The Barnacle Cordious
posted on 7/2009 By:
The Barnacle Cordious is this progressive metalcore troup’s second outing, and it’s been a long time coming. After touring for three years on 2004’s Misanthropos, Paria vocalist Brian Craig left the band in 2007. The group went on to record a new album as an instrumental unit, only to accept Craig back into the fold just as the album neared completion. The band elected to rewrite the entire album to accommodate him. Paria’s Myspace claims that they are “a sonic experiment with no hypothesis…an amalgam of instruments coming together in order to produce a cohesive cadre with the emotional impact of a hydrogen bomb,” proving that they’re just as saddled with irritating pretension as any prog rock act. What they really sound like is off-kilter, electronic-inflected metalcore a la Genghis Tron and the dearly-missed Beecher, without the zaniness of the former or the emotional maturity of the latter. The Barnacle Cordious is ultimately a hit-and-miss affair. Sometimes Paria overreach themselves and sometimes they mire themselves in clichés, but they’re damn solid when they strike a balance.
Moreover, this album really succeeds and fails on a song-by-song basis—let me explain what I mean. The Barnacle Cordious’s eponymous opening cut, for example, features some rampaging death metal riffwork early on and a surprising, restrained keyboard bridge. However, the song is ultimately dragged down by its gimmicky electro-dance intro and an overabundance of breakdowns that try to be massive but instead only manage kind of a dull portliness. On the other hand, its follow-up “Circus” is a rousing success, driven by urgent melodicism (including some cleans from Craig) and guitarist John Claus’s off-the-wall, whammy-pedal guitar flourishes. “Pish Posh,” the first of The Barnacle Cordious’s two instrumentals, gets off to an interesting start with its airy feel and contemplative soloing but remains static for too long, dallying for most of its 8-minute span before dropping the hammer. Its counterpart, the ten-minute closer “I’ve Never Been Here Before in a Long Time,” fares better. The latter begins in a similar vein but makes greater use of Paria’s capacity for mathy heaviness as well as prog meanderings, resulting in a more dynamic and compelling tune.
While all three instrumentalists in Paria are skilled, bassist Dustin Treinen is especially so, and his slap-heavy playing adds a great deal of texture to moments like the herky-jerky conclusion of “Bomb.” The only member whose value I can question is Craig’s. Though his mid-ranged bellow rarely offends, it also rarely adds anything of value; lyrics like “This is your life!” repeated ad nauseum strike me as somewhat beneath the band’s lofty musical aspirations. Frankly, his contributions don’t seem to warrant a two-year delay and a rewrite of the whole album.
So The Barnacle Cordious misses pretty often (“The Wallabee Dance Machine” and “Rabid McFly Grid”), but manages to connect with its wacky haymakers whenever it can balance its noodly side and its heavy parts. Paria definitely have the chops and attention to detail to draw in listeners from the Genghis Tron/Horse the Band set, but despite their deliberately oddball songwriting, The Barnacle Cordious feels like a genre study—which will probably let you know for sure whether you’re interested in this album or not.
Register to post comments.