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Notochord Aegis album cover
3.00 | 2 ratings | 1 reviews | 0% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 2024

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Indelible (5:20)
2. Gloom (1:41)
3. Abyssal Ontogeny (3:09)
4. Plasmodia (1:42)
5. Microbial (3:26)
6. Xylem (4:15)
7. Cognition Fields (2:38)

Total Time 22:11

Line-up / Musicians

- Jonathan Carpenter / vocals, keyboards
- Anthony Buck / guitar
- James Knoerl / drums
- Chris Tilley / bass, keyboards

Releases information

Mixed/Mastered: Evan Sammons
Album Art: Rudi Yanto

Digitally self-released via Bandcamp on January 3, 2024

Thanks to Gordy for the addition
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NOTOCHORD Aegis ratings distribution

(2 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(0%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(0%)
Good, but non-essential (100%)
Collectors/fans only (0%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

NOTOCHORD Aegis reviews

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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by siLLy puPPy
3 stars A brand spankin' new progressive djent / sludge metal band has emerged from Madison, Wisconsin and released its debut album AEGIS early on in 2024. This new band is called NOTOCHORD and features Jonathan Carpenter on vocals and keys, Anthony Buck on guitar, James Knoerl on drums and Chris Tilley on bass and even more keys. Carpenter and Tilley are in the similarly styled prog djent band The Contortionist.

Despite the short playing time of only slightly over 22 minutes, AEGIS is considered by the band to be a bonafide debut album thus further making the modern usage of the terms EP and full-length a little less tangible. Despite the short playing time this release features seven tracks but three of them are under three minutes and the rest aren't very long either.

The opening "Indelible" is the longest track on board at 5 minutes and 20 seconds and immediately established the band's eerie atmospheric style which features creepy keyboard runs accompanied by a feisty bass groove and clean arpeggiated guitar sounds. The track also establishes NOTOCHORD as more of an atmospheric prog metal band than a sludge, post- or djent one which elements from each do occur. The vocals are mostly falsetto based with a growl or two here and there.

The following "Gloom" is a dark ambient instrumental that serves somewhat as connective tissue to merge the opener with the heavier "Abyssal Ontogeny" which finally enters heavier territory with dissonant jangly guitar chords, a thumping bass and once again [%*!#] tons of atmosphere. Starting with clean vocals, the track turns sludgy with growly vocals while the clean vocals are dropped down in the mix. Lots of trading off between the styles. This band is about contrast. Lots of cool progressive time signatures litter the soundscape as well.

"Plasmodia" takes things even further in a deathened style of sludge metal with no discernible atmospheric accompaniments, just spastic jittery guitar chugs with a staccato djent style of stop / start extremes but then starts meandering through various different stylistic approaches. The track is fairly short at less than two minutes before the atmospheric intro of "Microbial" takes over and ushers in a lengthy cosmic wave of atmospheric eeriness.

The track remains instrumental and morphs into the proggy "Xylem" which sounds something like Kayo Dot's jangled avant-garde moments, at least the clean vocal parts. "Common Fields" employs this technique only adds the aggressive choppy djent palm muting techniques and death metal growls. This one sounds a bit like Messhuggah backed up by an atmospheric prog metal band where they switch off. Lots of cool twists and turns on this one.

Overall this is a pretty nice debut release made all the nicer that they kept it short since i'm less inclined to experience a new band with an hour plus debut. NOTOCHORD does an exemplary job of juggling the djent sludgy aspects with the mood melding atmospheres. The clean vocals and growly ones are alternate quite effectively and basically the band shows a maturity in its compositional approach with lots of unexpected progressive aspects that keep me interested. This is a band to look out for in the future.

3.5 rounded down

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