Although billed as an EP, hence the low price, it's 44 minutes long, which I think makes great value for money. Probably not worth ordering specially, but if you like the sound of what I describe give it a go. Miocene's 2000 'Refining the Theory' debut was labelled as KoRn/Deftones meets Tool. Basically a complex, sophisticated broadly nu-metal album, marking them as stars of the British underground. Now, however, Miocene have produced a surprise follow up indeed. Not a completely new direction, as it follows 'Angels and Earthquakes' (the bonus track from 'Refining...') but a surprise nonetheless. Elements of Tool are still recognisable, but by adopting synths, cello, clarinet and french horn the band have produced a truly startling follow up. This 44-minute six track EP sounds far more like the laid back chilled jazz and beats of DJ Shadow or Massive Attack than a band previously billed as nu-metal starlets. It opens with a brief (sub 2 minute) intro, before launching into 'Katie Sierra'. These two tracks feature a sort of chanting noise, a cross between the gothic chants you'd expect of VAST or Delerium and ethnic LadySmith Black Mumbazo singing! Ben's 'proper vocals' don't come in until track 3 ('State of Flux') and are generally largely in the background. They in particular are reminiscent of (Tool/A Perfect Circle singer) Maynard James Keenan. Meandering past like one chilled out jam session with most of the songs blurring into the next(even though there aren't many); it's perfect for lazy, relaxing summer afternoons. Impressive not just as an album, but as a brave change of direction (perhaps prompted by the revelation of final track 'Why Metal Sucks in 2002' - it's money). Largely instrumental, this record surely won't be to everyone's taste, and will alienate the more narrow-minded of their old fanbase, but it deserves to be given a chance. Not many British bands could produce such a challenging and surprising experimental record that deserves all the praise Radiohead got for 'Kid A' and more. It's not clear what the future holds - whether this EP is the sign of things to come, or just a chance for something different and the band will revert to their old style for the next album. Personally I must admit I hope for somewhere in between - a return to their heavier style but maintaining the maturity and variety shown here.
After the utterly amazing 'Refining The Theory' it was hard for miocene to do anything that i would love as much, but on 'Cellular Memory' they have done just that. the 40 odd minute EP its incredible, it can be considered a spin off from the bonus track 'Angels and Earthquakes' from 'Refining...'. it is very differant from their previous metal sound, but this is no bad thing, the sound of 'Cellular Memory' is not something im generally into, but somehow this has won me over, it contains wonderful chill-out beats mixed with a cello and a french horn and some utterly outstanding vocals from Ben, particularly on the track 'Harpie And The Preacher' and the result is pant wettingly exciting. This is more of a chilled out record, much less vocals and heavy rifferyb that 'Refinuing the Theory', but dont worry, Ben still has plenty to do, showing talent on the guitar as well as his vocal ability. I have been waiting for this record since may when i first heard about the plans for it (I was told it would be out by mid september so I have been waiting sometime!) and when I finally got my hands on it, I was not disappointed, instead i was both incredibly impressed with the sound, and hugely shocked by the fact I could be so much in love with a sound I usually dont particularly like. Showing influences from DJ shadow to Tool, but retaining their own distince input, Miocene certainly have pushed the boat out here, but I highly doubt they will sink and have to swim. This should one day become one of 'those' classic albums (or an EP anyway) longer than most albums released these days, but released as an EP, you can go wrong. buy it or miss out dearly.
Very interesting stuff from a new British metal four piece with ideas far, far, above the station of most boring as hell metal bands. Given time and money i think they might become like a 21st century King Crimson , (no honestly)- with a mix of electronics, metal, and anything else they can lay their hands on. Plenty of bands (see Pitchshifter, fear factory) have tried the electronica + metal formula, and got it utterly wrong and sound cringeworthily bad. As a fan of both (intelligent) metal and the weirder elements of bands like DJ Shadow, Massive Attack, and the Warp electonica acts, I can safely say that the music on this EP gets the blend just right (if perhaps a little too experimental than some of their older fans might like). Can't wait for their next release, if it sounds as good as this but with more song-oriented material...
As longstanding lovers of artists such as Massive Attack, Squarepusher & DJ Shadow, 'Cellular Memory' - recorded spontaneously, and with cello, clarinet & french horn thrown into the musical melee for the first time - sees Miocene exploring, experimenting and eroding as many preconceptions as possible, whilst all the time retaining the organic feel and emotive drive that has characterised their particular take on the rock'n'roll dream since day one. this recording is amazing from start to finish, its a journey of wonderful sounds that draws you in, its a place you wont wont to leave..
I have had the opportunity to hear a preview of the CD, I was utterly impressed with the awesome mix of experimental jazz, drum and bass and timimg. For fans of such artists as 'Tricky' and "The Cinematic Orchestra" this CD will provide a real treat. It still has the traditional miocene sound, Very atmospheric, goes out into space and back again. If you are looking to hear another 'Refining the Theory" you will be very dissapointed, this CD is very different, but in my humble opinion, is a fantastic EP, it appeals to those who adore music. I think this is the start of something VERY big for miocene, they have sounds here that will open a LOT of doors... fantastic.