MENTAL ARCHITECTS - ASCEND
Mental Architects new record "Ascend" to be released on May 24th is an arduous journey to the top of a mountain. (Malyovitsa peak in the Rila mountain range of the bands' home country Bulgaria to be exact)
(They actually wrote this album WHILE CLIMBING A FUCKING MOUNTAIN!)
The songs follow the band on their adventure and are titled sequentially. Beginning with the 1st song "Honed" we get a sense of optimism mixed with anxiety for the upcoming ascension.
Moving on to track 2
which is our featured song "Talus" the weight of the daunting task at hand sets in with a liquid smooth guitar tapping riff and a reoccurring percussive phrase delivering a 6:8 beat. Quickly paced phrasing
points the ear and momentum ahead in anticipation. The melody is then met with slick textural waves
adding mystery to the ever growing enigmatic presence of the mountain itself. The bands' explorations
bring forth the nostalgia of ECM avante jazz, reminiscent of great sound sculpting archetypes like
David Torn and Brian Eno. Employing an indescribable richness, the textural transparency of this album births unexpected harmonies. The soft aesthetics are met with dirty and distorted bass action that only serves to deepen the context. With a mood akin to desert air, nightly ventures by torch light and an inner yearning,
"Talus" is a true cerebral face-plant into reality. Without dropping your guard, you realize Mental Architects
is engaging all 5 of your senses. Like magic the sound becomes 3 dimensional and narrative driven. As this song crosses the 3 minute mark, the post rock flavored infestations harden out of liquid fluidity, into stone cold steel. With now the added traffic of metal idioms over the foundation of 6:8 lead lines, enough chaos is injected to stir forth the crescendo.
4:4 quickly takes hold with a gritty punk rock delivery and just as quickly; 6:8 comes back even more
twisted and inhabited by punching solos. Finally the balance of 6 and 4 is randomly thrown into a blender
until the eventual end when we deeply breathe in and press repeat. We're only two songs in and still have
yet to reach the summit, prepare for an exhilarating rest of your hike.
Track 9 "Descend" is the start of the trek back down the mountain. Ridden with exuberant tension
in a post-rock setting the bombardment of kick drum in this song hits as hard as a knockout punch.
Finally the meditative and pulsating loop oriented later track "Crack" offers us a doom-metal like grandeur.
With polar opposite "Beauty and the Beast" type vibes throughout "Ascend" there is no better
dramatic ending than this. With "Alpine" Deep in reflection we rest after such a testing and adventurous expedition.
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Editor: Boaz C.
(The Math Rock Times)