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Tholus - Constant CD (album) cover




Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

4.00 | 4 ratings

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4 stars Constant is the debut full-length studio album by American technical progressive death metal act Tholus. The band features among others former Estradasphere drummer Dave Murray. Constant is a bit of an anomaly as none of the band members ( or should I say project?) have written any of the material for the album. Instead the songs are credited to a Michael Johnson, who Im not familiar with other than his presence as a co-writer on the Part III: The Lilac Moon (2003) album by The Deserts of Traun. Another one of the multi-talented Dave Murrays projects. Constant is a sci-fi themed ( or at least about extraterrestrial life and space) album which is also obvious when you look at the beautiful cover artwork.

The music on the album is brutal progressive death metal played with great technical skill. Especially the challenging jazz influenced drumming by Dave Murray stands out. After a short introduction were treated with 45 minutes of high quality progressive death metal of the most relentless brutal kind. This is in many ways closer to an act such as Gorguts and even Suffocation than it is to the likes of Atheist and Cynic. Dont get fooled by the brutal nature of the music though ( which includes some hard to decipher guttural growling). The music on Constant is still very challenging ( including multible tempo and time signature changes in each song) and should certainly be of interest to fans of progressive death metal. In addition to the deep growling vocals, the heavy riffs and the jazz influenced drumming, the songs also feature some sci-fi themed samples which give the music the right atmosphere. The sampled intro to Involuntary is very effectful before the actual music begins with a blast beat section. Constant is an album that takes patience and many listens to fall into place. The songs, at least for me, seemed too similar in sound to start with, but with more and more listens Ive begun to be able to tell them apart much better. The song that stands out the most from the others is the instrumental title track. Its got a really heavy main riff but some parts of the song, like the opening minutes, are too ambient for my taste. Other songs of notice is the powerful opener Short Forevers, the above mentioned Involuntary, Staring Back, Ripe for the Killing and arguably the most progressive track on the album the closing track Speculum of the New Race. What is common for all songs are the high quality level though. my only complaint about the music on the album is about the vocals which are a bit too brutal for their own good and not varied enough for my taste.

The production is a bit murky at times. Its not one of those clean metal productions. On the bands myspace their music is in short described like this: "Technical Death Metal with 90's sensability" and its hard not to agree both when it comes to the music and when it comes to the sound quality.

Constant is one of the most unique technical/ progressive death metal albums Ive listened to in the last 10 years and certainly deserves much more praise than it gets ( Ive only heard one person speaking of this band in the last 3 years since this album was released). Sometimes the world of music just isnt fair and the fact that a talented act like Tholus is so crimenally overlooked is close to an offense in my book. Constant is a highly recommendable purchase for fans of brutal progressive and technical death metal and fully deserves a 4 star rating ( maybe even a 4.5).

UMUR | 4/5 |


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