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CANVAS SOLARIS

Tech/Extreme Prog Metal • United States


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Canvas Solaris biography
The story of CANVAS SOLARIS began in 1999, playing a strange, experimental form of extreme death/thrash metal, influenced by mainly VOIVOD, CARCASS and GODFLESH. The early line-up, namely Nathan Sapp (guitars, vocals), Jimmy McCall (bass guitar), Brad Jeffcoat (vocals) and Hunter Ginn (drums), recorded two demos and played several shows in South-Carolina. Jeffcoat and McCall left the band in 2002 and the group added Ben Simpkins (guitar, bass guitar, keyboards) to the line-up and began writing much more experimental instrumental technical, jazz-inspired progressive music. In June 2003 they released their first Ep, "Spatial/Design". The group scaled back from live appearances and one year later arrived their first full-length album "Sublimation".

"Sublimation" is demonstrating the talent of the members, a fantastic technical metal album heavily influenced by SPIRAL ARCHITECT, WATCHTOWER, SPASTIC INK, CYNIC, FATES WARNING, RUSH and even KING CRIMSON and THE MARS VOLTA.

Recommended for fans of complex, instrumental technical music.



Why this artist must be listed in www.progarchives.com :
Progarchives is a suitable place for these talented young musicians, the band is highly recommended to everyone who loves the aforementioned bands.



Discography:
Spatial/Design (2003)
Sublimation (2004)

Canvas Solaris official website

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Atomized DreamAtomized Dream
Sensory Records 2008
Audio CD$9.77
$6.88 (used)
IrradianceIrradiance
Sensory Records 2010
Audio CD$9.71
$18.66 (used)
Penumbra DiffusePenumbra Diffuse
Sensory Records 2006
Audio CD$9.79
$6.49 (used)
SublimationSublimation
Tribunal 2004
Audio CD$5.12
$3.99 (used)
Cortical TectonicsCortical Tectonics
Sensory Records 2007
Audio CD$9.00
$2.87 (used)
Spatial / DesignSpatial / Design
Tribunal 2003
Audio CD$24.95
$1.00 (used)
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CANVAS SOLARIS discography


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CANVAS SOLARIS top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.76 | 21 ratings
Sublimation
2004
4.08 | 57 ratings
Penumbra Diffuse
2006
4.13 | 61 ratings
Cortical Tectonics
2007
3.61 | 33 ratings
The Atomized Dream
2008
4.04 | 44 ratings
Irradiance
2010

CANVAS SOLARIS Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

CANVAS SOLARIS Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

CANVAS SOLARIS Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

CANVAS SOLARIS Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

3.23 | 12 ratings
Spatial/Design
2003

CANVAS SOLARIS Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Penumbra Diffuse by CANVAS SOLARIS album cover Studio Album, 2006
4.08 | 57 ratings

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Penumbra Diffuse
Canvas Solaris Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by Conor Fynes
Prog Reviewer

4 stars 'Penumbra Diffuse' - Canvas Solaris (7/10)

'Penumbra Diffuse' comes hot on the heels of one of my favourite tech metal albums ever; 'Sublimation'. Throughout their career, Canvas Solaris have been incredibly consistent since their debut, each time pursuing a very cerebral brand of instrumental music, complex and rife with atmosphere. When compared to the album that came before it, 'Penumbra Diffuse' is a marked step towards favouring the atmospheric side of their work. Although not quite reaching the mind-boggling intensity of 'Sublimation', the greater variety of styles and dynamic is an effective development.

Having become quite familiar with the Canvas Solaris records 'Cortical Tectonics' and 'Sublimation', the technical prowess of the band is virtually taken for granted this time around. Of course, and as their labelled style might imply, the complexity of the music is its greatest selling point. Not only is the trio of Sapp, Simpkins and Ginn performing at the level of masters, but the compositions themselves enjoy a thick sense of composition and arrangement. Nathan Sapp's multi-disciplinary style of guitarwork is quick to alternate between rhythm and lead playing, and though the music feels chaotic at times, there is never a moment when the band is not performing in a meticulously pre-calculated unison. Although 'Penumbra Diffuse' will still come as a system shock to the uninitiated listener, the complexity itself has been toned down from 'Sublimation'. Instead of the endlessly perplexing mathematical sequences they went through there, Canvas Solaris have taken a more moderated approach with the use of 'atmosphere'. A fairly broad term yes, but one that seeks to encompass most of the fresh things the band are doing here. From acoustic guitar sections to harmonic explorations and keyboard textures, this exchange has brought them a more balanced sound, although I think I prefer the return to madness that the next album 'Cortical Tectonics'' sought to achieve.

It would be unfair to rate anything by Canvas Solaris less than an impressive score. Although the intensity of their compositions may vary slightly depending on the album, there's no denial that each musician is at the top of their class with their respective instruments. The only weakness- if you can call it one- that Canvas Solaris' music suffers from is its pure attention to the complex and mechanical, often coming off as cold on the emotional spectrum. As such, the awe and admiration I have for their music is tempered when part of me feels less than it should. Of course, taking into consideration the 'mission' of the band to create inhumanly complex music, it is clear that Canvas Solaris have chosen to take a path that most musicians would buckle and cower underneath. In the case of 'Penumbra Diffuse', the emphasis on atmosphere may not be quite as effective as the unrelenting metal attack of the album prior, but it does give a greater feeling that may have been missing from the band's earlier work.

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 Cortical Tectonics by CANVAS SOLARIS album cover Studio Album, 2007
4.13 | 61 ratings

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Cortical Tectonics
Canvas Solaris Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by Conor Fynes
Prog Reviewer

5 stars 'Cortical Tectonics' - Canvas Solaris (9/10)

Canvas Solaris are widely acknowledged as being the darlings of modern technical prog metal. They are a band that has been able to capture my attention without the use of those pesky vocals, instead letting their instruments do the talking. It goes without saying that this band is at the top of their game from a technical angle, and on 'Cortical Tectonics', they take their auditory calculus to its arguable peak, creating the most coherent and effective album of their careers.

Canva Solaris have been constantly changing as a group, now- if my memory serves- a five piece act with full-time keyboardist to boot. With 'Cortical Tectonics', Canvas Solaris are actually only a three piece, which is made quite surprising due to the unrelenting complexity and busy performance. The many guitars of Nathan Sapp are the feature on all of these tracks, and they tend to vary quite a bit. Canvas Solaris is most definitely a progressive metal band first and foremost. Frantic and tightly composed tech riffs are sometimes even being played two or three at a time, thanks to the dense overdubbing of guitars. Thanks to clever musicianship and arrangement however, it refrains from sounding like a noisy blur, although it is a lot to take in all at once. Ultimately, Canvas Solaris really amazes on all fronts, performance-wise. There is a distinct sci-fi sound to much of the music; spacey effects are occasionally thrown in to provide a new dimension to the music.

'Cortical Tectonics' is arguably the heaviest album that Canvas Solaris have done. Especially compared to its predecessor 'Prenumbra Diffuse', there is a lesser focus on the lighter aspects of the band's music; this can be taken as a good or bad thing, depending on where you are coming from as a listener. I personally find the more unrelenting nature of 'Cortical Tectonics' to really work for the band, because they never lower their integrity for powerful compositions. There is less variety and mellowness to digest on this album, and it does lead to an overall more cohesive effort; instead of wandering through a multitude of different jazzy, eastern, or psychedelic sounds, Canvas Solaris sticks to intense prog metal, and manages to keep just enough mellower moments to keep the sound fresh. On the lighter side, Canvas Solaris draws mainly from jazz, although they never truly wander out of prog canon. If you like technical metal, 'Cortical Tectonics' may possibly become one of your new favourite albums. It's very cerebral without being self-indulgent, and while it lacks the vocals that some listeners may sorely miss, each song the band delivers here is memorable and powerful.

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 The Atomized Dream by CANVAS SOLARIS album cover Studio Album, 2008
3.61 | 33 ratings

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The Atomized Dream
Canvas Solaris Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by Conor Fynes
Prog Reviewer

4 stars 'The Atomized Dream' - Canvas Solaris (7/10)

Canvas Solaris have long been at the forefront of the technical metal scene. A band as consistent in any in their mission to deliver cerebral and sometimes puzzling music, this collective of skilled musicians has always had my respect. On their fourth album, 'The Atomized Dream' is a natural continuation of their trademark style of mathematically-driven progressive metal. Contrary to what this band is normally about however, there is an added slight emphasis on atmosphere and texture that slightly distinguishes this album apart from the rest, at least on a stylistic note.

'The Binaural Beat' immediately demonstrates that 'The Atomized Dream' is Canvas Solaris' attempt at broadening their sound a bit. Instead of the intensely technical observations I'm used to hearing on a record like their third, 'Cortical Tectonics', Canvas Solaris opens up this album on a much lighter note, even at times focusing on melody, something that- I can decidedly mention- hasn't been a brighter point of this band's music. In fact, even as the album's title and surreal artwork may suggest, the music here starts off in a fairly spacey direction, with plenty of atmosphere and ambient layering highly reminiscent of Ozric Tentacles. However, there is still the tech metal outlet on this album; after an uncharacteristic opener, 'Reflections Carried To Mirror' brings the listener a slice of Canvas Solaris that is much more familiar, perhaps too familiar. The fact that many of these guitar tones and general artistic approach the band takes with their more technical material here is almost a rehash of what they have already been doing for a few albums.

Now, a band like Canvas Solaris cannot ever be judged as weak musicians; after all, their very essence as a band is that of sheer technicality and logical precision. Still, the music on 'The Atomized Dream' comes off as a little dry, despite the atmospheric additions the guys have installed on their music. Instrumental music can have plenty of emotion in it, and there are moments here (such as a very melodic passage in 'The Binaural Beat') that make me feel something beautiful. All the same, the majority of this music shakes my head around without necessarily plucking the heart strings. There are plenty of erratic time signature changes and dense orchestrations as usual, and Canvas Solaris achieves a challenging record with 'The Atomized Dream' that requires several listens to really 'get', regardless of how familiar the sound may be to existing listeners of the group. While it may be a little cold, Canvas Solaris are sure to give your brain something to think about.

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 Irradiance by CANVAS SOLARIS album cover Studio Album, 2010
4.04 | 44 ratings

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Irradiance
Canvas Solaris Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by Conor Fynes
Prog Reviewer

4 stars 'Irradiance' - Canvas Solaris (8/10)

If anything can be said about progressive metal, it is that it attracts some incredibly talented and skilled musicians. Suffice to say, Canvas Solaris knocks my socks off on quite a few fronts. A band whose mission seems to be as virtuosic as their instruments allow, all the while drawing the listener in with some more melodic sections. This certainly isn't a new approach for metal bands to take, but I will say that Canvas Solaris has their own defined niche that separates them from other bands of this style. 'Irradiance' is the band's fifth album, and therefore at this late stage, we see Canvas Solaris already as a very matured band. It is not the best thing that this trio has done to date, but its a strong slice of progressive metal that shows that this band is worth more than just playing fast.

As I stated, 'Irradiance' is a more mature outing for Canvas Solaris, and as a result, the music is less about flaunting their skills, and more about the actual songwriting. Naturally, this is a bit of a double edged sword for a band like this. We don't get to hear the same number of freaky tech metal explosions as there were on earlier albums, but there are more melodies, stronger song structures, and other things that are considered more conventionally 'enjoyable'. In this sense, it does feel that Canvas Solaris has jumped on the same wagon as Scale The Summit, although Canvas' style is still substantially more futuristic and technical.

The extremity of Canvas Solaris has been toned down, but I still feel that they maintain the progressive touch to them. There are jazz breaks and Latin rhythms to throw a listener off the course, and as is especially evident on the last track 'Null Proximity', the band still has some of their old tricks to play with. These songs all sound like apples of the same tree, although each has at least one hook, lead, or strange section that will make it memorable. I was admittedly not expecting to find the music so interesting, but one thing that Canvas Solaris manages to do very well is keep their compositions eventful. Hearing such a technically accomplished band writing actual songs is pretty refreshing, and while this is a slightly more subdued incarnation of the band, there are still jaw-dropping moments for the listener to lose their mind to. Canvas Solaris are one of the most stunning instrumental metal bands ever, to be quite sure.

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 Cortical Tectonics by CANVAS SOLARIS album cover Studio Album, 2007
4.13 | 61 ratings

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Cortical Tectonics
Canvas Solaris Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by usa prog music

4 stars Canvas Solaris is a three piece technical metal band based in Statesboro, Georgia. Cortical Tectonics is the band's third release, and features 6 tracks of instru-metal madness. The album was released in June 2007 on Sensory Records, which has been their label since their last release, 2005's Penumbra Diffuse. The band was formed in 1999 as a death metal group but they have since transitioned into the tech metal genre and are making some pretty intricate, interesting music. I've heard about the band several times from my annual pilgrimage to the U.S.'s metal Mecca, ProgpowerUSA in Atlanta, Georgia, but this is the first time I've digested an entire album, and I've got to tell you, it tastes good. I am glad that I grabbed this disc to review because it really surprised me. I am not a huge fan of really technical metal, which I usually classify as a lot of noise with little melody or soul, but that wasn't the case with Cortical Tectonics. Canvas Solaris play some heavy, crazy arrangements and then slide right into some lighter, jazzy music that reminds me of some of the Liquid Tension Experiment.

'Berserker Hypothesis' is the first track and it is a tempo changing, mish mash of intricate metal goodness that showcases the band's musicianship. 'Sinusoid Mirage' is a slower song that I absolutely love with a great keyboard and drum arrangement. 'Interface' is another slower track that features some outstanding guitar work, and I think they play a Glockenspiel in here! 'Gamma Knife' is a faster, shifting, guitar driven song with some fast fret work. 'Rhizome' starts off with a slower progressive sound but cranks up into some overdriven guitar and heavy drumming as it progresses toward a sweet guitar solo ending. Finally, 'Reticular Consciousness' is a 17 minute journey that takes the listener through the gamut of Canvas Solaris' abilities to effortlessly shift between complex, melodic, and jazz influenced music. It seems like several different songs in one, with slow soulful passages stitched in between super-fast technical sequences.

These guys are great musicians and the album is well worth a listen if you are a fan of progressive instrumental music, especially if you like the tech-metal genre. The band is recommended for fans of Spatial Architect, Cynic and the Dillinger Escape Plan, but as I am not currently a listener of those bands, I can neither confirm nor deny. I did like the Liquid Tension Experiment albums and I'd place this album in a category alongside them. If you like LTE, you'll like this, hands down. It's pretty safe to say that anything Ken Golden will put on his label will be a quality product, so you don't need my review to tell you to listen to it.

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 Irradiance by CANVAS SOLARIS album cover Studio Album, 2010
4.04 | 44 ratings

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Irradiance
Canvas Solaris Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by maryes

4 stars In spite of not being admiring of the Tech/Extreme Prog Metal style (in a certain way, I have some prevention as for the style of bands as CYNIC and FATES WARNING), however, I recognize in this disk of the Americans of the band CANVAS SOLARIS "Irradiance", a work that can be appreciated by many of those that don't also appreciate.. Actually the disk is quite digestible for those that appreciate bands as RUSH, ENCHANTED, SPECTRUM and it still presents influences of KING CRINSOM'S sonority. A disk that presents a cleary big concern with the quality of the melodies, instead of emphasizing more the technical and aggressive side (although such characteristics are presents in all of tracks ). My rate is 4 stars.

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 Cortical Tectonics by CANVAS SOLARIS album cover Studio Album, 2007
4.13 | 61 ratings

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Cortical Tectonics
Canvas Solaris Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

3 stars 3.5 stars.This isn't as good as the last one "Penumbra Diffuse" but that's all a matter of taste I suppose. This one just hasn't clicked with me (except for the last track) even though we still get that very high degree of technical virtuosity and lots of heaviness. I think the previous album incorporated more atmosphere and synths which was more to my liking.

"Berserker Hypothesis" is a funny title but really explains what's about to hit the fan. Impressive drumming early on this one. I really like when it settles 2 minutes in. It kicks back in with even more aggression. "Sinusoid Mirage" is laid back until it kicks into gear after 2 minutes. It's more melodic after 4 minutes, I like the guitar. "Interface" is all so intricate and reminds me of KING CRIMSON. Synths come and go.

"Gamma Knife" is heavy right away and stays that way. "Rhizome" is much more laid back until it turns heavy after 1 1/2 minutes.The guitar starts to solo before 4 minutes. "Reticular Consciousness" is the epic but even if it was only 5 minutes long it would be my favourite. Heavy drums and lots of guitar early. It settles after 3 minutes. Fripp-like guitar 7 minutes in.The tempo picks up before 9 1/2 minutes. Nice guitar too. It's heavy again and then it settles before 13 1/2 minutes. I like the relaxed drumming to end it.

Very close to being 4 stars.

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 Penumbra Diffuse by CANVAS SOLARIS album cover Studio Album, 2006
4.08 | 57 ratings

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Penumbra Diffuse
Canvas Solaris Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

4 stars This is CANVAS SOLARIS' third album and this Georgia trio have toned things down somewhat by adding some atmosphere to the heaviness. I like the way they use the synths and synth guitars in contrast to the all out sonic assaults. This is technical, complex and all instrumental. Oh and I should mention they dedicate this album to the late Denis D'Amour formerly of VOIVOD.

On "Panoramic Long-Range Vertigo" they come out of the corner swinging. The guitar is pretty amazing before 2 minutes.This is so complex and intricate, very impressive. Some moog and synth guitar on this one as well. "Horizontal Radiant" is a top three track for me. This is 11 1/2 minutes of bliss. Much more laid back with synths and drums early before the bass and guitar join in. I like this first part a lot. Some power 2 1/2 minutes in that cuts in and out before it just slashes away relentlessly. The guitar is lighting it up after 4 minutes. It turns spacey 5 1/2 minutes and then kicks back in after 7 1/2 minutes. It settles again to a really great sounding laid back soundscape a minute later. It's heavy again around 10 minutes and the guitar is really moving here as it cries out.

"Accidents In Mutual Silence" is heavy with some huge bass and added synths. "Vaihayasa" is another top three song for me. It's very acoustic sounding with mandolin and acoustic guitars. And check out the tablas, timpani, Moroccan clay drums and congas. A very cool sounding track. "To Fracture" is heavy to open and I like the way the guitar solos over the heaviness after 2 1/2 minutes. Nice bass to follow as it settles and synths come in. It kicks back in a minute later. "Psychotropic Resonance" sounds interesting for the first 2 minutes then it kicks in. Nice. It settles right down before 3 1/2 minutes. "Luminescence" is my favourite. They saved the best for last. Percussion and atmosphere as the guitar comes and goes. Electric piano comes in then drums before 2 minutes. It kicks into gear before 5 minutes and this sounds fantastic ! Synths before 6 1/2 minutes followed by some heaviness. It settles again after 7 minutes before that same heavy sound returns before 10 minutes.

Worth 4 stars by my book. They sound like a blend of ZERO HOUR and GORDIAN KNOT.

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 Cortical Tectonics by CANVAS SOLARIS album cover Studio Album, 2007
4.13 | 61 ratings

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Cortical Tectonics
Canvas Solaris Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by The T
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars This is my first CANVAS SOLARIS experience and I can honestly say that it was very pleasing indeed.

The great thing about Cortical Tectonics is that is very technical without sounding pretentious, very difficult to play without sounding inhuman. We can very easily draw a comparison here with another tech- metal band, SPIRAL ARCHITECT. Whereas the latter's music is so ridiculously difficult to play that it seems like it wasn't played by actual human beings, CANVAS SOLARIS' tracks have complexity but in small doses. One's never overwhelmed by technique just for the sake of technique. There's never a section that sounds like it was forced in just to cause a deeper impression. All the passages fit, the difficult and the simple parts work together to create a uniform musical idea.

The riff, of course, is the main star in this album. This is progressive-metal, no doubt about it. At times it gets closer to extreme metal, but generally the pace of the music is middle of the road, with ferocious riffs alternating with quieter passages. All the instruments are played with the utmost level of proficiency. There's not much of a need for keyboards in "Cortical Tectonics". Three instruments, most of the time, manage to create a truly satisfying experience just by themselves.

As with most of this type of albums, sometimes instrumental-only technical records leave me a little bit cold. When I listen to rock and related music, I always need songs, I need some melody. The good thing is that CANVAS SOLARIS is also capable of calmer, more melodic sounds. "Sinusoid Mirage" is a perfect example of that, and it's also the best track in all the album, with its elegant, refined opening that sounds more jazzy than metal.

All in all, a surprisingly enjoyable tech-metal instrumental album that I really recommend to every fan of the genre, and every fan of good progressive music.

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 Penumbra Diffuse by CANVAS SOLARIS album cover Studio Album, 2006
4.08 | 57 ratings

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Penumbra Diffuse
Canvas Solaris Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by Tapfret
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Making Metal and sounding smart

Sub-genre: Tech/Extreme Metal (technical, not so extreme, eclectic)
For Fans of: Gordian Knot, Spiral Architect, Dysrhythmia, and why not Mahavishnu Orchestra?
Vocal Style: None
Guitar Style: An array of electric styles from driving heavy metal, too bright acoustics, too warm jazz tunes. The occasional guitar synthesizer shows up as well.
Keyboard Style: Numerous mono synth sounds are used throughout the album. An extremely well trained ear would be required to distinguish between the use of keyboard synthesizers and guitar synthesizers.
Percussion Style: Modern rock/metal set dominates the album, there is no fear shown toward percussive instruments that would seem unorthodox in this context.
Bass Style: Standard rock
Other Instruments: Aside from the previous mentioned percussive instruments, there is also a mandolin played at one point.

Summary: The acceptance of instrumental music amongst the rock and modern genres is a relatively recent thing. Many find it difficult to place an identity to something without a traditional voice. Canvas Solaris is a band that could have easily been ruined by the addition of a cookie monster vocalist. Instead we are treated to a very full bodied and complete band without the addition of something so annoying. As a musical score can be considered manipulative to the mood of a movie, so would vocals be to the intended context of the music on Penumbra Diffuse.

The presentation is anything but heavy handed. Contrast and textures run throughout. When considering the band's given genre's description, the opening track, Panoramic Long Range Vertigo is quite the expected technical metal onslaught. The second track Horizontal Radiant is a less expected 11 minute-long tasty progressive voyage. The song gives an early understanding to the listener that this is not going to be your typical metal foray. By the time the fourth song comes around, Vaihayasa; which sounds much like a piece from Shakti, the listener is prepared rather than feeling like a passenger in a car that has just had the brakes slammed to avoid hitting a pedestrian. Perhaps the most interesting song is Psychotropic Resonance, a frantic borderline RIO piece.

Overall, I come away from listening to Penumbra Diffuse feeling that I have listened to more a progressive album, rather than a metal album.



Final Score: Not a perfect album, but its imperfections give it life. It is the kind of album that most listeners are surprised by the end that they have been listening to the same album the whole time. Highly recommended, four stars.

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Thanks to riversdancing for the artist addition. and to memowakeman for the last updates

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