The Chilean progressive metal band Tetractys released their third album “Solstice” in April 2020, with the regular gap of two years. This music isn’t experimental or innovative (despite that fact, that their singer Juan Escobar plays in doom metal band Aphonic Threnody, and their drummer Alberto Atalah is from thrash metal band The Outside), but this album is well-considered and coherent. It is a conceptual release, referring to the transcendental mysteries of history and their denial to be explained.
There are only six songs on the “Solstice”, but the length of the songs isn’t less than six minutes (except “Wake”), but that’s common thing for progressive rock genre, which demands not only the skillful artistry but time as well. Alas, the melodies are not too catchy, but that’s not due to technical over-complications, it is because the songs lack emotional depth and refinement.
The album starts spryly and intensely, from the beginning preparing listener for complex progressiveness. The growling is almost on every song of the “Solstice”, and it’s not too deep or mesmerizing, but the clean vocals dominate throughout this record. The voice of Juan varies from neutral and boring to anguished and expressive (especially in the song “Stones of Baalbek”), but the song “Wings of Fire” is without extreme singing at all. No matter that his voice isn’t remarkable and sometimes lacks pressure, the last instrumental song “Atacama” proved, that the music of Tetractys requires the singing, otherwise the music sounds too impersonal and tedious. This song is the closest to heavy metal genre, so it sounds well enough without extreme vocals.
From the rhythm section the sound of bass is emphasized, it wasn’t intentional decision, but still the bass guitar influences the structure of all songs. But the most important part on “Solstice” belongs to guitar riffs, all the melodies are based on them, and sometimes they overload the sound of the songs (especially on “Quantic Link”). There’s a contemplative slow transition in “Wings of Fire” to diversify the atmosphere with blues rock influence. The two instrumental songs (“Wake” and “Atacama”) keep on only on technicality, where the guitarist fully demonstrated his talent (primarily with solos) after the long acoustic introduction. But on the “Stones of Baalbek” non-harmonic solos sound almost psychedelic. The album is full of complicated and lengthy guitar solos, and they are also responsible for extra melodiousness of this record. The album ends with an instrumental track, and the last minute of the song consists only of guitar noise, which is not typical for their music or progressive metal in general.
The South America hasn’t the strongest metal scene (with the exception of the bands like Angra or Mindflow), and so is the progressive scene. But despite that Tetractys doesn’t play super original or catchy music, their progressive metal is canonically styled, even the cover art fits in with its centralized element amid the desert and the cosmic decorations (which is very typical for prog rock). So let’s hope, that after two years Tetractys will return with more fresh ideas and stronger material.
Release date: April 25th, 2020
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