If you're one of those people who thought that the Mars Volta were doing something new and innovative, then this album will be right up your street. Those of us old enough to remember King Crimson will shake our heads from side to side, muttering about 'when I were a lad we had art-metal for breakfast;.
This self proclaimed 'ambient soundtrack doom rock' outfit fit in nicely alongside Neurosis and Mastodon in their attempt to bring the so-called 'mathcore' to the masses, with complex time signatures and intense motifs. And when it works, it's very, very good. When it doesn't it's unlistenable tosh. But that is part of the adventure when it comes to challenging listeners conceptions about the structure of music.
There's lots of downtuning, oodles of neo-classical arrangements, replete with violins and cellos, and one masterpiece, the closing 14 minutes of "The Greatest Bane", where they manage to match their aspirations to their music. You just know there's a Crow soundtrack lurking somewhere in the orchestrated soundscapes on offer here, nad their ambitions are to be admired in a world where three minute pop-punk is regarded as being adventurous (Blink 182 take your bow).
"The Human Stain" is another one of the highlights with a lengthy orchestral passage, something that would bear repeated plays, and if they get the cash together a full on orchestral approach would seem their best bet. However, for an indie release the eye to detail is remarkable, and should be a template for others bemoaning their status.