Part of the joy of being around during the current wave of prog metal bands has been discovering new acts. Prior to this album review, I had never heard of New York based prog metal act Fall of the Albatross (abbreviated as FotA for the rest of this review), but their latest album “Rite” has been a joy to listen to.
The band describes themselves as “Progressive Technical Jazz Mathcore”, I suppose that’s a pretty accurate summation of what you’ll experience during the roughly 32 minutes that this 8 song album encompasses. A track like “Seance” bounces back and forth between quiet melodic moments and frenetic blast beats with one of the best bass parts I’ve heard in a long time. The brutal “Glucose Guardians” is a frantic song, with lots of typical metal core riffs that attack the listener before delving into a “21st Century Schizoid Man” style interlude that completely changes the song’s pace.
“Not the Bees” I’d say is where the album really showcases the variety of styles that the band offers. There’s certainly a good bit of blast beats here, but there’s a nice a mix of old school metal riffs and some nice jazz moments throughout. “Tanya” even manages to incorporate a bit of rockabilly into the melodic melting pot. “Midnight Society” shifts over into a much heavier jazz influenced realm, showcasing the band’s more nuanced technical abilities. “Tiny Jar” dips the bands foot into a more post-rock sound, before shocking the listener with some more metal core interludes. “Communion” brings a bit more of a Gojira style metal edge interspersed with some more post-rock style ambience. The album closes with “Labrakadabrador”, one of the heaviest tracks on the entire album that again fuses more metal core style rhythm guitars with droning post-rock style lead guitars.
The production on this album is superb. Everything sounds crisp and clear, and given the wide variety of styles and tones on this album, that can be a real challenge to successfully pull off. As mentioned earlier, the album clocks in at a brisk 32 minutes. While on the short side, I do feel this was an added benefit. There’s no filler on this album at all. Every song is its own unique entity, and is only as long as absolutely necessary. Often times you’ll find bands attempting to stretch their songs to the 7 or 8 minute mark by extending and repeating certain sections. The conciseness of the songs never left me bored, or wondering when something interesting would happen. With the longest song being just shy of 5 minutes, this album is a lean piece of meat that doesn’t require added fat to make it tender and juicy.
Progressive rock bands have never been shy about wearing their influences on their sleeve. Often times though, this approach backfires and gives the listener the impression that the artist is trying too hard to imitate a specific artist or genre. Listening to this album, you can clearly get an idea what the artists enjoy listening to, but they never dwell on a particular influence long enough to make it feel derivative. FotA does a magnificent job of taking disparate bands running the gamut from Mahavishnu Orchestra to Dream Theater, to Allan Holdsworth to Between the Buried and Me and blending them into a unique presentation that keeps the listener on their toes throughout the entire experience.
Released By: Independent
Release Date: August 18th, 2023
Genre: Progressive Technical Jazz Mathcore
- Harold McCummings / Guitars, keys
- Bryan Garcia / Bass
- Colin Ruhwedel / Guitars
- Mack Rourke / Drums
- Glucose Guardian
- Not the Bees
- Midnight Society
- Tiny Jar
Order “Rite” HERE.
This short but sweet record outing features an eclectic mix of styles that will appeal to anyone who has an ear for prog, metal core, jazz or post-rock