|Album cover by Jack Haas, Kayla Knudson, Mitch Schooler|
I think it goes without saying when you’re writing about an artist from your local scene, especially a friend, there will be an air of bias. This brief write-up is no different. Modulus’ first release, Entanglement, is a solo record that has been in the works by Nerves’ bassist Mitch Schooler since 2009. I’ve heard bits and pieces of it as it grew during the writing phase and watched as the project came and went over the years. Working on a Bachelor’s degree, practicing, writing, and playing live with the phenomenal Nerves (who released their debut EP earlier this year), then finding the time to work on this project is no easy task. I’m genuinely happy for Mitch that he finally got this off of his chest.
Much like the journey of this release’s creation, the music itself is a rollercoaster of sound, fury, and technicality. It’s mechanical and precise in every way, but not entirely without soul. Ever so briefly between the multitude of blasts, breaks, and overall discord of musical movements come moments of slower, bass-driven grooves and synthy atmospheres. The structure of each song throws all convention out the window in favor of calculated chaos. The only constant here is change. The songs are showy and indulgent in length, speed, dissonance, and technical ability, but it couldn't be more proud of it. It’s a deadly concoction of progressive, hardcore, thrash, groove, and tech-death all packed into roughly 30 minutes of music.
Though the album is a blast to listen to, it’s not above fair criticism. The lack of a vocalist, while not a deal-breaker by any means, is noticeably disappointing at times. I understand it’s a solo album showcasing Mitch’s instrumental prowess, but there are certainly spots throughout the album that I felt some vocals would’ve really glued this whole thing together. The disjointed nature of it all could’ve used that unifying element. The drums may also be a point of contention for some, but I argue that their robotic, perfect nature plays into the overall theme and feel of the EP.
At the low, low price of “pay what you want”, you really can’t go wrong on this one. It may not be Necrophagist’s mythical return, but it’s certainly a fun fix for my fellow tech-heads who crave new blood in the scene.
[Go to the post to view the Bandcamp player]