You probably haven’t heard of Dutch Avante-garde prog metal band Schizoid Lloyd, which is a shame, as their two previously released EPs, Virus in 2009 and Circus in 2010, were incredible slices of metallic weirdness that blended the humorous stylings of Queen, Mr. Bungle and Frank Zappa, as well as a long and diverse list of more subtle influences (their Facebook page’s influences section is extensive and covers everything from Gorguts to Kanye West), resulting in something as unique as it is strange. This past year, the band finished work on their debut album and announced their signing to Finnish label Blood Music.
The band’s debut, appropriately titled The Last Note in God’s Magnum Opus, is a monstrous slab of progressive metal that’s not afraid to go some very strange places, and while it can be cacophonous at times, the songwriting is good enough to hold together tunes that wouldn’t work if written and played by less skilled musicians. Songs like “Suicide Penguin” and “Avalanche Riders” careen from riff to riff while the rest of the band rides alongside. It’s all incredibly breathless and odd, but not without subtlety and emotional depth. The most surprising part of this record, in fact, is it’s ability to be catchy and emotional without losing an ounce of technical or compositional depth.
That’s not to say that this is an album for casual listening or the uninitiated. The sheer amount of musical “stuff” going on at once can make your head spin if you’re not used to bands like Mr. Bungle or Diablo Swing Orchestra and their propensity for offbeat histrionics. Even so, going in with an open mind and no expectations beyond “Things are going to get weird” should allow almost anyone to appreciate the virtuosity on display. The multiple vocal stylings from three of the musicians are almost akin to Mastodon, if they spent way too much time listening to Queen and doing cocaine. Even at it’s most blisteringly odd, however, the compositions are rock solid and so tightly played it’s enjoyable to listen to even if you can’t get a handle on what’s going on, in much the same way riding a rollercoaster blazed out of your mind is enjoyable.
Schizoid Lloyd wear their influences on their sleeves. Queen is evident in the vocal melodies and harmonies, Frank Zappa in the guitar compositions and Mr. Bungle in the song titles and bizarre atmosphere, but the band manages to take all these disparate pieces and craft an album that not only feels cohesive, but is both fun to listen to and possessive of a character all it’s own. These six Dutchmen are certainly no amateurs on their instruments or newcomers to the genre, and they manage to check all the boxes as well as go above and beyond and deliver something that feels fresh in a genre that can often feel burdened by it’s own strangeness and need to stay one step ahead of everything else. The Last Note in God’s Magnum Opus is fantastic, and it would be a shame if this was the last note from this band.
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Schizoid Lloyd’s The Last Note In God’s Magnum Opus gets…