So, progressive metal. A lot can be said about this genre, and comments tend to be cut from either the “You just don’t get it” bunch or the “It’s a load of highly skilled musicians wanking off with no focus” position. The American one-man outfit “Anabiosis” however, manages to avoid these pitfalls by keeping the music very technical with the usual complex time signatures, sweep picking and legato runs to be expected, but at the same time the music is very melodic and accessible.
This is all constructed by having these shred-fest sections placed underneath more slow paced and pleasing melody lines. The man can certainly play, and he likes to keep it present, but having these parts lower in the mix helps to give the release a large element of class and genuine musicality which is not present in a lot of progressive albums nowadays. There are, inevitably, times when solos are put in higher in the sound, but they are relatively sparse and tastefully placed. The same can be said for more quiet parts of the album where the bass generally takes up a more important place and the guitar changes to a clean tone.
On the subject of guitar tone, the distorted one used in this album is fantastic, very smooth and clear with no unwanted noise on any notes that I could catch. The drum tone is slightly machine-like for my liking, but it fits in with the guitar which is more than I can say for some synth parts, such as in the intro to the cd where the amount of attack on the key hits contrasts a bit too much with the more round sound of the guitars.
One of the main parts which this album excels in is in the layering of multiple guitar parts, which is done with much expertise. It is not uncommon for three guitar parts to be playing at the same time, one maybe playing syncopated chords with a second track playing a complex arpeggio and a nice melody layered on top. The parts flow together spectacularly and help immerse you in the music.
Harmonised guitars are also used a fair amount in this album, and always to sterling effect. The harmonised riff about halfway into “Orbital Revolution” for example absolutely kills.
Drums are the standard yet still very impressive polyrhythmic and technical fare that prog fans will be used to. Blast beats are thankfully used sparingly as they feel a bit out of place when they are utilised.
The bass is always fairly present here, coming to the fore in the numerous places with often gratifying results, but in one case definitely not so…
This brings me onto the final song. What happened? The bass tone is horrifying and what’s played on it sounds just as bad. The music is written to come out as off-beat, but instead sounds off-time. It has a quite cheap groove in a jarring kind of way which is a stark contrast to the intelligence of the rest of the release and the drums sound like a metronome gone wrong. This is the only part of the album which I can honestly say I did not enjoy alongside a short piano interlude in “Singularity” which would be acceptable if it weren’t so counter-rhythmic with the guitar. I honestly had to check my internet browser to check if another song had come on over the album.
All in all, this release is very impressive, especially when taken into account that it is a one man project. The majority of the album is refined, classy and acute, but the last track unfortunately leaves a stale taste in your mouth which forces you to go back and listen to Orbital Revolution to make sure the whole album wasn’t like that. At least you get to hear that harmonised bit again.
Avantgenre: Cyborg Progressive Metal
Official site: http:// www.myspace.com/illusiveanabiosis
Review online since: 09.03.2009 / 22:14:13
01 – Unconscious Muscle Movements