January 14, 2014

Myopic - Beyond the Mirror's Edge

Written by Matt Hinch.

The press release for Beyond the Mirror's Edge by Myopic presents the 3-piece as progressive black metal. I myself would tend to lean more towards the progressive than black after hearing this 4-song EP. The foundations of black metal are there, but Myopic don't sit still long enough to entrench themselves in the mud and blood of one genre.

The second track however, "Iron Towers" holds truest to black metal standards with a hack 'n' slash approach and plenty of tremulous guitar work. But even it lays back later in the track. Although, even it works its way into an almost jaunty place with some Les Claypool-inspired bass and post-metal touches to go along with the dark atmosphere. As black as Myopic, and this track in particular may be, its not an oppressive black. It remains quite open, making the transition into other genres not as out of place as they could be.

The title track is relatively sludgy but with plenty of drama provided by the progressive moments. While the overall tone isn't necessarily heavy, it has a nice flow. It moves back and forth between the edgy sections and the more melodic, like an artist in the throes of creativity, working furiously one moment then stepping back to observe and contemplate.

Myopic's diversity is on full display during "Backstitch", an entirely instrumental track. Prog mixes with USBM and doom. Soaring guitars nestle close to post-hardcore. The track twists and turns and the listener finds themselves in many different places as the track goes along. There's swing, a paranoid feel, hard notes, upbeat ones, and screaming ones. It's definitely the sort of track that lets the winds of fate determine its course.

Final track "Lord of Damnation" might be the most eclectic of them all. Imagine a mash-up of Primus and the Toadies with rock and roll swagger and pseudo-blackened screaming. It's spastic, light-hearted yet menacing, and often off-kilter.

Myopic come across as a band with plenty of talent who definitely pay attention to the intricacy of their arrangements. It all sounds good and crisp without a cut-and-paste feel. Your ultimate impression therefore depends on whether you regard their unorthodox black metal menagerie as a band refusing to confine themselves to genre restrictions, or as a band unsure of its identity. Everything they do they do well, and it can be crazy catchy. Trust me. I guess it all depends on how open your mind is.

Bet you never thought you'd hear "black metal" and "Toadies" in the same review, did you?

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