06. Sleep Therapy
07. The Colossus
11. Rock Island, 1931
If you think about it, for gruff metal heads a lot of us are accepting of some pretty mellow non metal acts: Tenhi, Nuen Welten, Godspeed You! Black Emperor, old Mortiis, Summoning, Dornenreich just to name a few, seem to get a free pass with metal heads and as artistically brilliant as many non metal acts are , they are not metal, yet get mentioned and reviewed on sites like this. And I’m not here to dispute that or dissect why, I’m just here to introduce you to a pretty stunning Milwaukee instrumental acoustic trio called Concentric.
Featuring former Deadtide.com writer Jerry Hauppa (who I actually owe no favors to for this review since he once publicly called me and digitalmetal.com out), Concentric play a form of technical avant-garde instrumental music that’s largely acoustic and somewhat flamenco-ish and sometimes folky (in an organic, medieval kind of way), has some violin and cello, and some occasional metal leanings, but is superbly performed and a nice break from all the breakdowns and blastbeats.
What Concentric manage to do is be delicate, laid back and relaxing, while retaining some metallic complexity. While certainly most of the album is languid yet intricate string/acoustic (with percussion) busy flourishes that bring to mind some of the great Flamenco/Acoustic soloists (“Familiarity”, “Opaque”, “Counterbalance”, the delightful duo of “Sleep Therapy” and closer “Verdiend”-complete with acoustic blast beat), its obvious that Hauppa’s metal background is still a little on display for the likes of the moody “The Colossus”, end of “Inspiration” and the 9-minute title track which delivers electric guitar riffs, solos and even a surprise blast beat.
Jim Becker adds some enchanting cello (particularly the haunting “Monument” and “Sedatophobia”) and violin work to the mix, while newly added drummer Brad O’ Malley give the acoustics dexterity some backbone- and it comes together for a rather breath taking but definitely non metal, 60 minute experience that, on headphones, just unravels, and envelops with each unique and beautiful chord and note.
A simply breath taking exercise in skillfull, dexterous acoustics, Concentric have to be one of the most talented and enthralling instrumental, non metal acts Ive been exposed too. I hope some of you guys feel the same way. (-by Erik Thomas @ teethofthedivine.com)