for a couple of weeks now. These guys are definitely one of the most promising “new” progressive bands to come out in the last decade or so. Musically, the band has come a long way since their debut 'Sublimation', which was released in 2004. The album starts off with 'The Binaural Beat' - a very psychedelic trance inducing number. It's after this that the album really kicks into full gear with songs like – “Reflections Carried To Mirror””, “Heat Distortion Manifest” and “Solar Droid”.

The sound of the band is kind of hard to describe but anyone who even remotely likes progressive music ought to check this out. There's plenty of dissonant Watchtower-esque sections on top of the very easily noticeable 70's progressive rock and early 80s synthesizer driven progressive sounds. They’ve also managed to use percussive instruments very effectively on this album. Really jelling in with the rest of the band. Especially on bass heavy songs like “Chromatic Dusk” and “Patterns Spiral Into Swarm”. The album art also needs special mention. It reminds me of old Cathedral album covers.