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Counter-World Experience - Metronomicon CD (album) cover

METRONOMICON

Counter-World Experience

 

Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

3.97 | 22 ratings

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justaguy
3 stars This is a very powerful metal fusion group from Germany. That style you don't come across too often, I think. It can be described as: Tool meets Allan Holdsworth. The musicians themselves call it "progressive jazz metal". Very metallic sounding guitar, heavy, saturated bass and very quick drum work, and at the same time - jazzy, quite intellectual and sometimes a little abstract improvisations, all that is smoothen up with some acoustic guitar, piano, vocal or strings addings. It comes very closely to the music of Clad in Darkness or Gordian Knot, the perfect bassist Sean Malone's project, where Steve Hackett collaborated once.

The trio Counter-World Experience was founded in 2001 and has issued three albums before the "Metronomicon". I listened to a few songs from the previous albums and it seems that they are quite persistent in their style. Which maybe some demanding listeners could find a little too constant. You can't really distinguish one album from another. Saying that, it means also, that the level of music quality is constantly high. Their composing and technical skills will become a benchmark for many musicians one day.

The album begins with "Deus ex Machina", where a fragile wordless female vocal, like a beam of sunlight, counterpoints the dark heaviness of the metal guitars.

In the title song "Metronomicon", another quite heavy arrangement is interrupted firstly with Benjamin Schwenen's guitar-synth solo, which comes very closely to what Allan Holdsworth does with his SynthAxe. The sound of guitar-synth is not that rich, comparing to the SynthAxe, but well, how many SynthAxe players are there anyway?

The third number, Fuego Barbarico, is a heavy metal flamenco, something what Al Di Meola could produce, if he was a member of, let's say, Static X.

Then comes "Metis", with a quiet and beautiful acoustic guitar introduction, ruptured to pieces by heavy guitar riffs. This number has everything a good progressive song should have: different rhythms, changing melodies, spacious solo's, very complicated bass loops and a little less aggressive drum rhythms.

"Quintus" has an interesting, slow, little abstract, almost Bach-like intermezzo, again broken up by the heavy metal riffs. Beautiful.

"Deep Waters" is beautiful in it's slowness, with guitar, guitar-synth and bass trading solo's. The bass solo in the middle of the song is really something special, very technical but in the same time melodic.

Actually, every song in the album has it's own treat, something special, which makes it different from the rest. "Digital Dust" has that fantastic piano intro and a heavy keyboard solo by the guest musician Jörg Sandner. "Youth" has a typical house-like synthesizer start, overflowing into a jazzy synth-guitar solo, which turns into a heavy metal riff. "End of the Path" has fantastic jazzy bass solo's that would make Stanley Clark be proud if he produced them and a violin quartet intermezzo, a little abstract and quite interesting.

This is very strong and consistent record, technically and melodically, highly recommended to all the funs of metal fusion. If they exist. Well, of course, the metal lovers, prog-rockers and some adventurous jazz connoisseurs will dig this one too, I think. Still, a 4, and may be, only because I don't count myself as a metal fusion lover, so to me it is not really essential.

justaguy | 3/5 |

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