Tuesday 12 November 2013

Close The Hatch - To Collapse In Absentia (Review)

Album Type :  EP
Date Released : 9/8/2013
Label : Red Moth Records

To Collapse In Absentia, track listing :

1). Wolves 11:12
2). Beyond The Wolves 05:52
3). Victims, Criminal, Lakes & Rivers 04:09
4). Kali 06:54

The Band :
Drums |Shaun Hall
Keys | Josh McGrath
Guitars & Vocals | Stephen Barton
Bass | Shaun O'Shaughnessy
Drums on track #3 |Aaron Fisher
Additional Vocals track #2 | Aaron Fisher

Review :
Progressive music is, by its nature, a temperamental beast. Its typically untypical song structures and time signatures make it something which can hit you differently depending on your mood. Ohio’s post-metal experimentation 5 piece Close The Hatch are no exemption to this rule. Stick on this 4 track EP, weighing in at an impressive 28 minutes, and your opinion on this record could vary with your mind-set. Sometimes, it’s few and far between choruses and lucid sound scapes are utterly transfixing, other times moments of musical brilliance don’t stick around long enough to satisfy.

To that extent, opening with an 11 minute track in Wolves is a bold move, but they have the character to pull it off. It’s sluggish pace is peppered with nuanced guitars and brooding piano and loud, aggressive movements are juxtaposed with lulling clean guitars across the songs long lifespan. The songs structure, which strays from formulaic patterns, opting instead for one with little repetition, the track, takes you on a journey. Yet, such is the intensity of the journey that sometimes it can be hard to listen to the entire song, its lack of resolve, of one key melodic theme often appears strikingly obvious.

Beyond the Wolves then, offers some respite. Driven by a grooving rhythm, it becomes a consistent undertone throughout the track, be it during the storm or the calm. This is a track that welcomes you back with its familiar groove while still taking you someplace else.    

Across the years, bands like Yes, Dream Theater and Rush have shown that progressive rock can be catchy all the while maintaining those key aesthetics. While it is perhaps to compare a band still in their relative infancy with such revered and distinguished acts such as these, you are left wanting a bit more focus on hooks and melody.

That is not to say this band lacks the ability to write one, the album is peppered with them, but like on Wolves and Kali, when they do arrive, they are but a flash in the pan – like a glimpse of the villain in some horror film, it is gone to quickly, leaving questions still be to answered.

Close The Hatch is a good record, full of intricate musicianship, but it takes more than just being good at your instrument to get people to take notice. But if your mind-set leaves you craving for an odyssey in it
s darkest musical form, To Collapse In Absentia is a record worth latching onto.      

Words by :  Phil Weller

You can buy it here

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