One of the most consistently difficult and frustrating things about covering music that falls into the buckets of math rock, fusion, prog, and more is that a central and foundational tenet of that music - complexity - also ends up being the very thing that is the music's undoing. Fans can (and do) constantly obsess over how many unusual time signatures a song packs in as a proportional measure of how great that music is, but so often in the pursuit of the most head-spinning riffs, polyrhythmic grooves, and impenetrable song forms, what most frequently is lost is the music itself and whether it's actually worth listening to. There's nothing wrong with complexity and complicated music, but if there isn't an adequate payoff for the time and patience required to "understand" it then what exactly are we doing here?
It's been a while since we've written one of these columns, and that's not because we dislike them. Past a certain point it starts to become more difficult to find important bands representing or making waves in a certain genre or sub-genre and finding a group of similar or tangentially-related bands to recommend. Up to this point though we haven't really written one of these posts as essentially a response or plea to listeners. Sometimes bands who execute a certain style or sound garner a lot of critical and popular praise to the point of being credited with some sort of innovation or something radically different from anything else out there when the reality is far from that. It's rarely the fault of the bands themselves though as they don't give themselves that kind of credit, but once in a while it's important for someone to politely correct consensus thinking and offer a little more context, and that is exactly what we're going to do here and now with the debut album from metal/jazz fusion band Nova Collective.