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The (Un)Familiar Terror from Out Of Space - 93%

bayern, September 14th, 2018

These lads were already pretty spaced out on their first project, the experimental progressivers Java (earlier known as the Java Mummies) who left three demos of highly abstract, not very easy to swallow stuff in the early-00’s; music that was hard to categorize albeit definitely mind-stimulating and time-consuming.

A few years later they are seen having left Java island, set on a journey towards other dimensions, obviously looking for a suitable one to accommodate their unorthodox, plain audacious at times, musical ideas. At least on the album reviewed here the delivery can be put in some loose frames which are built of a thrash, death, and progressive metal conglomerate as both the old and the modern school contribute to the formation of this mind-opener at various stages, the supervision ensured by a versatile, quite unpredictable as well, “clean attached/gruff deathy” vocal duel both sides jumping over each other in a charmingly dishevelled at times fashion.

Loads of epic melodies ("Ikari Apparition") will welcome the curious listener, but before too much joy has settled in arrives the sinister doomy "Ghoulskin", the environment inordinately complicated by "Quatto Influenza"”, a brilliant amorphous progressiver ala Spiral Architect with quirky walkabouts and twisted riffs luring the fan into the challenging maze the latter made even more inescapable by the sterile dispassionate shredder "Who Is Behind Conrad Baines" on which the shadow of Swedish dystopian “scientists” like Meshuggah and Terminal Function is quite tangible. No chances for the overwhelmed fan to guess in what direction the album would swing on each subsequent cut, but some may get lucky if they have bet on the spacey, hallucinogenic thrash/death-peppered progressivisms of Extol and Alarum cause this is exactly what "Withstanding the Gooch" provides, shape-shifting hectic thrash (not so much death in this case) with a nice balladic etude thrown in, this short moment of serenity the calm before the storm, the storm served in the form of "The Missing Chums", these “chums” having been found finally, a contrasting, but highly entertaining “batch” for sure covering everything from power metal to mathcore in the span of 4-min, this wide, larger-than-life amalgam also presented later, in a marginally less exuberant manner, on "Orangia Sunrise", more of “the ultimate extreme progressive metal sunrise” if you ask me, the guys producing a unique combination of addictive melodic hooks and jumpy nervy riff-patterns.

A lot has been served within a relatively short span of time, the band creating a spell-binding extreme progressive metal opera tending for a wide gamut of fans as the progressive thrash/death side of it would be left the happiest. Mentioning melody several times, this isn’t some mellow crowd-pleasing stuff, whenever the melody takes over I mean, as there are plenty of overtly aggressive passages for the headbangers to delve into, not to mention the infernal intricacy reached on quite a few riff-knots. The guys don’t follow a certain model except their own “crooked” minds, but regardless of the big variety of vistas the album flow never loses coherence as the listener will be totally absorbed in the very eventful goings-on till the very end, not being quite sure where these a bit over 40-min have gone at the end…

References to acts like Biomechanical, the Canadians Highest Place and The Great Collapse, the Brits Spires, the Devin Townsend projects and even early Unexpect can invariably be made, but this effort is more ingeniously woven than all those acts’ products, the band’s wild imagination never overstaying its welcome, never running extremely rampant with an underlying binding motif always present to stitch a particular composition into one whole. Certainly, no one can tell for sure whether “loose” discipline would be the order of the day again on future instalments, but the terror from out of space definitely looks much less threatening with these sounds readily accompanying the potential “mayhem”.