[ SHORT REVIEWS | DETAILED REVIEWS
TRACK LIST: 1. Constructing the Liquid Plains 8:28 2. Ascend 6:56 3. A Delayed End 7:59 4. The Route 7:42 5. Their Whereabouts 2:47 6. Bone Dams 9:05 7. As Barriers Fall 5:44 8. Kalmisto 11:18 LINE UP : Tuomas Rajala - drums Juuso Jalava - bass Juho Matilainen - guitars Markku Kastell - guitars Jani Ramo - vocals with: Antti Loponen - backing vocals, keyboards, guitars Kari Makiranta - piano, organ Satu Kastell - violin, viola Teemu Mastovaara - cello Tuomas Rajala - percussion, programming
Prolusion. Finnish band Nauticus was formed back in 2009, and were rather active in their initial phase with their debut album appearing the same year and their second album appearing three years later. It would take the band six years to come forth with their third album however, which appeared in 2018, and that album is their most recent production to date. Their second album "The Wait" dates back to 2012, and was self released by the band.
Analysis. While this is an album that is fairly diverse in its approach and execution, I suspect that progressive metal is the best manner in which to categorize the material here. Primarily because of some rather distinct and powerful metal passages being a part of most compositions, and metal will be the going option for categorization when this is the case. But in my view this is also a case of an album where the metal parts aren't really the dominating aspect of this production as a whole, but rather a case of this being one important part among a few others. The most defining aspect of this production for me is the liberal use of quirky and challenging instrument movements explored in a variety of different guises. Off kilter rhythm details and unusual instrument movements is the order of the day, even if often on a more subtle level. Otherwise a plethora of fluctuating and circulating motifs define the individual compositions, with some quirky Crimsonian touches applied here and some post-rock style textures appearing there, with both chugging and bombastic riff driven sections also being the order of the day. But more mellow and delicate parts is an equally important part of the landscapes explored here, and with space and room for atmospheric laden passages just as much as side steps into more chaotic landscapes. That the band appears to have a taste for the theatrical merits a mention too I guess, and also that we do get some occasional visits into more regular types of progressive rock and progressive metal landscapes. One aspect of this album that will be divisive are the lead vocals. The vocal parts that are delivered in a calm and controlled manner are rather good here, and often adds a slight emphasis to the theatrical parts of the proceedings, but whenever the song requires or the vocalist decides that a more intense delivery is merited then we get vocals that are very distinct indeed, and often to the point of being a strict abrasive presence. While some people will get a lot out of having such a raw and contrasting feature present, this latter aspect of the vocal repertoire explored here will presumably have more of a limited appeal.
Conclusion. I find this second album by Nauticus to be an interesting affair. The compositions are most certainly challenging, and the structure in itself gives this production solid progressive credentials. Dreamladen sequences and gentle progressive rock paired off and combined with post-rock and off kilter progressive metal is perhaps a suitable manner in which to summarize the contents of this production, and if a challenging and fairly demanding variety of such a mix sounds intriguing and you have a liberal and inclusive stance to the manner in which the lead vocals are supplied, then chances are good that you'll get a lot out of giving this album a spin.
Progmessor: May 2023
[ SHORT REVIEWS | DETAILED REVIEWS - LIST | BANDLISTS ]