Linear Sphere - Reality Disfunction


Year of Release: 2005
Label: n/a
Catalog Number: n/a
Format: CD
Total Time: 00:00:00

Examination:

What is it supposed to be?: The band's website touts the arrival of "a group of open-minded musicians and music-lovers"?who purport to demonstrate influences including "metal, jazz, fusion and funk ... progressive music in the true sense of the word."

"Dark lyrical themes ... supported by ? an unorthodox approach to harmony ? and ever shifting rhythms and time signatures ?" synopsizes their compositional intent.

Stark, morose artwork focuses attention squarely on the bleak lyrics.

Analysis:

What it is: There are bands that call themselves progressive and then provide an apologetic list of comparative clarifications.

This is often the result of a fear of stereotyping (pun intended), or a lack of confidence in the music on its own merits.

Rarely, as with Linear Sphere, the "prog" tag suits, because the music truly transcends (but doesn't entirely avoid) comparisons.

The artwork and lyrics are Spartan and moribund, providing yet another acerbic socio-political viewpoint, along with the usual diatribes against corporate greed, with the exception of "Life Of Gear," as plaintive and harrowing a description of addiction as I've heard.

Striated muscular linear harmonic progressions with Lydian-chromatic intent; solos that flirt with the changes but never fully follow them (thus robbing the music of a certain thematic unity but adding an appropriately histrionic edge), vocals that provide caustic counterpoint to the underlying swath cut by the bass and rhythm guitars, and drumming as coercive as it is propulsive ?? these are a few of my favorite things ?..

The production on this disc is artful, although in my opinion the drums are mixed too prominently, to the detriment of the bass and the overall presence of the lower registers of the mix. When played on full range speakers or through headphones, the bass lacks presence and it disappears almost completely on boom-boxes, personal stereos and computer speakers, something to consider when sending material to prospective affiliates ?. many reviewers, potential distributors and other sycophants listen to demos and samples while at their computer, working out, or in their car ?

Guitars: Post-shred (think Thordendal meets Becker) with admirable restraint; the solos roll out like a lexicon of sweep arpeggios, tapping and alternate picked scales, and are superbly executed, if somewhat lacking in identity; the rhythm work is deft, and the layering of distorted and ultra-clean guitars (particularly the X-Files meets 60s B movie sounds on "Father Pyramid") is effective and reminds me of Cynic's Focus and the aforementioned Swede's Special Defects.

Bass: Well crafted, but not as well defined (particularly around 800-900 hz) as I would like to hear ?. the parallel harmony and counterpoint hinted at would have removed some of the naked quality from the rhythm section, lending greater support to the vocals in that same frequency range?.

Vocals: The voice lends an aggressive, sinister edge, functioning as another instrument, at times forcing the listener to accept the lyrics through sheer force of will, like a vile but necessary medicine. I was reminded of Alan Tecchio's efforts in Watchtower .... perfectly appropriate and necessary to the music, but certain to be a watershed for some listeners... That said, the melodies are as well crafted as any of the instrumental parts, and the delivery is powerful and unique ... imagine a higher register Gus Chambers (Grip Inc) ..... perhaps this approach, taken an octave lower at times, could provide dynamic contrast and some respite.....

Drums: Definite shades of Reinert and Colaluca here, along with fusion influences too numerous to mention; the snare work reminds me of Colaiuta and Dennis Chambers. I would have like to have heard a little side stick on "Division Man" and "Life Of Gear" ?. the "chiaroscuro" that textural drumming provides can elevate a piece of music more readily than sheer force or weighty technique...

Rating:

Superb: " unique concept married expertly with high level of musicianship and lyrical skill; encourages adherence to their viewpoint/philosophy; demands attention and or repeated listens to appreciate fully"

Summary:

This is a disc that demands repeated listens. Elements that I found incidental on first impression became more meaningful as I allowed the music to permeate the listening environment. I ran with it, worked at my computer with it playing at low volumes, and listened to it in phones at intense levels in a relaxed state, and found the music to be at once stimulating to thought, inspiring musically, and harmonically engaging. I confess that I very nearly dismissed the vocals as uni-dimensional, but after I ran several times with the disc in my Walkman, I discovered that my viewpoint changed; there is a poignancy and urgency present that is too easily missed due to the initial impact this very unusual vocal delivery proffers.

The comparisons I have drawn to other artists are not pejoratives, and are only meant to provide a tonal reference point. I seriously doubt that many bands would, or even could, dream of music at this level of expertise and intensity??

This disc succeeds where Cynic's Focus didn't: thematic unity brought about by compositional logic. I have marveled for years at the unbridled reverence with which their music has been extolled, but have always felt that they missed the mark by not providing any vernacular for the average metal fan....

I commend Linear Sphere for not resorting to guttural or black vocals .... as much as I would like to hear a richer baritone sing these lines, the primary cohesive element in their music is in fact the vocalist.....

Technically, compositionally, but most importantly, thematically, Linear Sphere have raised the bar ?.. now, about those vocals?..


Tracklisting:
Reversal / Father Pyramid / Ceremony Master / Division Man / Marketing / Life Of Gear / From Space To Time: (part I - Evolution) - (part II - Bodes) - (part III - Separation) - (part IV - Eden)

Musicians:
Martin Goulding - guitars
Jos Geron - vocals
Charlie Griffiths - guitars
Nick Lowczowski - drums
Dave Marks - bass

Discography:
Reality Disfunction (2005)

Genre: Progressive-Power Metal

Origin UK

Added: May 16th 2005
Reviewer: Jan-Mikael Erakare
Score:
Artist website: www.linearsphere.com
Hits: 775
Language: english

  

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