The sad fact is that the genres dubbed as “progressive” are fast growing stale. In spite of several amazing releases in the past two years, the progressive moniker nowadays is overused. It’s more than overused; it often signifies laziness. Whether uninspired “djent” or music full of ideas explored years ago by Dream Theater and their ilk, bands tagged with progressive usually hide very little beneath initial encounters. While some of them might hold my attention for more than a few tracks, nearly none of them bear any sustained gaze.
It was my absolute pleasure then to stumble over Eschar a while ago. Yes, a good while ago; life has prevented me from presenting you these geniuses earlier. And genius is the word I want to use for Nova, their latest release. Genius implies more than just talent but also an effortless to the execution of that talent. Nova is not only an interesting album, it’s also an album that’s a joy to listen to because everything meshes together perfectly. Head on over the jump for an example of that.
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From the first infectious riff of “Contact Light” to the dreamy, post-rock infused ending, this track just flows. Integral to that flow is the perfect production and mix, giving the bass and drums their own space to live while still allowing the many guitar parts to be heard. Over all, and as far as instrumental progressive albums go, this track is not only great but also professional. All angles in sound and delivery have been covered.
The rest is true for the entire album. From the Scale the Summit like riffs of “Monolith” to the more technical aspects of “Discovery One” (perhaps reminding us of Pomegranate Tiger at certain points) or on the somber, bass laden passages of “Falling Faintly Through The Universe”, this album is a fully fleshed, fully realized product. In the world of bands bearing the progressive burden, that’s a rare commodity indeed. End of the line, this is what albums should sound like: well written yes and with interesting ideas to boot but also polished, joined together and delivered to perfection.