The Matador

Descent Into The Maelstrom

01. Kingdom Of Glass
02. Parallax Error
03. Eclipse
04. The Woman Clothed In The Sun With The Moon Under Her Feet
05. Vurt

[04/21/11]
[Independent]

Anyone familiar with the work of Edgar Allen Poe might note the title of Australian post-metal outfit The Matador‘s debut EP Descent Into The Maelstrom, which is a direct nod to one of his short stories of the same name. If you’re anything like me, this reference to one of literature’s greats, in combination with the ravens incorporated in vocalist Daniel Godson’s beautiful cover artwork, will have you somewhat intrigued to find out if the music is as good as this seminal influence.

Interestingly, although indeed an influence, The Matador have the sense to take only what they need – to let the work inform them, rather than dictate the musical and lyrical direction.

The concept of the record is based around the titular story, but rather than lynching the tale itself, Godson has played with the themes it brings up; the metaphorical descent into madness, portrayed by a ship sinking into a whirlpool, and the melancholy associated with the battle for survival. Although dark and aggressive, the EP actually carries a positive message; nothing so trite as “it’s all going to be okay, don’t worry”, but instead being able to recognise your flaws and work towards your betterment – for your own benefit, which is certainly something I can get behind.

The tone of the music carries this melancholy perfectly. The lustrous opening notes of “Kingdom of Glass” suggest some sort of post-rock shenanigans; the organic tone disarms you at first, but the beautiful execution suggests that you are indeed in for something special, and they doth deceive you not. The distorted guitars and howls of vocalist Godson soon make their presence felt, however, and the more serene sections serve only to juxtapose the latter, increasing their effectiveness all the more.

Parallax Error” is a small, but perfectly formed slice that encapsulates the essence of this dichotomous sound in just under four minutes – the shortest of the tracks. Whilst the music in general could never be accused of being ‘hurried’, this song’s pulse-pounding primary riff serves to both set heads banging and to help build the tone, which moves through a couple of really clever movements despite the length, and is hugely satisfying as a result.

Godson’s vocals deserve a huge tip of the hat. His harsh vocals evince the likes of Aaron Turner and Steven Brodsky, having a strained caustic edge to them that accentuates the more aggressive sections of the EP to a tee. Almost a polar opposite to this, some of the clean vocals are just sublime; his voice soaring to fantastic heights, either prominently or to accentuate the instrumental sections – much of “The Woman Clothed In The Sun With The Moon Under Her Feet” and the mid-sections of “Vurt” and the aforementioned “Parallax Error” immediately spring to mind.

I’ve been bandying around the high end of the score-scale for a while now, but I honestly can’t find anything wrong with Descent Into The Maelstrom. I really can’t recommend this EP enough, and if I have anything to do with it, these guys are going to get the following they deserve. Check them out or I will kick each and every one of you in the nuts.

The Matador’s Descent Into The Maelstrom gets:

5/5

– CG

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