Ah geez, we just spoke about controlled chaos and now we have to go back there again. One of the first genres to explore the power of putting subtle structure on top of flamboyant turmoil was jazz; that’s basically it’s entire raison d’etre. Since then, many younger genres have turned to it for ideas on how to understand music, an ultimately systematized affair, through a wilder lens. Progressive rock, math rock, post rock, and even thrash and death metal, have all suckled at the teat of one of the modern progenitors of music as we know it when they came to dance with unpredictable fire. To that prodigious chain of students and practitioners of the power inherent in the splicing of jazz, we can now add SEIMS.
The measure of the chaotic band is, ironically, how much order they inject into their basic pandemonium and how they inject it. Based on that measure, Spires of the Lunar Sphere is one of the more interesting bands operating in metal today. Their 2015 debut, Pangea Ultima, was a shocking experiment in what happens when you turn the dial on discord almost as far as it can go; it blended glitch electronics, metalcore, grind-like aggression and video game music into one challenging whole. One album is fine and all; it was certainly impressive and, perhaps even more surprisingly, highly enjoyable. But the true test is whether Spires of the Lunar Sphere could do it again (and again), proving that they actually had control over the chaos and that their first effort wasn’t a fluke. Well, was it?
What I like about progressive stoner is that it melds groove and intricacy with the distortion coated vibes of stoner metal. It keeps things interesting, helping the often bogged down genres surrounding doom and stoner remember dynamism and variety. Which is exactly what Stonebirds are all about; these guys play a version of progressive stoner which relies on big guitar tones, thick bass and a drawl on the vocals reminiscent more Chris Cornell than Ozzy Osbourne. Their recently released Only Time, while not a trendsetter per se, an interesting take on the track structure that often becomes too stale even in this, more diverse, version of stoner. Check out “Sacrifice” below as an example.