The first thing to say about the Eyes And Ears EP from Canadian band Quartered, is it gives no real evidence to why the band self-describes themselves as progressive metal. Now genres and tags never truly represent the complete sound of a band but unless we have misunderstood what progressive metal is, it is no way the suggestion we would give to the potent sound running through the band’s release. Now call it alternative metal with a metalcore tendency and you are closer to the captivating persuasion fuelling a highly accomplished and satisfying proposition. Though not something rigorously unique, the Vancouver quartet’s sound stands as an individual incitement for ears and thoughts but most of all, it is simply potential soaked and highly enjoyable.
Quartered has earned an acclaimed reputation locally and further afield since its four friends came together around six or so years ago. Taking inspirations from the likes of Deftones, Tool, and Thrice, the band has become accustomed to praise for their live performances which has seen them play with the likes of Lamb of God, Testament , Slapshock, Bif Naked, Kobra and The Lotus, Ninjaspy, and Over The Coals through numerous festivals, tours, and shows. Their 2010 album Walks Like A Ghost equally garnered strongly positive responses and ensured that once news of Eyes And Ears broke, anticipation was fiercely keen.
The release opens with the excellent Blink Blink Flash, a track swiftly stirring up ears and appetite with its raw sonic entrance and coaxing. The guitar of Jeff Wang scorches the small hairs on flesh as it heads to the senses, laying down fine bait before the vocal roar of Greg Williams explodes with energy and passion alongside the rhythmic incitement of drummer Scotty Miller. It is a formidable start which only seems to find greater intensity as Williams explores his excellent clean delivery and the bass of Craig Rudder unveils its throaty drama. Twists in the vocal attack and jabbing hooks increase the intrigue and potency of the song and though it never explodes as it hints it might, the inventiveness and unpredictable tenacity of the song easily ignites imagination and passions. It is easy to feel the Deftones influence even in a song which is distinct to Quartered and it does the impressive protagonist no harm at all.
The following Call Me Crazy is a mellower proposition, melodies instantly wrapping ears within an evocative ambience before post hardcore like vocal and riffery adds its antagonism. It is a pungent beginning which loses some of its lure with the strong but not this time as striking smooth and melodic vocals, which in turn inspires a more relaxed pressure around them. When the song rages with nostril flared though, it is a mighty slice of provocation and another aspect to the promise of the band. Its successor Violent Love, like the first track, provides a virulent temptation and pleasure as a harsh caustic assault is merged with respectful and harmonious warmth. It works perfectly, the track at ease and full potency either snarling and gnawing on the senses or seducing them. It is fair to say that the band is not setting new templates with the song and their sound but for a thoroughly exciting and impressive incitement, it is an undeniable treat.
Speak of the Devil similarly provides a riveting and thrilling encounter, its melodic rock charm and more rugged angst fuelled passion a radiant and resourceful flame of craft and enterprise. Its captivation is succeeded by the infectious She Sees Colour, a catchy and emotive caress on ears which enchants and provokes satisfied emotions with Palms like vivacity. It is a song which again does not quite catch fire as it might but easily provides another major highlight on the increasingly impressing release.
Neither Take Me There Tonight nor Echoes can match what comes before, yet with its predacious touch and tone aligned to skilled musical and vocal design, the first of the pair makes for a compelling and persistently pleasing encounter. The second of the two is a flight of emotion and hungry endeavour which evolves from a gentle caress to a raw and caustic emotional rage. It also leaves thoughts and appetite hooked but pales against the qualities of earlier songs and the closing success of Ricochet.
The final song on the EP is the most groove infested encounter on the release, fusing that irresistible spice with the now expected excellently thought out and presented vocals amidst a commanding rhythmic framing courted by superb guitar invention. It is a powerful end to a strong and absorbing encounter. Though it is easy to feel there is more to come and be discovered by Quartered to really forge a unique place in metal, Eyes and Ears is an impressive step on the way and very easy to want to keep coming back to.
The self-released Eyes And Ears is available now @ http://quartered.bandcamp.com/album/eyes-and-ears
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