If there’s one clichéd view that most people, including myself, have towards instrumental music is, and please say this in your best whiny killjoy voice, “Muuuuh, it’d be better if they had a singer”.
With the vast majority of instrumental (Rock and Metal instrumental stuff at least) music I do find myself expecting a verse to start at some point. It’s all fine in small doses but hard to get through an album of. Even Mogwai’s best song was that one that had that man singing on it.
Steve From Accounting are, as you may have deduced, without singer. An instrumental rock band.I say band, they’re more of a duo than a band. One chap plays guitar and bass, the other is a bashist. They are based in the vast, sprawling Metropolis that is Huddersfield in West Yorkshire.
Anyway, they’re kind of Progressive Metal, I can hear echoes of Devin Townsend in the guitar, maybe some Periphery too, particularly with the subtle use of electronic ambiences but otherwise, they’re fairly original. The riffs, goodness the riffs! Remission is packed with them, They’ve kept my interest sufficiently for me to listen to Remission three times in a row without a single dramatic sigh of boredom.
Remission kicks off with the shortest song on the album Cold Outside, a thrilling, frenetic song built around a nice duggaduggadugga riff. Cataclysm continues the pace and has some nice bleepy guitar in it towards the end that reminds a little of Hyperdrive by Devin Townsend off of his Ziltoid album.
The pace drops off for a few seconds for the gentle intro of Rupture of Discourse. It doesn’t last long as the most furious riff yet pounds along, er, furiously. This one reminds me a lot of Deathmøle, the Instrumental Metal project of Jeph Jacques, author of Questionable Content. In fact several of the songs bear a resemblance to Deathmøle, though I would imagine that’s something of a coincidence than reasons nefarious on either side. It also features some guitar squeals which are very nice and also \m/.
Ruination has a touch of Groove Metal about it and, I can vouch for this, sounds ace played really loudly in a car whilst driving very fast (though still within legal limits). Respite changes things up a bit, as I guess you’d expect from a song called Respite, and wanders off into Post Rock territory before getting bored and coming back to Chugland.
Now, I want you to close your eyes and picture a huge, I mean like three houses tall huge, robot demon thing. He’s all black and spiky and coldly emotionless. Do you see him? He strides purposefully across a barren landscape. Remnants of shattered cities line the horizon while the sun burns low in the sky, a dirty orange colour. Gradually, from the opposite direction, more huge robot demon things approach. They’re bigger and even more demony than he is and they want to destroy everything. Though the odds are not in his favour he must vanquish them! He slowly raises his Laser Axe, powers up his Supracannon and steps into the fray.
Do you have all that in your mind? The next song, Behemoth, is what’s playing while all that happens. It’s a nine minute, mid-paced, monster that stomps all over your ear drums. It’s also, if I’m being honest, very lazily titled.
Glow comes next and is a soft piece of atmosphere, a gentle melody that is welcome after the barrage of riffage surrounding it. Leviathan begins with almost a minute of background noise and a weird mumbly man voice. Then we’re off again! Leviathan has a very upbeat joyful feel to it, which is nice. The final song, Lapse is an odd closer in that it’s quite short, fairly uneventful and then stops dead, I had to check to see if iTunes had bust again. Odd.
It was nice to listen to an instrumental rock (I’m guessing classical and electronic stuff doesn’t count) album all the way through without once (okay, okay, maybe a couple of times) thinking the singer thing. It’s the first time I can remember doing so since Surfing With The Alien, which was a very long time ago and was a very pleasant surprise.
8 out of 10 - Oh, now you have my attention and maybe my money, time and heart
You can listen to Remission, and download it for NAME YOUR PRICE, at their BandCamp HERE