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Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Arch / Matheos - Sympathetic Resonance review

Year : 2011
Genre : Progressive Metal
Label : Metal Blade Records
Origin : United States
Rating : 8.5 / 10

Buy it now

The moniker Arch / Matheos marks the reunion of original Fates Warning members John Arch - mythic vocalist - and renowned guitar abuser Jim Matheos, now supported by Bobby Jarzombek on drums and Joey Vera on bass.

Sympathetic Resonance sounds like a cybernetic Iron Maiden factory set to top-production capacity. This thing is spiky, angry and chuggy as a jogging rhino with its ass on fire, and, at the same time, also manages to define itself as utterly and fluently - on occasion, even pointlessly - melodic, courtesy of John Arch's powerful high frequency vocal presence.

There is so much going on right from the very start that it quickly becomes evident that the record is the result of insanely tall stacks of dozens, dozens and even some more dozens of meticulous working hours, fueling a monolithic testament that keeps relentless enough of a focus on its own nature to triumphantly reach the point on which virtual self-repetition gets enthusiastically greeted as progression. Nah, it was just a percept, and I'm not so sure about it on the third spin.

One thing though, is for sure : Sympathetic Resonance dismisses you immediately once you are not serious about wanting to know it for what it is, and it has 54 minutes of valid, but very elusive audible stimuli in store to get accustomed to first. Read on to find out how this monstrous release declares itself mightily as a space beacon black hole, one that sounds to be more than happy to suck itself into itself, and still feeling jolly good about that.

Sympathetic Resonance feels like a release that the members of this re-union have created for themselves, and there is not much if anything wrong with such a stance, because, if the creators can't enjoy what they are doing, than chances are that the listener won't enjoy it, either. The release is extremely quick and even more persistent to reveal AND repeat its focal mechanic and favorite flow of work, which is to unleash efficient, but - strangely enough - elusive swarms of sonic carpet bombing through a set of well researched mood patterns, and Arch's vocals are riding on those bombs with superb clarity and top of the heat siren-charm, no complaints can be given with a face to be found after. The release still sounds to

triumph valiantly,

or, if you want,

suffer legendarily

as result of being almost constantly ahead of itself in a relentless pursuit of its own super-complexity, bombarding the listener with a new theme on top of the prior new theme that just got abruptly and brutally executed at the spot you wish the band would have investigated further, instead. It is not that you have nothing to hold on to, quite the contrary : you have a MILLION and then some more things to hold on to all the time, but the record expects you to not to trust nor cultivate all too tender sentiments towards any one attraction of it, because what you have been holding on to, will vanish in the next moment. Guaranteed.

This flowing aspect of music, is of course, an absolutely valid one of it, but (one of) my favorite fixation(s) of trying to deliver organic connection between two autonomous musical sequences/entities, sounds to be pretty absent, but, one must admit, inventively absent from this album. Arch / Matheos simply fails to give a damn with two lost holes in it for your sentiments, and this creative behavior demands respect. You will never know what is it to hit you next, you only know that it is about to happen for sure.

All these notions may give you the false impression that they seek to reflect on the album's shortcomings, yet this is not the case at all. The above addressed things are not negative nor positive things of the spin, they are "just" the full musculature focal characteristics of it, traits that guarantee a long term relationship with the record, but have zero doubts whatsoever that you will


a massive amount of time into this LP until you can claim a valid understanding of it. With solely chug-related, aggressive super-complexity and some elegant, tender caresses here and there laid out throughout track lengths well above the 10 minute benchmark, Sympathetic Resonance is a monster of a release that comes to you waving a kinetic sledgehammer and expects nothing less than the unconditional worship of the aforementioned chug-centered complexity taken to the extreme - toppled, of course, by top of the heat vocals of the siren kind. If you want to have proper sex with a monster, you need to learn its habits, and there are no shortcuts. Once again : this is recommended for the pairs of serious ears seeking to invest serious time into relentless chug-complexity toppled by soaring, clean vocals, but, for them, this is an immediate premiere choice.

Rating : 8.5 / 10

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