Release DetailsLABEL Willowtip
RELEASED ON 10/24/2006
posted on 10/2006 By:
Instrumental metal is always a risky proposition for a critic like myself. Risky because the reason I listen to metal is for its ability to evoke all kind of emotion and transform my mood. While intensely melodic post-metal acts like Pelican and Red Sparowes have proven to be emotionally evocative without the benefit of a vocalist, tech-thrash instrumentalists Electro Quarterstaff doesn't quite do the job. However, that doesn't make their compositions any less impressive. In terms of writing and execution, this is just phenomenal. This band plays all over the map, and manages to sound cohesive, loose, and confident throughout the entire album. So, even though these songs will probably never be very close to your heart, they will prove to you upon first listen that Electro Quarterstaff is really good.
A primary influence is hard to trace here, as each of these songs goes in a few different directions. However, there are the definite point at your stereo and blurt out band name moments on Gretzky. "Neckwrecker" is seasoned with harmonics in a way that conjures now defunct Willowtip alums Rune and Kalibas. "Get Sick" opens with a harmonic soaked march that sounds like a unholy marriage between Atheist and Morbid Angel, before ushering in some oddly sea-sick sounding traditional soloing ala Arsis. Elsewhere, "Twisted Squid" is pure, exquisite Mastodon worship. Behind each of these moments is a drummer that eats, sleeps, breathes, and shits Gorguts. Sadly, riding the bench next to their rhetorical singer, is a theoretical bass player. The rhythm section is strong, as the drummer can play his shit and still serve as a strong backbone, but there are moments when the bass is conspicuously absent.
The short story here is that Electro Quarterstaff are a talented band that have created an album of tasty guitar and drum tracks. If you live for guitar jams, buy this without so much as checking out a single sample. The longer, slightly sadder story is that Electro Quarterstaff are incomplete as a band right now. While there's nothing unsavory on this dish, there's so much more it leaves me hungry for. Whether it's some complementary vocals, a stronger rhythm section, or just an intangible human element -- Electro Quarterstaff are just a few minor adjustments from being so much more. The future's definitely bright for this band, for even with their shortcomings, they still have a lot to offer.
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