Jokes aside, we should all be grateful to be alive during these times. Music-wise, we couldn’t have asked for better conditions; the Internet, mainly, serves as a superb tool for the discovery of new bands. Usually, those bands are simply nice, adding much needed volume to our rotations. However, once in a while, you stumble across something truly unique, something you wouldn’t have found without the Internet.

Thus, we present to you Of Modern Architecture‘s sophomore effort, Wilderness. It rests in an exquisite focal point encompassing death metal, metalcore, hardcore and excellent production. Displaying an intimate knowledge of the strong points of each of its influences, it manages to capitulate on all of them to create a singular, powerful record that is much more than the sum of its thirty and change run time.

From the first sounds, its clear we’re in for something unique. ‘Savages’, the opening track, goes in no direction one would have expected. It starts off with heavy growls and guitars, leading one to expect perhaps a blackened death release. However, the intriguing bass segment quickly introduces smashes any anticipation to bits. Nor does the track satisfy itself with one change; it repeatedly crosses between these two polarities, going from heavy to melodic and back again, constantly.

Second track ‘Vita Mortem’ and third track ‘Bearskin’, both represent the metal/hard-core segment of the album.  The first is more melodic, echoing the influences of Misery Signals or The Safety Fire. The second does away with the slower paced breakdowns, erupting from the get-go into furious hardcore drumming and screamed vocals. However, both somehow manage to present the same amount of proficiency, even though they evoke very different timbres.

Perhaps that’s what most stand outs about this album. Usually, bands that blend so many genres into one tend to operate from within a comfort zone. From there, one genre or sound that they’re most comfortable with, they allow themselves to reach out and transmute their music. with Wilderness though, we’re hard pressed to locate such a zone. The band sound secure and proficient with whatever direction they choose to take.

‘Cave Dweller’ and ‘Mountains’, the last two tracks if we ignore a short transition track, might perhaps elucidate a possible comfort zone. They are alike the first track but much more cohesive, reminding one of Colors era Between the Buried and Me. Despite our want for a core sound however, this doesn’t really work too well: the slow passages on ‘Cave Dweller’ are too doom, hinting subtly at a Mastodon or Red Fang influence and the expansive bass and guitars of ‘Mountains’ hark back to both the metalcore and hardcore of tracks gone by.

Eventually, it perhaps dawns on one that the search for a clear definition, some sort of center from which Of Modern Architecture, is perhaps desired but not necessarily appropriate. It seems that we are faced with a band that are able to work as superb musicians do: with the music they want to create rather than from the music they can create. This enables them to execute perfectly any type of influence and work them into an album that is much more satisfying and impressive than others twice its length.

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Of Modern Architecture’s Wilderness gets…

4.5/5

-EK

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