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Chimp Spanner - At the Dreamīs Edge CD (album) cover

AT THE DREAMīS EDGE

Chimp Spanner

Tech/Extreme Prog Metal


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Bonnek
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Prog Metal Team
4 stars Chimp Spanner is one of many of today's one-man progressive projects. Everything from writing to recording and producing is in the hands of Paul Ortiz, a 26 year old multi-instrumentalist. Often this sort of project suffers from the imballance between the artist's strengths on his main instrument and his shortcomings with other equipment. At the Dream's Edge avoids these traps with surprising ease and offers an outbalanced release boasting a self-confident attitude and outstanding songwriting skills.

The music is entirely instrumental and varies between diverse forms of progressive metal, starting out with a couple of melodious Prog Metal tracks before delving into more extreme/math metal territory with low-tuned guitars and capricious time signatures. At times this sounds like a slower instrumental version of Meshuggah, offering less aggression but more melody and heaviness. Ortiz' 7 and 8-string guitars have a great sonic range with lots of oomph! His soloing is rather jazzy at times and doesn't avoid challenging harmonies and striking dissonance when the song calls for it. On top there are some ambient influences offering resting points amidst all the riffing and shredding, all of this without losing momentum.

The quality of the material is consistently high and the entire album doesn't reveal one less inspired moment, offering a spontaneously flowing abundance of instrumental metal that is accessible and very diverse, both in tempos, arrangements and styles. I believe there's something here for every fan of progressive metal and heavy prog. Recommended!

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Send comments to Bonnek (BETA) | Report this review (#367111)
Posted Wednesday, December 29, 2010 | Review Permalink
Andy Webb
FORUM & SITE ADMIN GROUP
Admin / Heavy Prog Team
5 stars A royal slap in the face by fantastic music.

Chimp Spanner really knows how to rip out a fantastic album when he wants to. The multi- talented multi-instrumentalist is not your average one man band. He is not only a fantastic guitarist, but he is also an extremely talented bassist and drummer (or programming, but I'm guessing drummer by the quality of the drums). Each song has a special quality to it, whether it be the intensity found through the whole album, the cool atmosphere and ambiance in each song, or some other great quality. The whole album is buzzing with creativity and spice, Chimp style.

Galaxy Rise is simply a synth intro, with some cool strings and symphonic atmospheric effects. It blends nicely into the intro for Supererogation, the first hint into the excellence that is soon to be explored on the album. Instead of your standard djent chugging for 5 minutes, Spanner explores more the more atmospheric qualities of music, melding great extreme djent metal with the spacey qualities of ambient music. The rhythm to the song has a constant heartbeat, allowing you to headbob along with the trippy polyrhyhtmic music.

At the Dreams Edge is a great track, with a slower tempo than Supererogation but with much more compassionate guitar melodies backing it. Again a steady heartbeat is present in the song, which slowly crescendos throughout the song until a quick, steady beat keeps the song bopping along.

The Mirror is one of the quintessential tracks on the album. Along the lines of Supererogation, the song melds extreme tech metal with techno, ambient, and atmospheric music. Chimp's guitar work is again just perfectly stellar, with that ever-present and effervescent rhythmic heartbeat. The 8 minute long track is one of the longer songs on the album, but it never really stops. It slows down to a trippy synth solo, which only heightens the atmospheric nature of the song. The guitar solo is also a great plus because even though the backing track is an intense djent track, the guitar solo soars into the higher frequencies of the guitar with the ease of a graceful bird. The whole ride is just fantastic.

Bad Code is just like the name suggests, a nasty, dirty, techno-metal song. Now don't get me wrong: by nasty and dirty, I mean great things, this song is one of the best on the album, with some techno-inspired guitar work, with melodies jumping here to there to here again and then over there; it's just really fun.

Harvey Wallbanger is the most consistently upbeat and intense song on the album. Every second after its metallic inception is full of intensity and wallbangingly hard rhythms. This is the point on the album where Meshuggah's influence begins to be more prevalent with the experimental and discordant backing guitar. The rhythm is again intense and consistently fantastic. Just a great track with some great hard hitting sounds.

Ghosts of the Golden City is a simple transition, filled with atmospheric spacey synth and piano tracks that transition into the second phase of the album. Far From Home is a great bombastic Meshuggah inspired ambient metal track with some experimental and melodic soling and riffing. The song has that quality that is so standard to Meshuggah with that great Spanner twist.

Now we enter the 15 minute epic known as Terminus. The whole thing is just great. The song consists of constant experimentation with various sounds and styles, feels and tempos, emotions, and so much more. Part I is the most "laid back" and spacey, with a lot of ambiance and atmospheric experimentation occurring. Part II opens with a thick and heavy riff, which breaks into an experimental joy ride of jumping bean-like melodies and bouncing rhythms. The whole oddity of this part is highly reminiscent of Meshuggah, yet again, with that special charm that the Chimp adds. The third and final part is the most hard hitting in the trilogy. It takes a little while for the dissonant guitar to blossom into a crushing song of epic djent-filled proportions. The part ends the entire song quite nicely.

Under One Sky is a significantly less intense song than Terminus. It focuses more on the feeling and compassion behind Spanner's guitar work than the intense riffing. A lot of atmospheric work backs his great guitar soloing, making this a nice track to space out on-- with some added bombastics for the ride!

All Good Things is oddly... happy. It opens with some nice happy ambient material and synth work and for the most part stays happy the whole way through except for some slower parts where the happy synth-strings is less apparent. This track serves as a really nice ending to a 99% perfect album.

ALBUM OVERALL: Chimp Spanner really hit it off with this one. At the Dream's Edge is, overall a perfect album. I can legitimately find nothing wrong with it. The sound and music is so original that it's hard not to call it a masterpiece. Yes, it's obvious that Meshuggah is his main influence, but he melds Meshuggah's signature sound, mixes some of his, adds a few spices, and it's totally new and refreshing. He has such incredible talent in every department that nothing is lacking or in excess. Pure perfection. 5 stars.

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Send comments to Andy Webb (BETA) | Report this review (#368414)
Posted Thursday, December 30, 2010 | Review Permalink

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