If instrumental albums suggest that there’s something missing, check this out. It has to be said of course that instrumental albums have no obstacles and the only vehicles for telling the story, if there is one, are the dynamism of the music, the flow and the structure.
“Sunyatta” is a progressive tech metal feast. I detected shades of Opeth in the opener. On it pumps, changing direction here and there in its logical way but always ringing with urgency and freshness. There are seven tracks and they have titles like Gaia, Jove, Sum, Paradise and Samsara but I didn’t stop and pay much attention to them too much as they seem irrelevant to the journey. In fact “Sum” distinguishes itself as it reaches its post-metal climax before reverting to urgent, lush and melancholic soundscapes which can be summarised in two words: adventurous and colourful. I read that this Australian project, which has the cutting edge atmosphere of a Cynic album and the technical mysticism of Zero Hour with added flourishes, “represents a desire to explore beauty and darkness in all its shades”. It does so in a provocative and exciting way. Mystical waves pass through the cosmic “Paradise”, and in the background of other parts of the album, but by and large it’s a guitar-driven festival of ringing and thumping soundscapes, each of them driving through sonic walls of sophistication. The mystical chorus floats through the dark and aggressive “Samsara” as it heads towards its resounding and fateful climax.
I’m not sure whether there is a story in “Sunyatta”, but it is a vibrant album. Technically accomplished, I found it is one to absorb and imbibe rather than one where I was going to pick out outstanding moments. What we’re experiencing, courtesy of Vipassi, is the fluid representation of another world.
(8/10 Andrew Doherty)