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Post Rock/Math rock • United States

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Concentric biography
Becoming tired of the unoriginal ideas in the extreme metal they both had backgrounds in, Milwaukee guitarist buddies Jerry HAUPPA and Jim BECKER began to move away from that via their mutual love of acoustic instrumentation. The two began fusing their styles and found common ground in the complex nature of progressive music, and by 2004 recorded a demo and later a 16-minute track as CONCENTRIC.

After adding drummer Brad O'MALLEY to the mix, the players refocused their efforts and self-released 'Immeasurable' in 2009, a huge leap forward in arranging and recording showing a unit any smaller label would gladly have.

Initially BECKER & HAUPPA did an organic, spiraling acoustic maze-rock that reminds of a less polished CALIFORNIA GUITAR TRIO, but word is that the debut LP branches further out into more symphonic areas. A group to keep an eye on.

- Atavachron (David) -

Concentric official website

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Concentric by Concentric (2003-10-14)Concentric by Concentric (2003-10-14)
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Audio CD$53.70
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Unsigned 2009
Audio CD$10.41
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CONCENTRIC discography

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

3.05 | 2 ratings
3.51 | 3 ratings

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

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Showing last 10 reviews only
 V by CONCENTRIC album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.51 | 3 ratings

Concentric Post Rock/Math rock

Review by AtomicCrimsonRush
Special Collaborator Symphonic Team

3 stars Concentric's "V" has enigmatic cover art and 5 tracks with equally enigmatic music that are based on the 5 stages of grief that overwhelm a person as they realise death is certain. I like the packaging of the album with striking artwork and an unusual fold out design. Nothing about this album is conventional, not even the way it looks.

The trio consists of Jerry Hauppa on guitar, and hammered dulcimer, Brad O'Malley on drums, and guitar, and James Becker on guitar, cello, and bass. The album is conceptual and totally instrumental, focussing on a metal sound with touches of folk and ambience. It has metal rhythms but very little distorted guitar. The Post Rock tones are prevalent and the music is extremely unpredictable and seems to flow as one long song rather than 5 separate ones. It is a journey with music that rises and falls with innovation and creativity.

The 5 stages of grief on the album are Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression and Acceptance. It begins with the lengthy 'Denial', a 10 minute excursion into strange musical shapes. The cello is prominent and gives the piece a very dreamy and quite dark feel, as the bass plunges deep down with reverb and somehow maintains the sporadic rhythm of the percussion. At 6:30 minutes in the pace slows into a plodding rhythm and the cello begins to remind me of Godspeed You! Black Emperor. It is equally as bleak in the atmosphere but has more variation than the usual Math Rock approach. This is complex music and hard to follow, though is always compelling.

'Anger' blazes along with cello serrations, odd time sig with bass and drum barrelling along on its own meter. The innovation in the unusual musicianship is striking. The bass pounds as drums tumble into formation, and the melody is left primarily to the strings. There is a steady tempo at 3:40, with bass plucking, guitars and cello vibrating a mournful melody.

'Bargaining' has a faster beat with double kick drums, guitar distortion and ascending melodies. It soon breaks into odd time sigs that stop and start sporadically. This is a heavier track due to the metal guitar textures. The intricate avant garde rhythms would make any self respecting metronome shudder; it is off the scale. This is the best track so far for my tastes.

'Depression', the best track by a mile, has an even more pronounced metal sound, like Meshuggah. The tempo kicks in, takes off, goes into ramming speed, and then is silenced, until we hear new rhythms and it keeps shuddering, never staying on the one sig; this is unbelievable! I am in awe the way the band somehow keep tight with such delirious anti-rhythmic musicianship. The dissonant way that the guitar and drums move in to a machine gun attack, and then stop wilfully in sync is incredible. At 3:30 the tempo slows and it locks into a consolidated measured pace on this amazing track.

'Acceptance' opens with an Oriental sound, again a dark drone reminding me of Godspeed You! Black Emperor. The guitars are layered and not so aggressive as previous. The tempo moves into tumbling and rollicking all over the place as a hypnotic guitar motif resounds. The way the pace keeps speeding up and crashes down the stairs in a heap is one of the best things on the album. Shattering rhythms at 5:40 are driven by bass and drum irregularity, and then staccato pulses of heavy bass pummel any semblance of melody. Then it moves into a blast of acoustic answered by heavy bass plucking. At 7:55 speed picking guitar dominates reminding me of Manowar's intro to "Guyana The Cult of the Damned". The album has closed with a blinder, simply outstanding musicianship.

Overall, "V" is an odd album that takes a while to really take off, but it will appeal to Math Rock or Avant fans as this is on the more extreme side of dissonance. The last 2 tracks are excellent and definitely some of the best Math Rock I have heard since Giraffes? Giraffes! The time sigs are intricate beyond belief and I must admit this album took me by surprise after listening to a whole lot of mainstream albums today. This is as unconventional as the medium allows, providing some compelling listening from Concentric.

 V by CONCENTRIC album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.51 | 3 ratings

Concentric Post Rock/Math rock

Review by zravkapt
Special Collaborator Post/Math Rock Team

4 stars Concerntric is a three-piece from Wilwaukee, Wisconsin. This is their second album even though it is called "V." The "V" represents the five tracks here which are named after the Five Stages Of Grief as defined by psychiatrist Elisabeth Kübler-Ross. These are the famous stages of grief as people become aware of their impending death: Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression and Acceptance. Even though there is five different tracks on the album the whole thing flows as one piece. This is an instrumental concept album which attempts to convey emotions through the music alone. The members have had backgrounds in extreme metal before forming this band, which was originally more acoustic-oriented. Compared to the first album there is a balance between acoustic and electric guitars. The acoustic guitar playing is generally fairly intricate.

Some guitar effects sound like keyboards. Nice tones and sounds from the electric guitars. Cello adds another dimension to the music. Things get more interesting when it starts to become important. The style of music on this album is a mix of post-rock and post-metal along with a little bit of math rock, tech metal, fusion, prog folk and avant-prog thrown in. The music can be hard to describe as it can sound like a hundred different groups who don't sound anything like each other. You could say a metal-influenced post-rock with some fusion and folky elements. The album is very unpredictable when you first hear it, it takes a few listens to get used to. The music can be straight-forward while suddenly changing to a start/stop part or a fast and stuttering section.

The main opening melody sounds like 1980s Metallica at their most melodic, with harmonized guitars. The music changes throughout and you generally cannot tell when one track has ended and the next one begun unless you pay close attention to the time. It must have took a fair amount of time and effort to compose, practice and perform this entire piece of music. It doesn't sound like a heavily edited and overdubbed album, but it could be. The music sounds full for a trio and the great sound and production here helps with that. I like the way the CD case folds open. I have been used to this kind of packaging since the early 1990s but the way this CD folds open is different to the way I am used to. Recommended to prog metal fans who are not allergic to purely instrumental music or post-rock fans who are also metal fans. 4 stars.

 Immeasurable by CONCENTRIC album cover Studio Album, 2009
3.05 | 2 ratings

Concentric Post Rock/Math rock

Review by Negoba
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Acoustic Prog-Metal?

Concentric is the result of a group of extreme metallers trying to branch out into new territory. Choosing to move to acoustic instruments, this band is to Exivious what Days of the New was to Alice in Chains. (I incidentally loved Days of the New in the 90's) Being an ex-metal player who does almost exclusively acoustic work myself, this project held special interest to me.

First of all, this is not an "unplugged" album. Concentric has revamped and reinvented their entire sound around their acoustic instruments and the result is, in fact, more in the math / post rock realm than extreme metal. Jim Becker's cello is a major part of the sonic landscape on several songs, and the acoustic guitar serves more as a clean lead and harmonic accent instrument rather than strumming as a part of the rhythm section. The compositions are somewhat jazzy a la Gordian Knot or Scale the Summit. The bass is big, making for a balanced and full mix. The playing is intentionally loose, making the songs seem very human despite the level of compositional complexity.

There are a few places where the metal roots show through as in the power chording parts of "Counterbalance." Later in the album, the band even applies some distortion as on "Immeasurable." More often, there are tastes of Windham Hill with allusions to the sound of Michael Hedges and the sizzly fresh acoustic open strings. The drums are fairly understated, or as much as they can in this extremely busy music.

Perhaps the major complaint I have is that there's sometimes too much going on. The band still hasn't settled completely into their sound yet, which is fine for a young group exploring very new territory. In this way they are much like the young Scale the Summit, another group of technically gifted players still finding out what they want to say musically. Transitions can be a bit abrupt. Melodies are minimal, and eventually the songs begin to blend into each other. The album could probably have been about 15 (or even 25) minutes shorter.

Overall, I give great kudos for trying to push into new territory. I would suggest pushing even further, with more use of the cello, and a little more variation in the types of moods presented over the course of the album. There's an EP's worth of great stuff here. As it stands, it's a 3.5/5 album for me that I'm once again rounding to the mean.

Thanks to atavachron for the artist addition.

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