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The Music Guide to Esoteric Oriental Knowledge - 96%

bayern, January 13th, 2018

This band is another vehicle for the guitar player Adrian Eric Weiss who started it after his previous formation Thought Sphere (earlier Ways of Desolation) split up. He had some of his colleagues from said collaboration accompanying him for this next adventure, one of whom was Andreas Lohse, also an ex-vocalist of the excellent progressive thrashers Lost Century.

The debut demo was a really cool slab of technically-minded old school power metal not far from mid-period Fates Warning and Slauter Xstroyes, absorbing multi-textured music that was kind of more convincing than the more orthodox, also mellower progressive metal heritage of Thought Sphere. The second showing provided a more modern edge resulting in a more aggressive delivery which boldly bordered on thrash at times (the intense Darkane-sque shredder “Husk of the Withered Moth”).

The culmination of the guys’ endeavours has been reached on the demo reviewed here, more or less expectedly, as the approach has moved towards quite complex technical/progressive thrash which on the opening “Forlorn” comes as a smattering combination of Deathrow’s “Deception Ignored” and Sieges Even’s “Life Cycle”, the guys stirring an absolutely dazzling riff-“salad” with jumpy jazzy jolts and sudden tempo changes at every corner, the clean/deathy vocal duel not very convincing on the very engaging musical background. “Predictable Patterns of Unique” hints at more mind-boggling Mekong Delta-sque surreality, an unnerving jazzy bouncer with very vociferous bass support and pacifying melodic excursions, a not very easy to absorb extravaganza with elusive saxophone tunes, and weird authoritative recitals added to the mentioned vocal mix.

Such an eye-opener would be hard to surpass, but “Throw Free On Impact” retains the high tension all around with quiet pensive passages and very hectic hard-hitting configurations taking turns wrapped by strong psychedelic undercurrents with echoes of Psychotic Waltz, plus some outstanding melodic lead guitar work. “Code of Secrets” looks at Porcupine Tree and the later-period Sieges Even heritage for a laid-back funky saga without too much thrash involved, at least not overtly, and although this number by all means preserves the outlandish character of this recording, some may not have the patience to live through its constantly bouncy rhythmic patterns. “Silent Graves” largely compensates for that with ultra-stylish mazey riffage reminiscent of “Alice in Hell” (the album) at times, and more virtuoso bassisms that would make even Steve DiGiorgio envious, on top of seriously perplexing riff-knots ala Coroner smacked towards the end.

Amazingly, there’s seldom a section above the mid-pace provided here, the focus on speed is minimal as the guys weave these labyrinthine formulas with very thick riff-density that can’t possibly tolerate too many fast-paced “excursions”. Add the regularly supplied additives from other genres and influences, and the picture already gets nicely complete and acceptably eccentric with never a dull moment on this full of pleasant surprises roller-coaster, and never a display of bad taste regardless of how much quirkiness roams around at times. Yes, this is indeed an audio guide, a very useful and concise one that would introduce all the possible nuances of the progressive metal spectre to the metal novice, with bigger concentration on its more aggressive aspect.

A full-length eventually came out after whole six years, but sadly it had lost quite a bit of the technical grandeur of the effort here, the delivery strictly on the modern side with copious amounts of groove provided, breaking the quasi-progressive/semi-technical stride which the guys had tried to establish as a dominant approach. Not a complete flop, with some death metal springing up as well, this opus could have been a marvellous elaboration of the ways of execution here; instead it leaves the latter sticking out as a monument of creative, exuberantly imaginative genius which simply wasn’t meant to be let loose twice.