Logan Mader has had a long a pretty successful career since Machine Head.
Whereas many will remember an oft-mocked run with Soulfly, the reality is that his last decades have mostly been spent as an in-demand producer for no less than Gojira, WASP, Fear Factory and dozens more.
Even at that, hearing him back out front with the guitar is arresting. I didn’t know this was his band; it was only when making a bee line to find out who the guitarist was I realised it was him.
(There werent any harmonics sounding over the riffs, and he’s changed his vibe considerably.)
But it must be said – the skill of his rhythm guitar on this is surprising.
If you haven’t heard Once Human before, they’re like a groovy, dark djent with atmosphere supplied by wailing leadlines over the riffs. Futuristic sounding, dystopian and energetic.
What’s cool is that Mr Mader is everywhere on the lower and indeed upper halves of the fretboard. Backwards, forwards, up, down. Not a phrase goes by without some unexpected finger wrangle.
The same can be said for the beats as well. Take a track like ‘Gravity’ or ‘Eye Of Chaos’. Both have an alien, Borg feel during their moodier moments, turning on a pin head into a good hair throwing 4/4 chug.
As modern and crisp metal goes it’s pretty cool.
Mader seems to have been influenced by the new school of guitar djent all the way from Cloudlicker to Disperse, and some of the sections are undeniably pounding (‘Dark Matter’) coming from a slightly more Deathcore lean.
It must be noted that Lauren Hart puts in a similarly impressive shift on the vocals. Way more brutal than Angela Gossow, her growl is pretty convincing, even if it wants for a slight bit of variation every now and again.
It shouldnt take into the excellent ‘Paragon’, six tracks in, for that glint of clean singing to emerge, as when it does, it’s very effective. Within her brief however, she’s pretty cool.
Logan Mader is possibly one of metal’s more unsung guitar heroes. He coined the sound and style of a certain moment in time, brief though it was – and no matter what that style went on to become, few would deny the importance of ‘Burn My Eyes’.
So to hear him back, two decades later, playing a much evolved style that’s as impressive technically as it is charged atmospherically, is proof that the man’s creative fires haven’t dimmed.
Quite the opposite, it would seem.
3.2 / 5 – Earl Grey ::: 07/03/17