Though at times it is uncertain what to make of some elements of Nova, the new album from Swiss metallers Mycelia, the ultimate outcome is a release which leaves the senses alive and thoughts through to passions empowered by the riveting and superbly crafted confrontation. A fusion of progressive and technical metal, the nine track album takes the listener on an enthralling and impressive escapade through sonically carved ventures fuelled by uncompromising melodic and djent invention.
Founded in 2010 by guitarist Mike Schmid and drummer Marc Trummer in the idyllic Swiss mountain town of Le Croix, Mycelia using inspirations from the likes of The Human Abstract, Meshuggah, and The Dillinger Escape Plan was soon creating potent songs. The line-up expanded soon after with the addition of vocalist Marc Fürer, second guitarist Patrick Küng, and bassist Roy Sonderegger. Two digital EPs and shows supporting bands such as Carnifex, Veil of Maya, Suffokate, and Maroon followed as the band built an impressive reputation in the metal scene of their homeland. Debut album Isolator arrived in 2012 to greater acclaim and reception though not long after Küng departed the band. Remaining as a quartet the band worked on writing their second album which they started recording in the latter part of the year with Clawfinger guitarist Jocke Skog at the controls. Seemingly investigating the depths and expanse between bands from The Human Abstract, The Faceless, and Meshuggah to those like Between the Buried and Me, Nova emerges as a riveting exploration which though not flawless leaves a very hungry appetite for the band behind.
The album opens with the towering Shmashmortion, the track immediately standing tall and wide before the ear with crushing kinetic rhythms, grievous throaty bass snarls, and ravaging riffs with sonic grooving twisted around their sinews. With great and varied guttural growls squalling over the whole thing as well, it is an intimidating invitation which leaps with expulsions of raptorial intensity directly on to the senses, chewing them feverishly as the guitars dance tight melodic flames over all surfaces. Leaving breath an absentee in the lungs, the song is a scintillating fury to set passions off in tandem with the absorbing corrosive assault.
The following Ectoparasite exercises the same brew of maelstrom bred rhythmic attack and sonic tantalising but in a distinctly different gait and stance. The bass and riffs prowl and provoke a menacing narrative to the venture but that eventually evolves into a mesmeric sultry weave of melodic grandeur and emotive manipulation before returning in union with the acidic beauty. Though not as instantly dramatic as the first song it worms its charms into the heart and emerges as one of the many highlights of the release.
After the brief and refreshing instrumental Dopamine, the track a rhythmic dance within a heated sway of melodic ambience which allows its sinews to also add their potent textures, Nova takes another of numerous twists with C.O.R.P. and its invention. Ridden by less successful clean vocals which admittedly took time to adjust to, the track teases with some psyched grooves and devouring rhythms veining another devious web of sonic enterprise which seduces the ear and emotions with ease, the technical flare beguiling without being flamboyant. Intriguing and descriptive in its aural narrative, the song leads thoughts into the visual arms of a sultry and dangerous landscape leaving behind a lingering satisfaction.
The Timemasheen is odd, well in its appearance on the release. A mix of dubstep and trance metal it is a decent enough piece which grips limbs to do its bidding without igniting any real fire in the belly but is utterly out of place on the otherwise impressively creative album. Its touch is soon forgotten though as firstly the excellent instrumental Event Horizon with its predacious intensity and carnivorous rhythmically provoked riffing makes its appearance followed by the three part expanse of The Golden Ratio. The Golden Ratio – Prologue opens with a glorious kiss of classical keys and symphonic whispers before climatic drums and growing energy adds extra passion to each aspect. Bone gnawing riffs and flesh scorching grooves emerge to consume without completely dispersing the beauty as the piece pulls the listener into the heart of the sonic travelogue. The Golden Ratio – Interlude takes a moment to re-establish its classic lined grandeur before opening a torrid heat of rapacious malevolence to take the seduction to deeper depths, the pervading union realised to its fullest potency with The Golden Ratio – Epilogue.
It is a stunning three track conclusion declaring and investigating the rich lengths and textures of the songwriting and its immensely crafted interpretation. Nova even with its surprising and less successful moment is an album of the highest pleasure. Mycelia will be a major force in the future, whether this album is the accelerator is debatable but it gives the confidence to say it will happen at some point.
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