It’s good to get an album where you’re sort of stumped to list the influences.
Good, because you have to describe what they’re trying to do.
I wouldnt call Erosion ‘prog’ as such. Yes, they have elements: beats out of place, an everything but the kitchen sink policy on riffing, high fallutin’ concepts.
It’s just much more approachable than prog proper. Like a mix of Alter Bridge, A Perfect Circle, Avenged Sevenfold and Nevermore, if those disparate sounds could ever really be pasted on to one another. And then there’s a real smack of good ol’ alt in it as well.
It’s characterised mostly by the high strains of drummer / vocalist Mark Stewart soaring over a kaleidascope of chunky riffs that sometimes works and sometimes doesnt – but that mostly does.
They’re good players. The guitars are classy, the drums are on point and the bass is thick.
By far one of the best tracks is the oddly named ‘GAOG’, which drives forward with an expansive 4/4 chug that gives space to the vocals to really shine.
It’s another track where the stylistic melange is apparent again: there’s an almost ‘Roots’-era Sepultura groove that comes in between sections of what you’d call pure old rock.
Then a solo section that’s pure Joe Satriani from around ‘The Extremist’. The tonal borrow might under normal circumstances be called derivative, but its so close to the original that I’m more impressed than anything.
Reaching high often means they don’t quite get there by a smidgen, and ‘Cast My Shadow’ probably needed to become a bit more cohesive before making it onto the album. But that’s remedied with songs like ‘Xenocide’ which do successfully boil down exactly what it is they’re trying to do.
Midway through we get a nice woozy chill out from ‘Medicate My Head’, in which one can certainly hear the strains of Pantera’s ‘Floods’ (is it the picking pattern?) before their heavy bit crashes in.
Not having seen them live I’d be curious to see how drummer Mark Stewart handles all these vocal energies live. Both his drums and vocals show an impressive dexterity, or at least the desire to be dextrous, which cant be an easy thing to pull off.
And even the rather ambitious ten tracks dont take too long to pass, given the variety on show. Stuff like ‘The Eclipsed’ round the back of the album add melodic variety and tonal differentiation. Good stuff.
It’s verging on the prog, it’s detailed and heavy. So in theory it should be right up my own particular street. Being honest though, they just need to be a bit more brutal in some of their songwriting sessions and trim serious fat off some of the songs.
There are riffs that didnt quite need to happen, songs that meander just a stretch too much. Songs like ‘Cast My Shadow’ really should have been passed through the quality control machine at a much earlier stage.
But I admire their ambition, and when it works, it works. It’s a very interesting stylistic mix that few are trying, so I’d urge at least a listen or two.
– Earl Grey ::: 07/02/18