Taking a Stab at the Scene; A Cult Indie Review
The Schilllinger Escape Plan
World 8 -4
Your Body is Responding Incredibly Well (to the pregnancy)
The Palace of the Beast
This is the first in what I hope to be a series of indie release reviews, showcasing reletively unheard of talent / bands not currently supported by a larger label.
I started conversing with these fellows online and the phrases used to describe their musical style immediately caught my attention. Curious I asked if I could write a review in hopes to garner them some support and a wider audience. They agreed and sent the relevant information. Eager and not knowing what to expect I first opened the file after a prolonged bout of the holiday flu (no fun). (My apologies guys I had hopes to finish this a lot sooner.)
The cover depicts an embossed futuristic helmet amidsts a blue marble background. The grid work style on the helmet itself, brings to mind the movie ‘Tron’ or even ‘Rollerball’. My mind reels as to any types and styles of rock music that may be similar to these releases, I’m hoping a listen of this release may, or may not surprise me, as to the answer.
The title of the first track immediately caught my eye. Not being a fan of the band the track may, or may not, allude to I grow curious as to the opening track’s style. Is it a homage? A cover of one of the band’s more famous tracks? Or just a clever play on words?
A pivotal point in any album, the opening track has a job, that to lead you gently or perilously (it would all depend on the genre I’m guessing) into the rest of the release. Introducing one to the particular style the band has to offer, also to grab your attention and hold it until the very last note on the release has been played. A make or break moment for most. Personally I can usually tell within the first song whether I will enjoy the album, or the band’s style.
Pressing play now.
The first track careens from out of the ethos. Gentle drums build into a mid tempo guitar driven melody. I’m impressed with the production from the start every instrument is definable, one never crowding another out. The style reminds me a little of Hawkwind (A British Avande Garde/Experimental Metal group with pre-Motorhead Lemmy!)
A track close to eight minutes sans vocals. An opening track without lyric or vocals…yes! I’ll admit I always eagerly anticipate a vocalist, yet another factor that can make or break an appreciation of a band in my opinion. But I’ll go out on a limb and say I quite enjoyed the style. Guitar based enough to be called ‘Hard Rock’ perhaps even, at a stretch, ‘Progressive Metal’. Some interesting riffs and tempo changes utilizing both guitars and drums that kept my attention, I recognized a Metallica riff though nothing so blatant as to take any enjoyment away.
A nice start.
Track two starts slow and appears to be a tad drum heavier than the first. Seems a little psychedelia has managed to slip in on this track, again no singing or vocals, but still no quarrels from me. Towards the finale I’m detecting a shade of Doom-iness, a little Candlemass feel. (I always envision Messiah Marcolin stomping around the stage, dressed in black robes at the band’s mention. I digress) About half the length of the first this still manages to hold my attention. I’m actually thinking I should have partaken before starting to listen, as from what I’ve heard so far it would appear this may be an album I could close my eyes and get lost in.
Track three starts with a riff I may have heard before but cannot, for the life of me, place. Galloping dense guitars make this the heaviest track to date. Strange that at moments melodies remind me of Florida based Atheist and at other times earlier Iron Maiden (Dickinson era not Di’anno).Quite the abrupt tempo change at the seven minute mark, I won’t spoil it but suffice to say I saw clowns momentarily prance in front of my eyes. Another long track that doesn’t disappoint.
World 8-4 at times has a distinct Egyptian feel though nothing as heavy as ‘death’ giants Nile, closer to the melodic act Orphaned Lands. True to form still no vocals, at this point I would be interested to hear some, but the fact there is none still does not detract from my enjoyment of this album.
A keyboard makes an appearance and introduces the fifth track.
Rather a strange title and somewhat of an ‘off the wall’ tempo in this song. For some reason I’m thinking Faith no More, and at times hearing galloping Iron Maiden riffage. Quite the weird collaboration, but it seems to work, and enjoy it I did! (Suddenly I’m turning into a pointy eared green fellow with a penchant for swamps and dueling glow sticks)
Emerald City has the first vocals (maybe even the only…?) I have yet to hear on the album, appearing in a passage that brings to mind the European act Tiamat (who turned somewhat more hard rock melodic after their 1991 Astral Sleep release) The feel of this track leans heavily toward the Opeth side (sans the barking and growly vocals many of their tracks are famous for) Melodic with a hint of both Heavy Metal and Doom. Mellow yet heavy, another stand out in a surprisingly enjoyable listen.
Palace of the Beast is an eleven minute track that could possibly be shortened somewhat in my opinion as the middle tends to drag on a tad. Theres a riff used to good effect that I recognize and can’t place around the 1:13 mark which bothers me, but I won’t play the track ad nasium, this is the fifth spin and I’m still getting no closer to an answer. The track leans a couple of degrees Industrial towards its finale taking on a background dirge, distorted denseness that works to good effect. Another enjoyable song, my only concern that it’s a tad long.
An enjoyable listen on the whole with enough tempo changes in each track and style changes from one track to the next that keep me wanting more. There are times though that I felt this could be more of an album you could listen to whilst doing something, perhaps due in part to the absence of vocals and the overall mellowness of listen. It was admittedly quite the change of pace for me, theres usually only one (two at a stretch) instrumental tracks on any album I spin on a regular basis. An example that immediately comes to mind ‘Venus in fears’ (Cradle of Filth).
I won’t rate this album, but I will admit it is rather enjoyable and worthy of anyone’s time. Keep an open mind, for this album can at times be labelled very mellow – quite a pallette cleanser, and you will probably find yourself spinning it again.
Further information on the band can be found at oneironaught.com they can be found on twitter also @oneironaught718