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Tetrafusion - Horizons EP CD (album) cover




Experimental/Post Metal

4.00 | 11 ratings

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4 stars Horizons is quite an interesting release. Tetrafusion came into the music world back in 2009 with Absolute Zero, a long-winded and technical instrumental concept album, which failed to make any noise within the progressive rock and metal scenes. As with most instrumental "concept albums", it was a vague and uninteresting affair, and although several good riffs came in every few minutes, nothing of this style was ever going to get Tetrafusion anywhere.

A year later, Tetrafusion returned with a follow-up, and this time, they came with something a bit more interesting ? a vocalist. Altered State was a definite improvement, the vocals got rid of many of the boring and long-winded passages on the debut, but the band found that many had already boxed them into "uninteresting instrumental prog metal". No matter how many albums they put out, that was where they would sit, and it sure would be hard to create a new, interesting sound, if everyone was judging for your early albums.

Horizons is honestly the perfect restart. The EP was released on bandcamp for free download in early 2012, and I, like many who downloaded it, assumed it was a debut. Neither of the full-lengths are mentioned on the bandcamp page, and it wasn't until much later that I realised this wasn't their first. Tetrafusion managed to leap onto the upcoming trend, jumping in with fellow prog metal bands like Aetherfallen, Lithium Dawn and Noctis, who all released stunning debuts for free.

But as much as Tetrafusion nailed this release from a marketing perspective, we all know that it wouldn't have worked without a significant improvement in the music. And boy, it really has. Musically, Tetrafusion have struck the middle ground of progressive rock and metal, a combination guaranteed to get me excited, but this release strikes this riff and atmosphere-based progressive metal of Porcupine Tree and Riverside as opposed to the virtuosic and wank-driven material of the classic prog metal bands, a sound which has become increasingly dry as the years take their toll.

The EP is long, nearly an album length at 31 minutes, but the EP title helps, to make the listener realise the transitional nature of this release. It's a continuous concept release, and although I have no desire to know the exact story of the EP, it brings a very 'new frontier' sort of sci-fi vibe. The continuous music also helps to keep the music interesting, although I still wish some of the wankier sections were kept a bit shorter, the vocal melodies and memorable riffs throughout counter them well enough to be forgiven.

The riffs here definitely sound like they're straight from an album like In Absentia, but the slightly more virtuosic side (which I am admittedly not a fan of) draws toward Riverside and Dream Theater, although without the organs of the former or the massive solos of the latter. A lot of this EP, in terms of atmospheres and vocals, reminds me a bit of the first Disperse record, Journey Through the Hidden Gardens, with its spiraling guitar lines and layered vocals, especially moments like the start of "Spider Silk". And like that Disperse record, the vocals are definitely the binding here, keeping the music cohesive, with some great and memorable lines throughout, like the choruses on "Impetus" and "Cloudless", which both have a fantastic catchiness to them that keeps you listening.

I have to give a moment to commend the bass and drums on this EP. Although I'm not a big fan of the djenty bass tone used on the intro of "Cloudless" or the kick drum here, the majority of the basslines are fantastically interesting, and completely audible, and the snare drum is absolutely glorious, reminding me back to that awesome snare on Dream Theater's Images and Words album, but with a bit of a stickier and punchier feel.

I have to admit, there are a few parts that don't click with me at all on this EP. My dislike of the messy and wank-driven guitar lines that many prog metal bands use means that moments of this record have me cringing a bit, and "No One Sleeps" borders on bad, reminding me of the horrible and embarrassing second album from Disperse, Living Mirrors, but there are enough good lines in here to excuse the excessive vocoder/autotune and djent tone, and the dual finale of "Look Away" is easily enough to ignore it.

I await the follow-up to Horizons impatiently. With this release, Tetrafusion have gained a whole new fanbase, and with it, spread this new and more interesting sound to the world. A fantastic release, easily their best to date, and easily one of the best EP releases of 2012.


Originally written for my Facebook page/blog:

Gallifrey | 4/5 |


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