Music is made differently today. When the mythos of the recording studios reigned supreme, with images of tables collapsing under the weight of drugs and the overall sensation of a cloister, writing music was a very physical experience. This method is still utilized today but, more often as technology advances, music is also made in other ways. For example, take Pedram Valiani (Sectioned) and his Frontierer, a mathcore band that defies all boundaries of the genre. On the drums sits the more comfortably geo-located Owen Hughes and on the guitar the like-wise proximate Dan Stevenson (all inhabiting the beautiful Scotland) but behind the microphone is one Chad Kapper (A Dark Orbit), who hails from the United States. Together, the trio make the most blistering, soul-searing mathcore around, channeling layers of static into an aggression that cannot be denied. And they do all of that from across the Atlantic, never once setting sight on the other’s beautiful face.
But that has changed. You see, one of the side affects of this new method of making music is the lack of ability to shepherd a live performance. Few bands make it out of “the bedroom studio”, a moniker which no longer makes any sense, and unto the stage. But Frontierer have managed just that, with Kapper flying all the way “across the pond” so that the band could play live at UK Tech Metal Fest 2016. Not only did they play that set but they also recorded it. Now, once again returning to the ether of the Internet, an anachronism if there ever was one, their full set is available for our eyes and ears and boy, is it glorious. The sound quality is without peer and the video unveils a band somehow cohesive, an impressive feat considering the distances which usually lie between them.
What can you expect, if you’ve never heard Frontierer before? Well, for starters, a technicality whose transition into the live setting is downright jaw-dropping. The meters and time signatures utilized on the album are nothing like symmetrical and the cohesion with which the band perform these intricate beats is astounding. None of the aggression is lost however; as the band perform “Cascading Dialects” for example, one of the best songs on the album, the brutality of their delivery is chilling. Kapper’s interaction with the crowd is especially exquisite as he dots the furious “the tone of what they say will make me shift” with repeated interaction with the audience. Note as well the transition at the end of the track, a brave and clever use of static which is utilized throughout the show to signify the tracks. These create a rolling momentum, stitching the whole performance together.
It’s hard to overstate how impressive all of this is. Playing live is a difficult feat not often appreciated by the fans. The sheer amount of hours which go into rehearsal towards a tight and convincing show are mighty enough but consider sound checks, gear setup, transportation and much more. That Frontierer has managed to pull this off with such a distance between them, and that their perseverance and dedication to their music has bridged that distance, is truly admirable. Such dedication, often lacking from would-be musicians, should be lauded by the entire community. How do we do that? Share this like crazy and make sure Frontierer cannot be ignored on the world stage; hopefully, this expedition leads to many more live shows.