[13th March 2014]
01. Hope For A Long Free Mean Path
02. Lumen Suum Reiecta
04. It Seemed So Distant
05. The Closing Of Your Eye
06. Are We Leaden Yet
07. And Symmetry Has Finally Broken Us
08. There Is Still Time
09. An Arcsecond Among Pioneers
10. …It Always Was
It has been hard to ignore the proliferation of one-man studio projects in the prog-djent sphere. Aside from big-hitters like Chimp Spanner and Cloudkicker, even TesseracT started its life as a collection of Acle Kahney‘s riffs circulating online. As the technology becomes ever more advanced, the term ‘bedroom producer’ feels unfairly amateurish, given the standards of quality that can now be achieved.
It is into this ever more crowded arena that London-based Miroist strides with debut full-length Curve. Having released the The Pledge EP in 2012, Miroist built enough support to run a modest crowdfunding campaign to pay for a limited vinyl pressing and some t-shirts, so he is not a completely unknown quantity, even if he does remain steadfastly anonymous.
If there is a problem with these types of projects at the moment, it is that many of them are using largely the same kit, with the same patches and so often end up sounding alarmingly similar. Miroist sets himself apart from much of the pack by introducing the dreamier soundscapes of post-metal to the more standard tech-prog mix.
Built around a skeleton of down-tuned, syncopated chug, the tracks are positively bathed in reverb-heavy atmospherics which would probably stand up as a credible ambient album in their own right. The influence of TesseracT, Monuments and Chimp Spanner obviously looms large, but the post-metal elements give the tracks more of an ethereal quality.
The other benefit of huge waves of sound is that they blur the edges of the riffs somewhat, making the sound feel more natural and less clinical than many band-in-a-box efforts. The riffs themselves are pleasingly chunky, and contain a number of deft little moments that allow Curve to confidently walk the border between heavy and mellow. On stand-out tracks like “29%,” the results are positively triumphant.
The drums, whilst clearly programmed, also feel fluid and natural rather than robotic. Whilst they could be plausibly recreated by a live drummer, they unfortunately lack the truly inventive spark that the right percussionist could potentially have provided.
These issues are further compounded by the bass, which is practically invisible. It does little more than mirror the guitars, adding a little bit of extra heft, where an interesting counter-melody could have lifted these tracks to even greater heights.
Curve is, therefore, not quite as absorbing as it may first appear, yet to call it ‘good background music’ still feels like damning it with faint praise somewhat unfairly. The album certainly sets up Miroist as a guitarist/producer to be reckoned with and it is a league ahead of much of the competition in this field.
In an interview with Metal Mouth recently, Miroist talks about the next step being to try to take Curve into the live environment. It is entirely possible that the addition of a dedicated and imaginative rhythm section could well be the key to unlocking their true potential, and letting the tracks really soar.