Prosthetic records is already having a banner year with releases by TRAP THEM, SCALE THE SUMMIT, BLACK SEPTEMBER, LAST CHANCE TO REASON and upcoming releases by SKELETONWITCH and LANDMINE MARATHON. You can add the debut full length release by WHITE ARMS OF ATHENA to the mix of memorable bands on the roster as this album definitely perked up my ears like an aural espresso. Sitting firmly at the cross roads of tech death/djent and prog this is a talented group with a high ceiling for artistry and talent. After listening to Astrodrama I can say firmly that they incorporate all these ideals and still keep it heavy.
Right out of the starting blocks “Evince” is a busy, tech death workout full of musical complexity and balanced with melody. Brutally hard and quite mature for a young band, the song has many micro movements and a flawless grasp of pulling and pushing tempos to the extreme. “Ascend” is next and is a short blast of fury and technicality that will immediately call to mind the Focus album by CYNIC. The jazzy bass and percussion ending coda is down right magical and shows what this band is capable of. “Creationed” begins with a genial wash of guitars before more prog metal explorations. The brutal parts definitely speak to the influence of MESHUGGAH on this band. Vocalist Josh Everett is really comparable to Tommy Rogers (BETWEEN THE BURIED AND ME) or even MAYNARD JAMES KEENAN at times and the entire band shred their ass off. Guitarists Andrew Swinson and Colin McDonell shred their assess off making the difficult passages sound easy. Every song has obtuse structures, spazzy lead guitars and textural intricacy that keeps things flowing nicely. “Recreationed” follows and is an epic track that encapsulates their style. Bassist Tom Sifuentes plays some tasteful lead parts where he takes charge. He is definitely from the Joe Lester (INTRONAUT) school of tone and playing what the song needs. The breathtaking instrumental “Crown Chakra” bristles with an almost old-school progressive rock feel while still remaining heavy. Let’s also not overlook the impressive stick work of percussionist Austin Rupp. You can just close your eyes and let the song transport you to a close encounter of the nerd kind. “Astral Body” is another brief instrumental track that is equal parts prog and tech death. The bass guitar heavy “In The Encephalon”, yet another instrumental is one of my favorite works of the entire album. This band could easily give ANIMALS AS LEADERS a run for their money. Furious, patient and grown: this is heavy mental music. The entire album is very strong on repeated listens, especially the title track. Some of the most transformative musical moments of 2011 can be found on this album.
By Keith (Keefy) Chachkes