Rarely a month goes by without a review being written about a band that is meshing previously estranged styles and carving their own little niche in the heavy music world. It has been interesting to observe this trend from the aspect of a music writer, seeing bands from all corners of the world experiment with different styles in similar manners. It is a musical movement just like all of the others that came before and has been yielding some of the most interesting, dynamic and heavy music to date.
Telepathy is a band who have been perfecting their own experiments in the dark basements of the UK, culminating in their debut album, “12 Areas”. While a lot of bands I have written about recently have been doping sludge with vicious elements of hardcore, noise and punk, Telepathy take a slightly more regal approach, mixing in major elements of progressive and post metal to their crushing concoction.
Let’s just clear this out right now. “12 Areas” is a fucking good album. Actually scratch that, it’s fucking good. A balanced onslaught of downtuned grooves and grandiose instrumentation, sounding not unlike a combination of Vildhjarta and Russian Circles. Telepathy’s sound is majestically threatening like an arctic hurricane boiling across the ice, leaving behind frozen carcasses and ruined homes.
All of the grooves and melodies carry a sense of deliberateness about them. The pacing is slow and thoughtful, more akin to the drudge of heavy machinery than a stampede of wild animals. There is no frenetic charge through a grab-bag of distorted riffage, Telepathy hammer out their notes and let them hang there, driving the point deep into your spinal column.
Their album builds in intensity, with the ambient intro “Hypnos” leading into a barrage of djent-bounce riffs, blast beats and staccato guitars on “Saccade”. It hits heavy and deep, with a clean and formidable low-end, unlike the beastial distortion that underlines most of their contemporaries. Carefully placed riffs are emphasized with low rolls from the bass drum, lending their guitars lines a tangible weight.
Each track gets successively heavier and more disturbed than the last; patches of distortion begin to show as cracks in the previously glossy surface as the instrumentation delves into darker and more experimental zones. “Cystine Knot” and “Sleepwalker” both begin to show this violent swell as more and more interesting grooves and textures start to get blended in.
The instability reaches a head in “Breath-Motion”, one of my favorite tracks from this release. A weird animal of scintillating guitar lines underlined by off-kilter chug riffs and brief flurries of blast beats; this is one hell of a good time. It’s also one of the heaviest and most distorted tracks, flitting between crackling guitar tones, split-second gallops and ending awash in drawn-out waves of white noise.
“Deluge” is another ambient breather in the same vein of the album opener. It gives you time to slow the backspin on your brain and flip the volume a bit higher for the closer, “To Kiss the Ocean’s Floor”. The aggression of the previous tracks is tempered out with post-metal tangents and ambient interludes, offering up the most cohesive and varied song on the album.
Lastly, a small but minor point, Telepathy did the right thing and kept the entire album instrumental. For me, nothing drags you out of a gorgeous moment of musical immersion like throwing in some clean or ethereal vocals where they don’t damn belong. Besides, when your instrumentation is this good, that’s all the voice you need.
This style of metal (post-djenty-epic-leaning) has never been one to really grab me by the hair and stand me up straight. “12 Areas” is an album that does just that and is an almighty entry from a band that is just hitting their stride.
“12 Areas” will be released on May 5th through Devouter records. Links, streams and an alien civilization lie below.