Friday, March 7, 2014

Cyrax - Reflections (2013)


Listening to any number of bands, you can usually pick out one or ten of the influences that brought them to this point in their career. Whether it be bands who gave them ideas, or entire genres that made them fine tune their sound, everyone has the laundry list of those who came before that they tip their hats to. The greatest success, though, is being able to take those influences, and turn them into something wholly unique, something you can call your own. Otherwise you become a glorified cover band. Cyrax, a new five piece act from Italy, have given themselves quite the conundrum. Their influences are many and diverse, a huge sampling or artists both heavy and avant, new and old. But as they try to find their own way in this world we call metal, their feet seem to be finding paths of those who walked before, rather than trampling new ground. And, for better or worse, their debut album, "Reflections" is exactly what the name would seem to indicate. But that name is the first, and possibly last thing on this album that truly makes sense.

If you've come looking for something conventional, you may have stumbled into the wrong neighborhood. Techno beats begin Doom Against True Hell, enough to make you question whether you've selected the wrong album from your playlist. They don't leave, but merely fade into the background during the bulk of the song. However, their presence is off-putting much of the time, especially in an album that boasts a very classic metal sound. The precedent that would seem to set is a disturbing one, one that makes each tracks beginning to be an anxious moment. My Kingdom For A Horse a strange track when taken on its own, but even stranger when compared to what the album looks like as a whole. Even the song's vocal hook is hard to digest, repeatedly pounding the title into your frontal lobe. The rest of the track is a sing-songy journey, only salvaged by a great sense of melody in the guitar leads. With even progressive more complex riff, The Moore Of Venice is the most serviceable chunk on the album, leaning more towards classic prog rhythms and away from dance club thumping beats. But even here, the interlude detracts from much of the momentum that had been built. There is little to no sense of flow or structure, which wouldn't be an issue of things didn't feel as disjointed as they do. The midway point and surrounding pieces could pass for a b-side from UK avant metallers Hell, if not for the subsequent breaks.

A symphonic opening comes as a huge surprise, especially given the title of the song it precedes is Fight, but with this album, it may be best to throw any ideas of the norm aside. stuck between an orchestral beginning and some beautifully sung male and female operatic vocals is a straight forward heavy metal middle, complete with virtuosic guitar performance. But, as before, the rhyme or reason in getting from start to finish is lost somewhere. The second half of the album struggles to stay afloat, with few bright spots left to carry the immense weight. Thunderlight has all of the emotional feel of true power metal, but falls short in so many ways. Like an M. Night Shyamalan movie, there are enough twists to make each one progressively less effective. broken into 45 second chunks, you can find a lot to enjoy, but combined into one track, it is a mess. And when you've stumbled through five tracks, the sixth one, a skewed ballad, is not the sort of relief you need. The album isn't a trainwreck, despite many of the faults we've covered thus far, but Feel The Essence Of Blues is far from the ideal album closer. Horns, walking bass lines and a full chorus of voices sounds like a match made in heaven, but misses the mark.

It's completely OK to not get it. There are tons of alb ums that are released every year that many of us might listen to, shrug ur shoulders and simply admit that we don't see the appeal. Cyrax is a band with a million influences, and they try to exercise all of them all of the time. Unfortunately, that just isn't a formula for success. The album feels hectic and disjointed, with many of the songs sounding like a handful of clips taped together. The flow that is so essential in modern music just isn't there, and it means the listener doesn't have any central theme or sound to hang on to. As a result, "Reflections" fails in the most fundamental way; it doesn't give people a reason to keep listening, start to finish, or come back for more. By no means am I speaking in absolutes or facts. Different strokes, after all. But if this musical collective wants to appeal to the masses, they are going to have to narrow the scope of their music, and go for quality of output rather than quantity of styles.

5/10

Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/cyraxmetal
Read more ...

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Infinite Earths - Spiral From Spacetime (EP) (2014)


As someone who has been completely awash in the sea of all things metal for years now, I can speak from personal experience when I say that they, the outsiders, think we are collectively stupid; that we are somehow mentally deficient because we like heavy music. Maybe you've heard that mumbled in your direction as well. Afterall, metal is just Satanic worship and unintelligible growls, right? While we know that to be far from the truth, sometimes it takes a good example to sway somehow off of their near sighted viewpoint. Infinite Earths, once the side project of Fire In The Cave guitarist Kenneth Michael Reda, has now taken on a life of its own. And tangled in their web of experimental blackened metal are many of life's biggest questions, nagging at our minds for years at a time. To say they are just another band trying to be different is a disservice to both the band and their music. But perhaps one listen to their debut EP, "Spiral From Spacetime," and anyone who has questioned the intellect of metal fans and bands might feel differently.

There are moments of chaos that you'll find scattered over the course of Compliance & Complacency, though none of them veer too far off the beaten path. The greatest victories come in and around those moments, when brutal riffing gives way to eerie atmospheres and silken bass lines. Around the three minute mark, the strict dichotomy of styles clashes, a bursting set of guitars, drums, bass and vocals simply cutting out in favor of something nearly serene.When they return, they have changed; darting notes come back crisper and far more deadly. It's bizarre and almost nonsensical in its operation, but the end result is fascinating. The second track, Prelude, is nothing short of sublime, a dazzling movement of piano keys that moves as quickly as fingers up and down the fret board. The way it fades, rises, and launches the demonic bastard child known as The Godhelm into action is about the starkest contrast you'll ever be witness to. If there is something to be sure to note here, it is the complexity of the lyrics; they read like philosophical conversation and are far deeper in meaning than the grating screams of frontman J.J. Mazorra would let on. His clean vocals, however, manage to carry much of the weight of the topic at hand. The rarity this embodies - the combination of thought provoking material and brutally heavy instrumental - is mind altering.

Not to be lost, though, is how easily accessible this sound is. Intricacies in the guitars are easy to latch on to, but the fundamentals here are all right. Progressive influences can be heard throughout the record, but the opening riffs to When The World Was Infringed Upon scream forward thinking. Rapid fire notes walk the neck of the guitar while huge snare sounds crash from every angle. Mazorra walks the fine line between his vocal styles, each instance coming dangerously close to toppling the entire track on its head. But when it feels as though things are about to break apart, the entire band shifts gears and regains balance. In the final minute, you have a perfect example of a band who know their strengths and use them accordingly. A catchy hook in the guitar lead, a powerful vocal, and devastating rhythm section. If you do yourself the favor of reading the lyrics as they pour through your speakers, something else might strike you. The storytelling here, tied to those aforementioned existential lyrical quandaries, forms quite the tale of self discovery and growing universal awareness. This is surely no mistake, as every piece of music on this album ties together in what would seem to be an endless ball of yarn. And whether you see the title track, Spiral From Spacetime, as he beginning, end, or some point in between, it's hard to shake the feeling you get from screams fading over clean guitars.

Far be it from me to try to wrap up this album in a neat little bow; I don't think my grasp on the language has prepared me to lay down a string of metaphors or labels that will help you understand what it is Infinite Earths are doing here. To be quite frank, there are times in the course of this disc that I find myself wondering if I even understand it. But regardless of the ability to wrap one's head around the lyrical content and the life changing questions they may ask, there is an immediate sense of immersion in this music. It jumps all over the map from one moment to the next, yet it somehow feels right. It breeds chaos in one section, and perfect, seamless order in the next. How that comes together is anybody's guess. New mathematics might be needed. As you find that point in time and space where melody and merciless energy come together, you best jump on, tie it up, and keep it with you at all times, because you may never stumble on it again. Infinite Earths seem to have done exactly that, and captured that moment on "Spiral From Spacetime."

9.5/10

Bandcamp - http://infiniteearths.bandcamp.com/
Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/InfiniteEarths
Read more ...

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Druglord - Enter Venus (EP) (2014)






We've all been implored at some point in our lives to stop and smell the roses. And while sticking your snout into a bundle of thorny flowers might not seem like something you are anxious to do, it is the sentiment behind the saying that is most important. Every now and then, you need to slow things down and take a minute to appreciate the other side of things. No, this isn't the beginning of a long winded yarn about loving life. Instead, it is a cry to all of us who spend too much time on the fast and the furious styles, and miss out on the other side of our beloved metal genre. Druglord, a three piece band from Richmond, Virginia, already won us over with their debut release in 2012. But what "Motherfucker Rising" best was remind us that simplicity in music can be refreshing, and that down tempo songs can be just as mesmerizing. With their sophomore album, a four track balloon ride titled "Enter Venus," they give you every reason, and every opportunity to slow down, and smell the fucking roses.

It's low and fuzzy, early and often on Grievous Heaving, which should come as no surprise to anyone who has been witness to this band in the past. But don't mistake that choice of words to mean mindless or inept. What you hear below the peeled back layers of distortion and rattling speaker cages is a down tempo groove and howl that brings to mind the early days of doom metal, before the posturing and preening rendered many artists incapable of basic structuring. Bass heavy, but not drowned in it, as is evident in the masterful solo in the latter stages of the track. Segments like the opening to Feast On The Eye are good uses of extended track times, the slow cascading of guitars and bass pouring from your speakers like molasses or maple sap from the north eastern United States. No rush to get from point A to point B; yet somehow, they never overstay their welcome on any individual track. Perhaps it comes down to the way the tracks are built. Here, you have a main guitar groove to build off of, but the airy, spacey vocals provide a respite from the lower register assault. It is a combination that may, on paper, not seem dynamic; but in reality, it hits just right.

But there is bound to be a track that stands out above the rest. However subjective it may be, the title track, Enter Venus, is as good as Druglord as ever sounded. The depth of sound they've found here is incredible, but it is the manner in which they deliver this piece that resonates long afterwards. Hazy distortion rings through, punctuated with minimal drum interjections. But unlike the other tracks on the album, this one features a show of restraint that elevates everything that much further. Sandwiched between smoky verse passages lies a quiet, cleanly played interlude that does wonders. That small bit of contrast goes a long way, highlighting another deftly played solo before the final countdown. If there is anything to note about Let Us Bleed, other than it's obvious placement as the closer to any set list, it is the noticeable strain that comes from the vocal track, something that might actually be a major plus. But while you are busy taking in all of the subtle nuances the song has to offer, the clock seems to be ticking rapidly away. Try as you might to slow down time to enjoy it longer, the end draws near far sooner than you would expect, hastened by great instrumental work on all fronts.

Some bands can pull off fuzzy and clouded. Others can't. Druglord falls squarely into the former, making it a trademark of sorts on their first two releases. While others bands, some who inhabit the same genre, strive for pitch correction, tuned perfection, and a myriad of digital "fixes" along the way, this three piece is giving you something different. Guitar, bass, drums and vocals, pieced together with bits of string and wire, yet holding stronger than any overtouched, big budget mix could ever hope to. They get their sound, their way, and hand it to you on a silver platter; or a green and milky white one, if you are vinyl inclined. In a way, this album is a throwback to a simpler time, when it was about the writing and the music, instead of the overdubs, drum loops, and studio wizardry. But I digress; "Enter Venus" is a mindtrip through and through, sometimes bending you just like a set of guitar strings under heavy fingers. If you have the ability to, for once, sit back and take it slow, this is an album that might strike a familiar chord.

9/10

Bandcamp - http://druglord.bandcamp.com/
Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/pages/Druglord/168553533162240
Read more ...

Monday, March 3, 2014

Vesperia - An Olden Tale (2013)


A mere twenty four hours ago, you may have read, right here on this very site, that some bands can thrive in poor production, while others can't. Druglord was the former, and Vesperia, while not entirely the latter, needed some improvements to make their mark. Their 2012 demo, titled "The Swordsman," was hugely successful in a number of ways, but lacked the clarity needed to make all of their wild instrumentation work. Fast forward  a year, to 2013, and that time sees a major change for Morgan Rider and his band of merry bearded men. As they put together their new full length, there is a noticeable edge to be heard, a rising clarity in sound and texture that could prove to be the next evolutionary step for Viking metal as we know it. The attached "epic" tag may seem like a buzz word gone mainstream, but one listen to what this Canadian quartet are churning out, and there can be no doubts as to how it applies. "An Olden Tale" is full of ferocity and triumph, sound and fury. And it all comes through like crystal.

Unlike many of the other Viking inspired bands of the modern day, Vesperia take their sound to exciting places. The symphonic and orchestral intro track, 1000 Years Ago, is assembled so precisely that it flows beautifully from your speakers. It sets into motion something special, and not coincidentally, sets a tone that is mirrored throughout the album. The early moments of With Omens Of Sorrow echo those rich sounds, before an unearthly explosion of drums cuts through the mix. But rather than abandon subtlety in favor of aggressiveness, they combine the two in a flawless way. Sure, guitarists Casey Elliott and Frankie Caracci are ripping and shredding through every barrier you may have put up, but it isn't one dimensional at any point. They play off of one another, all the while surrounded by a variety of synthesized instruments. When they back off to give their hands a rest, you are treated to a majestic trip through clean strumming and keys. The ability to jump back and forth between the two is uncanny, and done with great attention to detail. It's no real surprise that a strong vocal leads the way, with Morgan Rider blasting through the wall of distortion with grunts and growls, but also a low timbre.

His presence is never felt more strongly than on The Swordsman, where the balance between voice and instrumental is perfected. It may be the most dynamic four minute and change you'll hear this year, and definitely the quickest. There is little to no time to catch your breath, though, as Forsaken Shores sees the band at their heavy best, smashing their way through another three minute onslaught with not a note or drum beat out of place. We've often given credit to bands who play at this pace without sacrificing accuracy, and Vesperia certainly knows how to manage both. Their music is made that much more ensnaring by their commitment to tone and timing, both in instrumental and through Rider's vocals. And while Huntress may begin sounding like a Weird Al Humppa mashup, it quickly evolves into a melodic death masterpiece. It's hear that drummer Cory Hofing flexes his percussion muscle, shifting tempos and time signatures with blazing speed and perfect placement. Titles are really just words, of course, but if there has ever been a more righteous song title than To Times End We Ride, I haven't found it yet. When the music echoes that righteous power, it is a special moment to behold. And with a series of blasting kick drums and chanting vocals, Vesperia make that happen with ease. The guitar melodies here are unreal, mainly in their ability to be catchy and massively heavy at the same time.

With the pacing of the album so finely tuned, Bring Me Triumph, is almost surgical in its precision delivery. Rider's vocals are devastating here, running the entire range of metal vocal styles, all the while forming the glue that holds this battle together. Caracci and Elliott are at their best, as well, putting on a melodic clinic from start to finish. But it is the flutes that seal this deal, fluttering underneath a sea of guitar riffs and bass strings. But to be considered epic, some misguided souls argue your track times come into play. For those people, however foolish it may be, the title track dispels any doubts. An Olden Tale is seventeen of the most brilliantly conceived minutes the Viking metal genre has heard in some time. It is a microcosm of the entire album in one neat, albeit long, package. You get waves of pure thrash, followed closely by beautiful melodic passages and stunning instrumentals. But when it is all said and done, right around the ten minute mark, the outro is something else entirely. The wind blows, and with it it brings the sound of distant pipes. A heroic and fitting end to this journey.

In their previous demo, Vesperia gave us a lot to digest and a lot to think about. And we came back to it, time and time again, wishing only that the production screws could be tightened up to support the intense variety of sounds emanating from the speakers, into the air around us. But where "The Swordsman" faltered, "An Olden Tale" thrives, giving you everything you have come to expect from one of the most diverse and interesting Canadian metal bands with a focus on production and mixing that makes it sound all the more powerful. This is the vision of the band come to life, an epic and remarkable journey through depth and tone, one that never settles for less than the best possible outcome. It would be easy to overlook how important that is, but don't allow yourself to look past it. Rider, Caracci, Elliott and Hofing are playing at a level that deserves notice. And while tags like epic and Viking might not mean as much as they used to before the copycat explosion, they ring true here. This album will be a favorite now, and quite possibly a legend in years to come.

9.5/10

Official Site - http://vesperiametal.com/
Bandcamp - http://vesperia.bandcamp.com/
Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/VesperiaMetal
Read more ...

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Mammoth Storm - Rite Of Ascension (EP) (2014)


What can you do when your main band, the project to which you are attached, have a record deal with, tour with, and lead a legion of fans with, is put on hold? It would be a crime for the members of Draconian to sit around, playing Facebook games and reading up on their British literature while new vocalist Heike Langhans arranges her affairs, and relocates to Sweden from her home in South Africa. It has been a long and arduous process, one that has taken far longer than any band could anticipate. But in the meantime, there are other things to do, including a handful of side projects that have arisen. Guitarist Daniel Arvidsson has taken the giant leap away from the Draconian sound on his project, the aptly titled Mammoth Storm, a sludgy stoner metal band which features Arvidsson himself on bass and vocalist. With one demo released, and nothing but time to kill, the three piece from Sweden has prepped and released their newest disc, the two track EP titled "Rite Of Ascension," a murky, distorted collection of riffs, screams, and beats unlike anything his bandmates would have expected.

For fans of Draconian, it is important to note at the onset that this isn't that band; in fact, it isn't even in the same ballpark. The heavy, droning riffs of the title track are down tempo and groove laden, bolstered by a booming drum kit that, while restrained, is not short on powerful blasts. Arvidsson's voice fits the bill to a T, imperfect in tone, but perfect in his handling of the backing instrumental. The slow stomp of guitar, bass, and drum can wear you down, but when the insertion of a melodic riff comes along, it adds a different dimension to the track. But don't be misled; this is an oily, black tar coated piece of work that is rooted more in it's weight than its versatility. The second half of the EP, the nearly thirteen minute Obscure Horizon has a haunting, horror soundtrack vibe to the early movements, transporting you to a dungeon from which you are unlikely to escape. The rattling distortion is enough to loosen the snow on your roof and free the icicles from their perch. But in between dense chugging and reverberating passages, there is a vast void where little else is happening. Vocals, small tempo shifts, and barely detectable tone changes are left to pad out a full seven minutes here.

Branching out of your comfort zone is always encouraged; some of the best bands you will find today began as side projects. Arvidsson has certainly done that here, leaving the sound and strength of Draconian for another day, while harnessing something else entirely for this project. Mammoth Storm isn't the opposite end of the spectrum (What would that be, exactly? Yanni?) but it is a great departure from the driving riffs and dual vocals of one of the most popular death/doom titans on the planet. But for a stoner doom record, "Rite Of Ascension" succeeds in a number of ways. It manages to make the most of a small sample size, giving you a pretty good idea of what a full length album would amount to. If there is anything to be shaky on here it remains the intimidatingly long track lengths, as the entire duration is spent playing off of one main riff and drum beat. This may not be a detriment to the enjoyment of this album or any other, but it something that must be considered when dealing with the evolution and growth of this band. Two tracks, topping nearly twenty five can't be the pattern to follow from here.

7.5/10

Bandcamp - http://mammothstorm.bandcamp.com/
Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/MammothStorm
Read more ...

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Junius - Days Of The Fallen Sun (EP) (2014)


Bands come and go. Then they come again, and leave again. It is, sometimes, a neverending cycle of recognition and fading into obscurity. When Junius released "Reports from the Threshold of Death" in 2011, they were suddenly thrust into the consciousness of a large group of people for whom this was a new experience. A tour with Alcest followed, exposing crowds to an emotionally strong set, night after night. And then, just as quickly, they drifted off the radar for many fans and listeners; not all, but many. Three years later, the gentle beast has awoken, throwing open the doors to the studio and sharing with the world an EP that, while short on time, is not short on quality, care, and dedication. Because where Junius separates themselves from even some of the most well known and well respected bands is in their creative flow. There is no room for filler anywhere on their releases, going as far back as their debut album. And with "Days Of The Fallen Sun," they give your four pieces of heavy music, four carefully arranged shorts, and one looming piece of rock mastery.

Call them what you will; whether tracks like (meditations) are intros, interludes, set up tracks, or whatever, they can't be mindless, and they can't be throwaways. This one is short and minimal in impact initially, but it's when The Time of Perfect Virtue starts that it all makes sense. Unlike that latest album we spoke of so highly, there is a true clarity in production here. By no means are the hazy aspects gone, but they are under control, with the distinct cry of vocalist Joseph E. Martinez connecting all of the dots. It's soothing, yet at the same time stirring. By the four minute mark, this is a band at their peak, drums booming, riffs rocking through and all in a perfect sync. With (shamantic rituals) bridging the gap between worlds, it is once again an addition rather than an interlude at odds with what they're doing. The proof is in the proverbial pudding, as the flow from track to track is without issue. Even A Day Dark With Night, a poetic opus that marches well beyond the seven minute mark, is given ample time to bleed beyond its borders. Whether you identify Junius' strength as being the soft, brooding moments or the heavy handed jams, you will find something to hang your hat on here. There is a give and take between Martinez's vocals, and his addition of synthesizers to the mix, both of which seem to mirror one another in their arching, bending delivery.

It would be easy to characterize (the purge) as a calm before the storm sort of moment, but that would be far too dismissive. Because while Battle In The Sky is the shortest full track on the album, it delivers on many levels. It rolls through your speakers with an ease and grace usually not attached to a track that also boasts a gritty vocal line. It can be two things at once; it can be both the heaviest track on the EP and the most sonically deep. Drummer Dana Filloon is used to filling smaller venues with his chorus of snares and kicks, but on this record, he could just as easily flood a stadium, catching us all up in the tide. His percussive assertions do more than keep time or accent the leads; they are a lead in and of themselves. When the final bridge track comes and goes, as (nothingness) does so quickly, it isn't hard to look back and appreciate their contribution to the disc at large. But by the time you've come to that conclusion, Forgiving The Cleansing Meteor has already infected your brain. Aside from boasting a vocal hook that is easily repeated, and chanted for that matter, it sees Junius at their unpolished best. While bassist Joel Munguia plucks his way to glory, guitarist Michael Repasch-Nieves creates a stunning atmospheric quality that lifts the entire track to a different plane.

Not every band can make things work the way Junius has over their career. Anyone who has had the pleasure of seeing them perform live, warming a cold venue in the inter, will attest to the amount of raw energy and emotion that pours from the stage. But to capture that and put it in the hands of the listener, album after album, is something indescribably unique, and infinitely more rare. After each addition to their catalog, it became harder to believe they could keep this alive. They would have to burn out, dim, or just hit a wall. But if this EP is any indication, the opposite must be true. They are burning brighter than ever, all four members giving a performance that is worthy of more than your money. They flirt with perfection at every turn, and though it may be wholly unattainable, they are far closer than most bands will ever tread. It's the music, yes. But it is also the thought process from which the music, the lyrics, and layout arise that makes "Days Of The Fallen Sun" special. And when the album makes its rounds, from fan to fan, and new listener to new listener, we might all agree on that.

9.5/10

Official Site - http://juniusmusic.com/
Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/juniusmusic
Read more ...

Monday, February 17, 2014

Maelstrom - 3725 (2013)


With each release, Italy's Maelstrom have carved out a larger place in our consciousness. Ferdinando Valsecchi, much like his peers in the other one man bands that we have covered, isn't just another artist in a studio, playing music to get noticed, get rich, or grace the cover of a magazine. He believes in what he plays, and he believes in the work he has put out. If anything, he is harder n himself that his critics, who are few and far between. But still, he pushes on, working harder, smarter, and longer to continue writing and recording his unique take on melodic post rock and post metal. We all know that, in 2014, being an independent musician, or even a major label backed one, isn't as lucrative as it once was, leaving many to do their musical work as a side job to the one that pays the bills. And just the same Valsecchi has managed to find the time and funds necessary to release his third disc, titled "3725." With a lyrical hand from Matteo Simonelli, he gives your heart license to float away like the balloon that graces the cover, all the while keeping you from going too high, too fast.

While it remains hard to judge anything on the strength of a cover track, Valsecchi takes to "Space Oddity" like a duck to water, executing all of the signature moments that Bowie had written in a delicate and appropriate manner, even tackling the vocals better than most, besides the great William Shatner. His strength, though, lies in his musicianship, something he shows early and often on Hymn to Life, Ode to Death, a winding display of clean guitar riffs, crisp programming on drums, and a set of strings that floats above the rest. His ability to not only carve out layers, but to subsequently reassemble them is dumbfounding. The vocals, isolated to the heavier moments on the track, come spoken over waves of guitars. This doesn't lessen their impact, though, if anything making them resonate much further. You can apply that same principle to Paradise Lost, though there is a clear star to be found there. The string and piano work is well beyond expectation, a beautiful addition to an already mood setting offering. With each reset of the timer, each track can go in any multitude of directions, relying entirely on Valsecchi to steer the course.

The Choice may begin as a light hearted piece, but the reliance on distortion int he leads adds a stark contrast between parts of the whole. You aren't going to find a blistering solo or dense chugging action, but there is a power to his playing that shines through in every chord. The lyrics, written by Simonelli, can move you without a word of Italian in your repertoire. Even a simple, and often ineffective Google translation gives you a taste into the mind of both men, As High As The Kite Can Fly speaking of the fears that cloud our lives, even when all is brightest. Even the seemingly easy to read Memory's Drops goes deeper than the surface would indicate, including some of the most delicate and detailed instrumental work on the album around the midway point. It is tracks like this that Valescchi can let things grow around him, rather than being held to a rigid structure or plan. It is also a tale of two vocal deliveries, with his spoken word and clean singing combining to handle the bulk of the load here. While the former is more successful as a whole, there is a merit tot he clean melodies that he delivers. And while Long Lasting Friends fades, you are left hanging on one sentence amidst a sea of drums, guitars, synths, and horns; "Laughing has never been easier."

It has been a rare pleasure to be allowed in on the ground floor of a career, and see an artist grow with each and every release. Maelstrom is a project that, in name, has begun to represent so much of the dedication and struggle that goes into making a one man band truly work. With each piece at his fingertips, "3725" is yet another piece of him on display. In the way the tracks rise and fall, Valsecchi reminds us of what we often forget; music is an art form, and this is all an expression of the artist. We can criticize, lambast, or spill a series of words to describe our opinion of what any artist does, but the relationship they have with the music is what will matter decades down the line. And whether you take the music, the lyrics that he has been given, the artwork, or even the most basic breakdown of the processes that go into making a release of this caliber work, you can see that this is a man who is one with his music and his message. And when the musicians you listen to care as much about their art as their fans do, you have something you won't soon forget.


9/10

Bandcamp - http://maelstrompost.bandcamp.com/
Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/Maelstrompost
Read more ...