Mycelia – Apex

Rating: 3.5/5
Distributor/label URL: https://www.eclipserecords.com
Released: 2018
Buy Album: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Apex-Explicit-Mycelia/dp/B07FJWJ3TZ/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1536414647&sr=8-1&keywords=mycelia+apex
Band Website: https://www.facebook.com/myceliametal/

Band line-up:

Mike Schmid – Guitar
Mike Fuller – Guitar
Marc Trummer – Drums
Marc Fürer – Vocals
Lukas Villiger – Vocals
Eugen Wiebe – Bass

Tracklisting:

1. Eight Milligrams
2. Nefarious Seeds
3. Lawnmower Man
4. Once Upon A Lie
5. East Of Eden
6. Monolith
7. Holler
8. The Hateful Half-Dozen
9. Slip-Along Jack McTravis
10. Flak
11. E.V.A.
12. Cromulon
13. Timesick
14. Eight Milligrams (radio edit)

 

Review:

Mycelia are a Swiss six piece djent/metalcore band who keep their sound fresh by drawing on all kinds of influences from jazz to classic film scores. They have frequently surprised fans and critics with their complex material that is somehow still catchy. The musicians also produce work that is groovy and powerful with super-tight drumming. Clean hard rock vocal melodies that are followed by deafening screams are added to the mix. Their latest effort ‘Apex’, will be highly welcomed by fans, when released on 12th October.

I say the drumming is tight, that is partly because it is modified on computer. If you’re familiar with modern metal, somewhat robotic percussion will sound completely normal to you. However, Apex’s heavily edited and distorted guitars often made to sound like some kind of evil, harsh and rampant synthesiser may be harder for you to swallow. It wouldn’t be so bad if the extreme production wasn’t so relentless, indeed it would make a refreshing change every now and then to more traditional recording methods. However, Mycelia seem to write in a way that borders on musical chaos, without providing much needed contrasts.

Having said that, the band should be credited for pushing boundaries. Without such people, we would never have had blitzing death metal, ultra lo-fi black metal and painfully slow doom metal, and those genres turned out to be pretty successful, didn’t they? (Well, not so much doom metal). It might have actually been interesting if the band synthesised their vocals, too, to make something really alien and daring. Hell, some people might like it, but maybe not the masses.

Perhaps the biggest highlights on the album come from good old advanced yet old school musicianship. The exciting keyboard part at the end of ‘Once Upon A Lie’ features hundreds of notes, but every one is well thought out. The way the lead part builds tension without becoming monotonous or tiring is very clever and wouldn’t be out of place in a well respected prog metal band. The way an unrelated genre blends with all out, adrenaline fuelled death metal ideas is also worthy of respect.

In conclusion, this is noisy stuff. Some people like noisy stuff. If this was put on loud, I’m sure many would be very excited by it. However, if they listened to it on a lower volume and were forced to think about it, the production may come across as more noticeably weird and distracting. Furthermore, there isn’t too much variety in this album in terms of guitars. They’re very typical, chuggy and downtuned for the most part with high end dissonant squeals every now and then. The synthesisers and string parts sometimes heard with them, do add interest, but arguably not enough. This album is definitely worth getting if you like a good old futuristic mosh, but songwriting seems to have been in part neglected.

Review by Simon Wiedemann

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