The End Of Everything
11th March 2015 – Self released
01. The End Of Everything
02. Wombat Astronaut (Beyond The Burrow)
03. Paper Moon
There’s something innately pleasing about a well constructed trilogy. Recently we’ve seen Red Seas Fire complete their own series of three EPs, charting their progression over the last few years, and now it is the turn of Sydneysider Plini to do the same. The somewhat apocalyptically titled The End Of Everything joins Other Things and Sweet Nothings – both released in 2013 – to provide what is, effectively, a progressive metal concerto in three movements.
Those familiar with Plini’s previous work, be it the preceding EPs or assorted other releases, will know what to expect: sleek and futuristic progressive metal instrumentals overlaid with virtuoso-level lead guitar that have placed Plini in the premier league of the ‘bedroom guitarists’, alongside the likes of Chimp Spanner and Cloudkicker. Of course, that ‘bedroom’ classification is something of a loaded term, potentially damning with faint praise and conjuring images of plucky amateurs. But, as with things Chimp and Cloud, such assumptions with Plini would be seriously misplaced.
But this is not entirely a one-man endeavour. Whilst Plini himself steers the ship, laying down the outlines of the tracks, he has brought a number of other musicians on board to complete the sound. For starters, there is his long-standing relationship with pianist Luke Martin, who has contributed to all three EPs despite being UK based (thank heavens for the internet). But in addition to this, in a first for Plini, The End Of Everything also features a fully live rhythm section, in the form of Simon Grove on bass, and Marco Minneman on drums.
Whilst there was nothing intrinsically wrong with the programmed drumming on the previous EPs, Marco’s inspired contributions to The End Of Everything prove there really is no substitute for the human touch. Given a free rein to embellish the songs, the results are richer, fuller and more subtle, simultaneously lifting and complementing the base tracks laid down by Plini. The EP sounds so cohesive it verges on miraculous, considering the distinct possibility that the musicians involved in its creation have never been in the same physical location at the same time.
Were all this not enough, two of the three tracks that comprise the EP feature guest solos from the very cream of modern progressive metal: Chris Letchford of Scale The Summit and Jakub Zytecki of DispersE. Chris had already spoken publicly about his enjoyment of Plini’s work, and apparently pounced on the opportunity to contribute. That’s a high degree of endorsement, right there.
The cohesion of the sound extends to the songwriting, with the three tracks neatly following on from one another to give a genuine sense of progression over the relatively short runtime. After a suitably bombastic opening, the title track settles back into a gently bubbling groove, which is deftly accentuated by Marco’s snappy drumming. The fantastically named “Wombat Astronaut“, itself more of a collaborative effort with Luke, carries a vibe not dissimilar to a jazz outfit like EST, before “Paper Moon” brings the piece full circle back into more metal territory.
On its own, The End of Everything is almost devastatingly short, but combined with its sister releases, it provides a fitting grand finale to a showcase of a quite remarkable talent. Whilst the technical musicianship on display throughout is exemplary, there is still plenty to engage and absorb listeners beyond the scope of a masterclass in stunt guitar acrobatics. The End Of Everything is a genuine journey. It is progressive in the most literal sense of the word, transporting the listener to a place far beyond that which they might reasonably expect to reach in less than twenty minutes.
So, with the broader journey of this trilogy now complete, one question remains: where to next?