Death & Taxe$ - Theenigmathatisman

Year of Release: 2001
Label: Obstreperous Audio Recordings
Catalog Number: OARCD002
Format: CD
Total Time: 69:52:00

One of Los Angeles' more intriguing exports, Death & Taxe$ sport a musical approach uniquely their own. DnT (their acronym, not mine) bill their sound as "Progressive Jazz Metal Fusion" and their claim is absolutely credible as their musical explorations are eclectic and adventurous. The band's influences are equally diverse, ranging from Rush to Miles Davis. Odd time signatures, neck-snapping dynamics, crunching power metal, and wild improvisations abound, giving the listener plenty to digest and enjoy.

Theenigma... is opened by the brief atonal jam, "Becoming," that gives way to "Questions In Question," could be an outtake from Hemispheres, complete with heavily phased and fuzzed guitars a la Alex Lifeson circa 1979. "What Can You Make Of This" and '"Words Of A Feather" both sound like a funky, driving Led Zeppelin, the former complete with horns. "Human Fly" keeps the funk a-rollin', built around Vince Martinez's twangy guitars and Tom Shannon's bass and Stick riffs, poking fun at modern technology and convenience while taking a sharp stick to the eyes of Luddites and the Unabomber. "Instrumental With Words" is the album's first epic, the first seven minutes of which is eerily reminiscent of Disintegration-era Cure (this is NOT a bad thing!). The final four minutes become a roaring metal improvisation, alternately similar to Rush and Liquid Tension Experiment, thanks again to Martinez and Shannon.

"The Enigma That Is Man" ponders the contradictory nature of human behavior, and supports its theme by juxtaposing an acoustic beginning against a racing electric finish. "Bottomless Hippopotamus" follows as a swinging blues and again features competing bass and guitar improvisations. "Frenetic Genetic Overdrive" kicks out the progressive metal jams, blowing down the proverbial doors while sounding like an overture for "Diet Of Worms" which rages in and uses the example of Martin Luther's struggles with the Catholic church to rail against enforced conformity and resistance to necessary change. "After Words" - the second epic - closes the album with an offbeat juxtaposition of ambience, improvisation, and heavy metal. Horns, harmonics, cymbals, tablas, and electric guitars collide in a spacey improvisation that threatens to collapse in on itself before giving way to a driving prog-metal finale.

Ultimately, Theenigmathatisman is an interesting listen that falls squarely into the "acquired taste" category. Heavy fusion and progressive metal fans will find plenty to like about Theenigmathatisman while progressive purists won't be so receptive to, probably because of the coarse production and DnT's aggressive approach. Don't be deterred though - Death & Taxe$ have done a good job with Theenigmathatisman and clearly deserve a spin on your cd player. Me? I like it - a lot!

Becoming (2:10) / Questions In Question (5:37) / What Can You Make Of This? (2:36) / Words Of A Feather (6:01) / Human Fly (6:22) / Instrumental With Words (10:45) / The Enigma That Is Man (4:56) / Bottomless Hippopotamus (4:45) / Frenetic Genetic Overdrive (5:39) / Diet Of Worms (6:22) / After Words (14:39)

Tom Shannon - vocals, 6-string fretted and fretless basses, Chapman Stick, flute, steel drum, percussion
Vince Martinez - vocals, 6-/7-/12-string electric and acoustic guitars, Ebow
Don Medina - drums/cymbals (1, 2, 4, 7, 9, 11)

Additional Musicians:
Mark Hanson - drums (3, 5, 6, 8, 10)
Mark Segal - hand drums, miscellaneous toys, percussion (1, 11)
Bal - trumpet (3, 11)
Kathy Porter - finger snaps (8)

Paradigms for a New Quarter (1996)
Theenigmathatisman (2001)
The Alaska 12 Expeditions (2004)

Genre: Progressive Rock

Origin US

Added: October 13th 2001
Reviewer: David Cisco
Artist website:
Hits: 951
Language: english


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