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Jet Black Sea - The Path of Least Existence  CD (album) cover

THE PATH OF LEAST EXISTENCE

Jet Black Sea

 

Crossover Prog

4.06 | 64 ratings

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FragileKings
Prog Reviewer
4 stars Jet Black Sea is one of those bands that I saw on PA's popular artists of the last 24 hours and I decided to check out their sound by listening to a sample on YouTube. I heard "The Law of Diminishing Returns" and was impressed enough to order the album without further scrutiny.

My impression is mixed. It is an album of mostly dark, haunting, and almost disturbing at times musical compositions for electric guitar, synthesizer, piano, drums, and electronica. The music often inspires images of a post apocalyptic world or the Terminator-like future with "Northern Exposure" sounding like a soundtrack for the dawn following a "Day After Tomorrow" type of devastating winter storm that has left civilization inert.

I wasn't planning to write a track by track review; however, as I listened to the CD this morning for the purpose of writing a review during my commute, it was natural to start typing notes on my phone's notepad.

"The Path of Least Existence, Part I" is a slowly building walk through a post-apocalyptic landscape with incantato vocals, a Nine Inch Nails-like use of electronica, and a flood of guitar distortion. It's eerie, dark ambient music for the most part.

"Outnumbered" features electronic drums and slow, easy synthesizer chords. In the middle we get real drums, piano and guitar that sounds like a bulging bicep muscle version of a post-Waters Pink Floyd instrumental.

My favourite track and the reason why I bought the album is "The Law of Diminishing Returns" which has a horror movie piano melody and building guitar distortion until it erupts furiously just past the 2:00 mark with full on drums and raging guitar. This is the soundtrack for the End of the World.

For a change of pace, a vibraphone in an odd time signature and effects like from late sixties Floyd introduces "Worst Case Scenario". By now I can really understand that the guitar is not used for riffing and little for solos but more for effects and mood creation, usually unsettling, haunting, and doom-laden. This track is like the soundtrack for the mechanical takeover of a human mind and it reminds me a little of "Further Down the Spiral", a remix album of music from "The Downward Spiral" by Nine Inch Nails.

I prepared a lot of notes for the remaining tracks but there is a consistency of dark, moody atmospheric music that on occasion introduces some pretty melody in a sombre minor key. I felt the word "requiem" well applied to the piano music of "Northern Exposure". In the less ominous-sounding parts of some other tracks, there is the occasional similarity to some of Porcupine Tree's music as well.

Though there is an overall sameness to the music of the album, there is enough variety in each track to sidestep any impression of repetition. I'd call it cohesion. Only "The Path of Least Existence, Part II" bears resemblance to the opening track and it should as it is the continuation of "Part I".

This is not an album you'd likely want to listen to while driving with the family to the riverside or put in your ears for a jog in the park. It's more for those quiet private moments when you can let the haunting and dark ambiance take you soul and imagination for a ride through landscapes at the end of humanity. It's not easy to pull just a couple of tracks off for a mixed playlist, but I still feel "The Law of Diminishing Returns" makes for a superb stand alone track and a great introduction to the album.

I wouldn't exactly call this an excellent edition unless this is to your taste in which case you won't want to miss it. If more complex prog or something more lively or lighter is your preference, then you can just stroll on by. I initially awarded the album three stars because for me this is an album for very specific listening times. However, it is very well done and a suitable break from the more complex and active music that comprises much of the progressive music scene. So, I will give it four stars.

FragileKings | 4/5 |

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