Lye By Mistake
posted on 11/2009 By:
Those who clicked into this review expecting the jazzed-up Dillinger Escape Plan worship of Lye By Mistake’s debut LP, Arrangements for Fulminating Vective, are in for a bit of a shock. Things have happened in the band’s camp that may move them quickly into or out of your personal favor, depending on your particular tastes. Straight-jacket vocalist Tony Saputo recently left the fold, leaving the remaining members free to fully explore their instrumental aspirations. On Fea Jur, a promising yet typical progressive metalcore act has shed the spazzed-out bursts and mathematic repetitions and transformed into a stunning instrumental mixture of jazz fusion and progressive metal.
I can offer no comfort to fans of the debut who may be dismayed by the change in style. On Fea Jur, nothing remains of Lye By Mistake’s “core” side. In fact, much of the album could be considered metal-influenced-jazz, as opposed to the opposite. The metal aspects conjure thoughts of Liquid Tension Experiment or the full-out prog traits of Between the Buried and Me, while the jazz flavors are clearly influenced by 70's fusion, most notably Al DiMeola (both in execution and that biting guitar tone). Whether the band leans more toward one side of their sound or fuses them, the results are constantly engrossing, and often quite brilliant.
Kicking off with “Big Red Button,” Lye By Mistake’s modus operandi is plain as day: constantly shifting compositions, adventurous guitar work, and nearly freeform work by the so-much-more-than-a-rhythm-section. Both the album-opener and “The Condition” lean more towards the fusion side of the band’s sound, with bursts of whacko prog metal tossed in to keep things dynamic. “Invincible Bad Ass” and “Vanguard To Nowhere” then reverse this approach. The latter is a nearly nine minute exercise in Middle-Eastern moods, woven guitar harmonies, math rock, a touch of techno and jam rock, and a big time heavy climax. The following two songs, “Stag” and the title track, are basically variations on the first four, but are excellent in their own right.
A nice acoustic interlude then introduces “Money Eating Mary (Karaoke Remix),” the song of the album and one of the most badass exercises in instrumental metal this reviewer has heard in many a moon. The title alludes to the fact that the song was originally planned with vocals in mind, but this is nearly impossible to imagine. The entire song is a complete tour de force and really just one big long holy shit moment from beginning to end, taking the elements introduced throughout Fea Jur and raising them all to legendary levels.
Alright, so Lye By Mistake may occasionally meander a bit, but this one issue is minimal and largely without consequence to the compositions. The bottom line is that these cats can flat play and are extremely entertaining while doing so. Josh Bauman’s guitar constantly defies the confines of standard key signatures. The bass work of Jonnie Pokket trades off being part of the rhythm section and harmony for Bauman. Drummer Max Tempo seems capable of just about anything, and on Fea Jur he seems to do just that. All of it is presented with a flawless production which helps each element and style come across crystal clear.
How much you will enjoy Fea Jur depends entirely upon your particular tastes. In no way am I suggesting that every reader should seek this out just because of that high score up there. To appreciate this, you really need to have a love of both metal and jazz. If the thought of Al DiMeola playing for Liquid Tension Experiment has the saliva flowing, then the current incarnation of Lye By Mistake is nothing less than essential listening, and certainly one of the year’s big surprises.
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