Explosive Decoy Humans
25th August 2015 – Self-released
01. Creation Ends
03. Lost Within The Great Timescape
04. The Weight Of An Ocean
05. Transient (ft. Andy Eisen)
Strap yourself in: this is going to be a bumpy ride.
With members past and present of Monolith favourites Cyclamen featuring in their personnel, Transient – Explosive Decoy Humans‘ debut EP – was never likely to be a straightforward listen. After twenty-five minutes of headbendery, it can leave you feeling like you’ve been locked into a washing machine on fast spin that has then been pushed down a flight of stairs made from trampolines. You have been warned.
Explosive Decoy Humans are an international affair, with members in the States, the UK and Germany, but the inclusion in the line up of Aled Lloyd means that they have not had to resort to programmed drums. Given the hyper-complex nature of the five tracks that comprise this debut release, this is no mean feat.
The band don’t waste any time on introductory pleasantries, launching straight into opening track “Creation Ends” at full tilt. Cyclamen themselves are an obvious and inevitable sonic touchstone, but elements of Candiria, The Red Chord, SikTh and even early Between the Buried and Me can also be heard as the band lurch and vault their way through the songs.
There are a couple of surprises in the recipe that immediately leap out, even during those rather disorienting first listens. Todd Seibert’s bass sits remarkably prominently in the mix, with a distinctive bright tone. Vocalist Lindsay Templeton shares his microphone time between the de rigueur bellowing and an almost mournful croon. This is tech-metal, but not quite as you’ve heard it before.
With flurries of notes, extended meter riffs, sudden time and tempo changes and labyrinthine song structures, getting to grips with Transient is not a straightforward affair, but with each successive listen the jagged pieces fall more clearly into place. The realisation that, whilst there are hooks in the music, they rarely hang around for more than a couple of repetitions, is a helpful one.
For fans of the technical, there’s plenty of meat to chew on in Transient, even if it might be just a little bit too chaotic for others. It’s obvious that, as a collective, Explosive Decoy Humans have a significant amount of talent, and they’ve given their creative juices free reign on their first release.
Writing cohesive songs of this complexity with the inconvenience of the Atlantic Ocean separating members is a challenge, and unfortunately one that is not always met with the tracks on offer here. There’s clearly heaps of potential in the group, but the individual songs aren’t quite distinct enough which, coupled with their winding structures, does mean they rather blur into one another.
Nevertheless, it’s still early days for Explosive Decoy Humans, and there’s little doubt that future releases will be a bit more focused. Transient seems to be the product of a band exploring their sound, and the results will almost certainly be honed in the future. With a number of distinctive twists in their ambitious proposition, that’s a genuinely exciting prospect.