The Mars Volta
Tracklist1. March of the Obsolete
2. Temporal Laceration
3. Ship Without a Sail
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Hailing from Toronto, Canada, The Isosceles Project is a three piece progressive metal band that doesn’t rely on eight string guitars, soaring hooks, or electronica to warrant that title. Instead, they choose to be a prog band in a more traditional sense of the word: long, winding instrumental songs that move forward with ease, twisting and turning through riff after riff and never losing strength. Bridges is the band’s second full length album, self released by the group in April and made up of three 10+ minute tracks, each conveying an awesome take on traditional prog played by modern players.
“March of the Obsolete” begins with a Rush meets The Mars Volta vibe, immediately immersing the listener in song. Before setting into a trance, a drum fill carries us into the first example of the band’s sonic mainstay, a sound somewhere between Mastodon and Intronaut, with earthy chords meeting fretless bass to then meander back and forth between heavy and airy. This quickly falls apart before reforming with an acoustic guitar at the helm, the strumming accompanied by the intensely adaptive duo of bass and drums. A careful listen will reveal that the acoustic guitar helps flesh quite a bit of this record out, something subtle that can enhance the listening experience greatly. A great build back into heavier sounds also leads the band into more technical territory. Patterns that seem arbitrary at first are grooved into bigger pictures that serve extremely well as the musical climax. Winding down we are brought back into the acoustic motif from the beginning of the track, and the climax is reprised, ending the song on a traditionally powerful note. If you take a listen and you aren’t enthused by the end of this 10 minute track, it’s probably best not to continue on. However, if you’re interested in the slightest…
“Temporal Laceration” follows much in the same vein as "March of the Obsolete" at first, yet it is much more dynamic both in terms of metal riffing and expanded interludes. While the introduction to “March of the Obsolete” ended before listeners could become entranced, The Isosceles Project does not hold back on “Temporal Laceration.” The lightning-paced swarm of legato guitar and thundering drums that the song’s riffing works itself into certainly recalls the “psychedelic” tag found floating around in their descriptions. “Ship Without a Sail” introduces itself through an acoustic passage, the best so far on the record. As with most of the group’s music, a logical progression is followed, one that keeps you on your toes, but will also have you realizing that you knew what was coming next. The first half of the final track is more of the same in that regard, yet the second half is anything but. A selection of groovy riffs in 7/8 are interspersed between more of the group’s energetic, rolling rock sound. Rounding off the track are more melodic takes on previous ideas, ultimately silenced by a monstrous slow down and eventual stop.
What most impressed me about Bridges was its ability to keep me awake for all 38 minutes of its prog jamming. Given that the nature of the music is long, winding, and instrumental, this most likely isn’t something that will have a lot of replay value. For what it is, however, (an up-to-date take on ‘70s prog ideals that sits on a bed of more youthful metal riffing) it is excellent, and it proves that in its ability to be listened to while performing other activities. I don’t want to call it background music, because it can certainly hold its own, but it is damn good background music.