Technical death metal, mathcore, jazz fusion, experimental noise...whatever you want to call it, this kind of music is an acquired taste. I have to be in a certain mood to listen to it, and even then, I'm terribly picky. In my opinion, the most palatable bands from this subgenre (quasi-genre?) are instrumental outfits. What's the point of creating abstruse, sophisticated walls of stridency if you're just going to scream over them? That's why I'm partial to Blotted Science and Animals As Leaders. They don't need vocals to get their point across. Of course, this wouldn't be an issue if bands such as Psyopus, Origin and Gigan had distinct vocalists.
If you're not familiar with Gigan, they're a tech-metal trio hailing from Florida. Did you think I was referring to kaiju? I wish I was. Quasi-Hallucinogenic Sonic Landscapes is their second album, and it falls under the same traps that most algorithmic metal bands succumb to. I don't mean to harp on frontman John Collett, but the metal community is disenchanted with standard growling these days. I know I am. Anyone could have recorded the vocal tracks on this album. There is nothing unique about Collett's voice, and it hampers an otherwise respectable batch of songs. The music itself is regnant with off-kilter time signatures, dissonant melodies and ambient sound effects.
Again, if I'm in the right frame of mind, Landscapes strikes me as a kinetic barrage of extremes. It certainly works as background music. However, if I sit down and concentrate on numbers like "The Raven and the Crow" and "Fathomless Echoes of Eternity's Imagination," I get restless. There isn't much weight behind the dizzying arrangements and the orotund songtitles. I kept waiting for a catchy hook to pull me into the meat of the album. I waited and waited...until finally, I came to the conclusion that this was not five-Abbath material (or four-Abbath material, for that matter). It's not bad; it's ungood.
No one can deny the immense talent of drummer Keseva Doane and bassist/guitarist Eric Hersemann. I thought that their limbs were going to fly through my speakers during "Mountains Perched Like Beasts Awaiting the Attack." Chops do not translate into songwriting skills, though. While Quasi-Hallucinogenic Sonic Landscapes left me frigid, I dig it enough to recommend it to fans of Psyopus and Blotted Science. Perhaps you'll enjoy it more than I did. If it rocks your world, sample 2008's The Order of the False Eye. It's a less polished affair. Actually, I might sample it right now.
Posted by Dom Coccaro at 10:03 PM