Schizophrenic and maniacally beautiful, Between The Irony the debut from Serbian metallers Spring and Youth is one of those releases which will have as many running and crying for their mothers as it will have those cutting off ears in the ultimate act of adoration to its psychotic charms. The album is a disorientating and scintillating investigation of avant-garde and experiment progressive metal, a dive into unpredictability and creative mayhem which only gives the richest, deepest pleasures and rewards.
Best described as a mutated pool of essences seeping from the insatiable union of Mike Patton and Mr Bungle, Dog Fashion Disco, Diablo Swing Orchestra, and Parisians 6:33, the eight track release is an exhilarating maybe even bewildering triumph which given time seduces the passions into a lustful compliant subservient. The album certainly needs numerous plays before working its insidious charms, the first encounters throwing thoughts and senses so off kilter they need a tow truck to return home, but once connected Spring and Youth emerges as a thoroughly compelling and invigorating visitation.
Comprising of vocalist Marko Stojanović, guitarist Filip Mladenović, bassist Ivan Vasić, pianist Darko Varga, and drummer Darko Đurić, Spring and Youth and its members came together over a few years, many from different directions and musical sources to combine for something unique. With a 2008 released demo introducing the band name and the current line-up in place from 2011, the Beograd based band stepped into a Belgrade studio last year to create their first web of sonic and aural design, some might say conspiracy. Recorded, mixed, and mastered by Goran Crevar, Between The Irony is an imaginative explosion between the ears, a tantalising and teasing test of the willingness to venture through devious asides and devilish ingenuity brought with a creative will that is warped at best and satanic in the extreme, but such an arousing and galvanic journey it emerges to be.
The brief instrumental Kidd Prelude opens up the Pandora’s Box of sonic manipulation first, the piece a short but impacting fire of merciless drum beats and technically driven riffs stalking the senses with an ever shifting and undulating pace, and time signatures coaxed by enticing keys giving just a hint of what is too come. Reaching its thickest potency the track seamlessly twists into the following Two Orangeez. Now things really get interesting. Initial contact is a charge of carnivorous riffs and punching beats which quite rapidly dance and leap about as if on a hot tin roof whilst the expressive thought exploiting keys of Varga evoke emotive teases amongst the almost duelling clean and growling vocals led by Stojanović. Littered with djent provocation and classically honed piano narratives, the song exhausts and bewitches leaving the listener enflamed with emotions, thoughts…possibly bamboozled ones, and blissful pleasure. As mentioned this is not going to be for all but if you want mystique, mystery, and madness in your aural food than this first song alone will have lust raising its head.
The following Heavy off of a great hollow bass grilling erupts into another seismic exploration of mind and limitations, the rabidity of imagination and ever twisting invention a welcome curse on the senses though the vocals are not as successful as on the previous track. Melodrama sows its seeds throughout to be reaped by the arguably over the top delivery of Stojanović and watered by the emotion painting keys, but when the raptorial muscles and appetite of the song turns on the listener with metal nostrils flaring and jaw ripping chunks out of air and synapses the track is a lethal ingenious lunacy.
The equally extensive in length and depth Feetless next stands up to either send fear or enthrallment into the listener, the jazz lisping keys and delirious guitar bedlam as intoxicating and frenetically unbalancing as they are the bearers of irresistible fascination and adventure. Once more you feel like you are in a nightmare of rapacious beauty and voracious insanity as the song wraps its spellbinding tentacles around mind and passions but only face it with the intent to devouring all on offer.
The erratically rousing and quite brilliant Muriatic and As Fast As Possible with its kin of mesmeric gracefulness and ferocious antagonism within the continuing lyrical and underlying drama, conjure up more inventive splendour whilst the short piano instrumental Play brings some kind of a return to rationality before the closing Four And A Half spends nine minutes leading the listener into another deranged and ambrosial flight of progressive craft and metallic forcefulness brought through a rabid web of psyched imagination.
Spring and Youth with Between The Irony has brought all the evidence and promise that they will take the major stage by storm at some point. At times the songs probably exceed their time and debatably there is so much going on that the amount of visits needed to decipher things will put too many off but the bottom line on the album is that it induces euphoria that most bands can only dream of. Up for a challenge? Then this is a must!
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