Apr 29, 2012

The Isosceles Project - Bridges ...

The Isosceles Project are a progressive, sometimes psychedelic, instrumental metal band from Toronto, ON, made up of Eric Euler (guitar), Scott Tessier (bass) and Brandon Smith (drums). This album 'Bridges' is to be put it mildly "a total mind-f@#k" of an album. Listening to the opening track 'March of the Obsolete' made me think this is like Rush playing metal and gone totally insane in the process. Without a doubt, this band plays progressive metal but it is not the snobby kind. This sits alongside the likes of some of The Atomic Bitchwax stuff so it is stoner-ish, metallic, infectious, head-bangable but still jaw-dropping in its musical delivery. The guitar work of Eric Euler is mathematical, very complex at times and it is constantly exploratory. The riffs themselves vary from prog-metal wizardry complete with odd timings to moments of pure stoner-metal, crushing madness. They off-set these passages with moments of psychedelic spacey noodling but overall, this album can only be described as "pummeling."

The guitar work alone is enough to send the listener in states of sonic musical heaven but the drumming and bass player is equally as challenging and amazing. The drumming is full of jazzy kind of fills to moments of intense aggressive pounding and the bass playing is all over the place supplying exciting bass runs. Basically the three tracks here that all run around or way past the 10 minute mark leave the listener exhausted and speechless. It was literally just a few minutes into the opening track, 'March of the Obsolete' when I was sold on this band. The whirlwind of guitar notes, the aggressive yet complex drumming and bass playing is flawless but it is all delivered with so much energy, it is exhausting just sitting and listening to it. I hate to bring up a genre debate at this point but 'The Isosceles Project' are thinking outside of the box at all times so it is hard to successfully pigeon-hole them into any genre. They have more proggy touches that most "progressive rock" bands but they can be so up-tempo and metallic at times that it is unlikely the traditional prog-rock fan will be able to handle the intensity. Yes, E.L.P or even Dream Theater this is not, this band are on another planet.

The key to the magic of these three pieces is they are constantly changing directions and do it so often, it is almost impossible to know where you are in the song. I wonder how the band can remember where they are at times, especially during the opening track. 'March of the Obsolete' is the albums most intense track, throwing riffs, leads and notes at you at a million miles per hour. If all three tracks were like this, it would be pure overkill but thankfully these guys know how to mix it up. Second track 'Temporal Laceration' is more graceful than the first, more psychedelic and spacey but it still has many passages of complex prog wizardry. There are infectious melodies everywhere - almost too many of them to go through in detail here and there is no shortage of soaring leads. The band is obviously gifted in the songwriting department too as these three tracks have room for each of the musicians to move wherever they want. It is a tight performance and certainly doesn't sound like off-the-cuff jamming but it also doesn't sound like a stuffy, up-tight album where everybody is fussing over each and every note - the music comes across as free, natural and organic.

The other track on 'Bridges' called 'Ship Without A Sail' is another musical exploration piece and again it is the combination between spacey, psychedelia, progressive metal and crushing riff rock that is instantly appealing and infectious. The band is not 100% unique, there are many bands both old and new that are walking the same musical path but there is something fresh about this. Bands like Dream Theater, Russian Circles, Ihsahn, The Re-Stoned and even old-timers like Rush all deliver their moments of metallic prog-ness but even those bands (as great as they are) can sound stale at times. The Isosceles Project however sound fresh and intensely exciting and nothing is predictable. Even after several spins of this album, you will be still uncovering passages of musical brilliance you have never noticed before. The production also deserves a mention - it is almost flawless. Everything is loud, clear and right where it should be and it is a treat for the ear-drums. This band could be the next kings of the Canadian progressive metal genre, amazing album....9.5/10.

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