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Most intense piece of work evaaarrhh - 100%

Jochem, October 2nd, 2006

When I first read upon Kayo Dot I knew I was going to hear some odds things, some new things and some more odd things. But after I got my hands on this disc my expectations were blown away and scattered into ashes. This wasn’t odd at all, this was goddamn bizarre. Kayo Dot managed to merge some styles in music which were rarely if never merged before. Prog / Death Metal / Grindcore / Post-Rock / Free Jazz / Classical Music are all merged into one, thus explaining the avant-garde tags this band often gets.

Kayo Dot is a 7-piece band that consists of 3 guitarists, a drummer, a bassist, a violin player and a trumpeter and most of these people play some other instruments on the albums as well! Toby Driver is the main man behind the band. So far as I know he is the main song-writer, one of the guitarists and the main vocalist. His vocals are very impressive, as they go from Jeff Buckley-esque notes to extreme napalm death-like grindcore screaming. The rest of the band is very impressive as well, everyone knows how to play their instruments and they are virtuosi by any means. They never really show it of though which is a plus point as well because the end product isn’t some musical wankfest about overlong guitar solos and drum solos but a whole, where everyone is equal and all things fall in place. Another thing that I would like to tell about the band is that they are actually the same band as Maudlin of the Well. There are lot’s of the same members but they changed their name and some members thus creating Kayo Dot. You can of course definitely hear the resemblance between the 2 bands but with Choirs of the eye the band went into a completely different direction. And although the 2 final Maudlin albums are some of the best albums I have ever heard and are both in my top 10 albums of all time this new direction is even better than the old.

The album contains 5 songs and spans for almost 60 minutes. There are 2 extreme songs with hardly any understandable structure at all, 2 songs that are a little shorter and mellower and 1 completing masterpiece which sums up this entire album in one song. The music is very free and is never bound to any conventions. Although they never use the same riffs and almost never repeat a part they manage to completely combine everything into 1 piece of music with quite some spectacular build-ups throughout the songs.

I’ll take the album’s masterpiece “The Manifold Curiosity” as an example. The song starts of with some great melodies. There are a lot of different instruments playing at the same time and they make some of the most beautiful sounds ever, seriously ever! The melodies are completely interwoven and compliment each other perfectly. 1,5 minutes into the song comes this acoustic guitar riff which sounds a lot like something Maudlin would do. A sound comes that looks like Toby just grabbed a piece of paper and reads you the title. Then the vocals enter the song; they are much distorted and they are many effects on them so you can barely hear what he’s saying. Almost 5 minutes into the song it burst into a wave of never-ending melodies and a solo that sounds like a flute. It’s probably the most beautiful thing on the entire disc. The melodies are somewhat similar to the opening ones yet fuller and better. A good 7 minutes into the song the vocals come in again yet now it’s a spoken word section. The effects on the vocals are again so powerful that he is hardly understandable. After a couple of minutes the melodies return and this time even more interwoven as before. 10:30 into the song the metal riff enters and the soloing starts. They weird thing is that it can’t even be called a solo since every instrument is soloing at the same time. It’s more like a septet all doing stuff at once that doesn’t really make sense but makes sense all at once. This controlled chaos eventually turns into some extreme grind where Toby screams his lungs off going at immense speed. A weird bass line takes the entire chaos by force and the death metal riff comes in ending the song all of a sudden at 14:30.

Weird stuff like that constantly happens on this album, and they are never predictable as each section sounds very different. Every song has is own feel and you can listen to it over and over again. A few days ago and after listening to it way over 50 times I declared this masterpiece as my number 1 album of all time beating Tool’s opus Lateralus. Highly recommended for very open-minded people.

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