Παρασκευή, 31 Οκτωβρίου 2014

Qualeaceans - Capture Of Ziz (2014)



                                                                 
This is a very interesting case; Qualeaceans is a newcomer project comprised of unknown individuals, hailing from an unknown country, who present themselves (?) to us with a single song with a duration of just.. 78 minutes. And this is just the beginning. Their motto is "Metal in Opposition", a reference to RIO, the prog rock offshoot "genre" that despised limits and conventional structures (being despised itself in turn by the mainstream music industry), favoring instead poly-stylism and free form experimentation. Its adherents in the metal culture being so few, Qualeaceans have the advantage to at least begin from a position of interest.

Unconventionally so, the album "The Capture of Ziz" has one song, which does not bear the same title. It is actually called "In the Cavern of the Flightless" and its lyrics would generally place it into the sci-fi category, albeit of the very psychedelic variety, perhaps surrealist too. There is a story here and although it is veiled enough by metaphor and unconventional phrasing, it does create interesting imagery and those hooked by the musical part will probably get their returns when trying to unlock it.

Poly-stylism is a word that the band uses to define its work and indeed there is a lot of stuff here, ranging from heavy death metal, to space rock, to intimate acoustic parts, to freak folk free jamming, to.. you get it. In essence, there are different movements that could have been presented as separate songs, yet I do like the concept of the long composition anyway as it re-enforces the idea that it should be listened as a whole and there is also good enough flow between the parts to justify it. Generally, the logic of jamming progresses actively the song, as all movements reach a point where they "lock" into a repeating rhythm, with a lot of guitar soloing (and not only) happening. But there is also substantial riffing in-between these parts, not failing thus to keep the interest intact as many bands of the "space rock" genre do, for whom recording albums and jamming live is almost one and the same. There is also a variety in the instruments that are used,  from psychedelic keyboards to flutes and mandolins (?), some sounds even defying recognition. Guitars are usually heavily effected in ingenious ways and drums, although it parts sound programmed, groove in often complex rhythms. The metal parts are quite complex, even though in a very different way than your typical techno-death band; it is as if they feel a desire to dissolve themselves, to destroy expected structure and logic and find a greater freedom underneath the debris. The so-called dementia, perhaps, a word that is uttered often by the lips of conventionality.

Most of the times, at least, because the band unfortunately does give in some times to the temptation of rather pointless doodling. This usually happens in certain solos that keep on for too long, or at some parts where the desired weirdness translates into random dissonance that doesn't do anything for me. The greatest misstep is in the segment from the 50th to the 60th minute, where just after perhaps my favorite part of the song, an inward acoustic movement with clean vocals in the vein of Kayo Dot, every guitar track begins to play totally unrelated stuff, somewhat like childish play.  Maybe that was the point, but still it is pretty pointless to listen to this segment and I pass it every time. I guess that would be because the absolute breakdown in structure doesn't work in music except as a statement, and even the most experimental theme has to carry some slight repetition to bear musical meaning. Yet, it's completely natural in such experimental works sometimes for the experiment not to pay off, but fortunately for Qualeaceans, this concerns the smaller part of the album.

The Capture of Ziz is a very bold work that improves by every listen and holds much actual content beyond experimentation-for-the-sake-of-it. I would definitely recommend it, even though its rough parts and uncompromising form will definitely require much patience from the listener. It will be very interesting to see how will Qualeaceans evolve in the future and if this happens in the direction of substance rather than remaining fixated on aiming for "weirdness", as it happens in a lot in these kind of projects, certainly the metal scene will have a new standard of mind-sex to refer to.

75/100

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