My love for technically-demanding modern metal means I often found myself writing words that might convince those browsing the web that I am concocting some magnificent, scientific conundrum. In the past, I have come across albums by The Omega Experiment, TesseracT, The Mars Volta, The Mercury Program and The HAARP Machine. Now, here I am writing about The Advent Equation. It’s enough to quantum your mechanics.
These particular modern metallists come from Mexico. Yep, the home of tequila and tortilla. It’s often thought of as a bit of a metal deadzone, though when you consider it’s vicinity to the noisy hotbed of North America that’s always seemed surprising. Early run-throughs of Limitless Life Reflections prove The Advent Equation are obviously keen to put that idea to bed with their accomplished combination of prog, death and tech metal. Seriously, you’ll struggle to believe this hasn’t come from the cold heart of Scandanavia (I’m not in the least surprised to learn it did pass through Jens Borgen’s Fascination Street Studio at one point on it’s journey).
Take “Afterlife Evolutionary”. It opens with a tumultuous broil of drums setting the rhythm, over which is laid a bloodlusting death roar, quickfire finger taps, dramatic piano and cutaways into melodic synth. From here, we are dragged through a rapid series of menacing, instrumental affectations and lurching timing changes. And that’s just one track. It’s clear that getting to grips with this ever-changing mixture of musical techniques and emotional tones is going to be no easy task. Other tracks like the floating melancholy of “Visons Of Pain” and “Hopeless” dig down far less deeper; are less obtuse in their design. They are recognisable songs and, as such, are a little easier to gain a foothold on.
Tracks like “Glimpse Of What May Be” and “A Descent Into The Unreal” will grab you with their depth of sound. The three-part vocal harmonies and hammering switchbacks that underscore it all are intense, anthemic and at their apex, truly awe-inspiring. However, with so much meandering lolloping surrounding these momentary snatches of genius, it’s hard to fully get behind the songwriting – “On Darkness”, for instance, sweeps from the dull, inane and metronomic into an overpowering smack of twinkling synth and back again through an unnatural series of segues.
The album, as a whole, is best thought of as a series of tonal shades ranging from black to grey and back again. Opeth and Enslaved influences run close to the surface throughout this chameleonic collection of death-led monsters and lighter harmonic pieces with piano-dominated and stringed acoustic sections, though it’s also not hard to spot the connection with several of those aforementioned more tech-minded acts. The rhythmic anomalies and ambient texturing are, in fact, key to driving home the heart of the piece. The question is: are you hungry for Mexican? – a trip to their SoundCloud page should give you plenty to chew on.
(6.5/10 John Skibeat)