Before we begin, yes: this is the second band with “fox” in its name that I’ve told you to listen to in the past two weeks. Why? How? There is no answer; god is dead and the universe is infinitely weird and we should rejoice. Cosmic rejoicing aside, let’s get to our subject at hand and it is the delectable fusion/instrumental metal of Fox Vibes. Delectable how? In the sense that the excess which so often plagues this genre and its brethren (think the infinite leads of nu-prog or the unnecessary forced time changes of most fusion metal bands) is completely absent from their EP, Mantra. From start to finish, these are cleverly and sparsely composed ditties, fun excursions into the world of captivating and sweet metal. Go listen already, will you?
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God, I love this track so much. From the opening guitar lines to the sweet synth break near the end, “Hawaiian Snow” does exactly what it set to do which is make you rock. And then, it ends! Instead of unwinding into superfluous iterations, the track retains its strength by being short and sweet. So too the rest of the album. Take the following track, “Baby, I Invented the Disco” as an example: it has all the hallmarks of Animals as Leaders worship except one, namely that same excess we mentioned above. Great nu-prog guitar parts mingle with djent-y passages, dream-like synths (synths which make an appearance on almost every track and enrich the album incredibly with their tones) and expressive drums and then the track just ends.
Mantra then is an exploration of everything this genre can be and it’s damn good for it. While its short runtime definitely leaves you wanting more (seriously guys, make more music, pronto), that is infinitely preferable to the alternative of the bloated sensation albums from this style often leave you with. Fox Vibes show that, as a young band, they know what they want and they know how to express it well, in just the right amount of passages. Go throw some money at them, will you?