The third full-length album of the Norwegian progressive metal band 66CRUSHER sees the light onto […]
By Vladimir "Abir" Leonov
April 17, 2015
66Crusher - Wanderer album cover

The third full-length album of the Norwegian progressive metal band 66CRUSHER sees the light onto a further instauration of a distinguished sound spanning on more than one hour, yet worth delving into every bit of it.

"Wanderer" embarks with a riff-based track "Human Remains" yet the mighty snares held all the power while the riff gets paraphrased in a different suit, add to it a clever count-or-fail interlude on otherworldly scales mostly when played on a solo. There are indeed moments you can groove to and others you cannot, but the abrupt tempo curb can make the heart skip a bit for the highly anticipated "what's next", particularly the cryptic ending fade out with scores of dots remaining unanswered.

"Lost In The Fray" follows up with such a brutal impetus without even forcing it. Most guitar-players who play aggressive music have to use their whole arm, but here things go smooth but fervid all with a genuinely light hand touch (I bet sun and moon). But essentially the mingle of the thrash intro with the progressive transitions epitomized the antithetical coupling of mystic emotions set free with tête-à-tête technical display, mind with body, abstract to concrete.... The scales are intriguing, swinging more than once. It wasn't just blast, but also dynamics as you can recognize subtle ups and downs without necessarily a tempo shift. Although the bass/drum panicle was indisputably la pierre angulaire, the song structure leaves room to a consistent poem structure, think of it as pre-established quatrains - lyrical till the point that the closing long solo à la sort of DAVID GILMOUR would be proxy for the unspoken suite of the vocals.

Still, the thrash influence is pretty obvious in the fanfare intro of "A Place To Hide" apart from scattered linkers, crudely reminiscent of some of the stuff of the NWOBHM. The solo as well as the duplicated vocals are a definite kick-ass commercially proceeding, yet the tricky bars of the semi-acoustic ambient second part induced a schism that jogs one's memory that this is underground first and foremost.

"Founders Of Time" featured a dialogue between a distorted sound and a Spanish guitar as a special guest. Despite the majestic drum entry, what followed was practically simple open chords but enhanced à la puissance n before a more typical verse rushes in, hinting tremolo alternated with palm muted chords. Vocals here are more down-pitched, yet what strikes most is the excellent timing of the back vocal overdub. What characterizes the prog genre is that different chapters arbitrarily take place, consider it a medley with no obvious connection, a theater piece with detached acts, swift shifts from A to B before you can even digest the precedent, that's what's catching about this progressive track despite its leaning towards baroque for a certain amount of bars implying for example what scales MALICE MIZER used back in the 90s, carried on in "Ember" with cuts bringing about a prevailing air of sway dance, a feature more frequent in the Japanese metal scene (Japanese isn't automatically a synonym for mediocre). The track starts typical then more and more complex, whereas the single main layer of vocals isn't conveying enough messages. As a matter of fact, the backing vocal track has done it an enormous favor in a bid to shape the story-telling (not obvious in the lyrics themselves, but rather in the apparent quatrains format)

The intro drums of "Bloodwritten" are just sick, peculiar and immaculate air raids in an exemplary effort along with the killer guitar riff as well as the chords of the OPETH-like jazzy guitar effect passage before climaxing again. The riffs are elementary yet captivating; associated with a rhythm section creating a hypnotic low-key interlude. The melody is much freer here with each chord progression conveying a distinct state of mind, another reason why this track is a transcendent chef-d'oeuvre, extended and further explored within "The Answer" - an acoustic ambient air that is hard to label as metal, but rather incarnating light and shade more in depth as the solid bass line takes spotlight with a jazz back up and at times a distorted guitar miming the melody before an electric solo backed by the acoustic guitar chords, the overall being kind of semi-unplugged output.

As you browse ahead the tracks it becomes less and less charged quantitatively and tempo speaking until a thoroughly instrumental track "Ceres" bounces between open chords and palm mutes with scales shifting from a chord to another simply by lengthening or curbing the interval. The link between progressive metal and Middle Eastern scales should constitute the subject of a PFE thesis at least!

What seems at first like a mundane pile of utter hype, "Wanderer" had cuts and solos to intervene and take it to an absolutely other level before surrendering to the emotional side similar to that of the mid tracks of the album. Although not their best track, it did recapitulate the first turbo and the second sweet stripped-down set of their palette seamlessly at once, even fusing them to harmony towards the end with a surprise final treat, a falsetto vocal range.

This is the one of the few progressive records that have been able to inhibit my reflex of compulsive comparison to Dream Theater's early material. 66Crusher fellows, though no instrumental gurus, seem having something on their own. Brace yourself.

10 / 10


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"Wanderer" Track-listing:

1. Human Remains
2. Lost In The Fray
3. A Place To Hide
4. Founders Of Time
5. Ember
6. Bloodwritten
7. The Answer
8. Ceres
9. Wanderer

66Crusher Lineup:

Jarle Olsvoll - Guitars / Vocals
Martin Legreid - Guitars
Øystein Kummen - Bass guitar
Håkon Obdsaija Bergstad - Drums and Cymbals

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