It’s time for another review that throws everyone’s favorite trigger word around with reckless abandon. A word with so many meanings that using it is akin to farting during a job interview or calling your significant other the wrong name. Progressive. Yes, The Room Colored Charlatan are a progressive deathcore band. Or are they? Over the course of the last few years and releases, the band have pushed square riffs into isometric structures – somehow coming away with something pretty cool each time. The Veil That Conceals is the next part of this band’s journey and it definitely goes somewhere. It’s just unclear what the scheduled destination was/is.
On this very site, an author who will go unnamed sang the praises of Primitive, Charlatan’s last record. Even with some serious vibes from The Contortionist camp, it hit hard and made use of electronics, clean vocals and proggy elements to make for a seriously fun romp. Further down the road, those comparisons can still be made but without as much whooping and hollering in tow. The hard hitting aspects have sat back while the breathy clean vocals and cold electronics sit firmly in the drivers side. Each of the first four tracks dither between modern prog metal riffing and new prog Cynic worship; heading off road with a couple of stop start riffs that flirt briefly with some kind of groove. It’s enjoyable and definitely catchy at it’s best. The pandering to and from just keeps it from showcasing any direct sense of purpose. It’s not quite enough just to “Exist in Abstraction”.
As mentioned, this record has moments worthy of appreciation and kind words. Churning open string grooves with machine stamped percussion leading the line: Fantastic. More of this please. The kind of jarring groove that a majority of so called tech bands break their guitar necks to muster comes easy to The Room Colored Charlatan. Oddly, of all the protracted segments overusing bleeps and bloops, the hot anticipation that the closing track builds up is also pretty awesome. Instead of trying to smash between styles, this one bleeds elegantly into a swirly, atmospheric closing section.This is where the electronics and vocal hoodoo take their turn at the wheel. They actually have presence in the mix, enough so that they don’t immediately become lost in the ether. Again, the latter moments of the record save face for everything else. “A Polarity” answers the question that The Room Colored Charlatan fans always had: “What would The Room Colored Charlatan sound like with Jonathan Carpenter?”
It’s not enough to give the road half your attention. The Veil That Conceals shows that. Instead of taking listeners on a great journey, to somewhere fresh and exciting, The Room Colored Charlatan somehow end up back where they began. Is it because of a deviation from their original destination or issues along the way that the common folk will never be privy to? Who knows. The only thing totally apparent is that a band threatening to really turn great have simply… not. This record is okay. Just not anything game changing.