2017. I can’t help but expect a shit show from the world, given 2016’s wonton flinging of excrement at any critically minded human being, but we are not here to belabor the obvious, politically. We are here to persuade each other that our favorite musical genre rolls athwart the probable idiocy of our cultures – or at least my own culture.
2016’s metal offerings were almost entirely strong. It would be quite a feat for the next twelve months to approach, let alone match or exceed what the previous twelve have given us. What does one of the first releases of the New Year portend?
Weirdness. The Replicate is a project headed by Sandesh Nagaraj, a musician I am unfamiliar with, but who has played guitar for Indian bands Extinct Reflections and Stranglehold, and bass for MyndSnare, and who is now based out of Los Angeles. And whether due to his multicultural background or just because he has a desire for it, A Selfish Dream is weird. It has weird time signatures and weird effects. It has weirdly Darkanne-ish choral moments. It is weirdly short. It finishes with a weird soundscape, so that you get 3 songs and a flourish.
The only disappointing thing about this EP is that it is an EP. Whatever this fellow and his guests are up to, I want to get a better feel for it. The three songs are strong, but they are also varied in their idiosyncrasies, such that wrangling what direction The Replicate is moving is a chore. The opener, “Chainsaw of God” is Death-ish, with the aforementioned Darkanne chorus effect, and it is a very coherent and catchy song, but somewhat traditional; charging and grooving.
“Eugenicide” is not traditional. It has a very punchy riff, almost classic rock in effect, but once the vocals start, there is an added melody played with a tripped out effect, and the slow, Melvins like chorus gives the entire song a truly weird, but truly compelling sound. The supporting musicians are doing the support role perfectly: the rhythm section grooves like a Stanly Clarke jam. But it is all played squarely in a death metal motif. And it works amazingly, giving us the EP’s highlight.
The last actual song, “The Saline” pulls more from expected death metal tropes, but still maintains the weirdness factor enough to keep the EP’s “just strange enough” ethos alive and kicking. The fastest number of the three, this one ends suddenly, leaving the listener with a distorted guitar noising over a quiet count out, leading to the titular final guitar melody above an electronic soundscape.
Taken as a whole, the EP is great, but is just to godamned short. The production is mainly set-up-and-get-out-of-the-way, so you feel like you are listening to the band(s) playing their songs rather than the engineer creating something from various parts, and that adds to the excitement. But at a total length of 10 minutes, there just isn’t enough of it for me.
Let me be clear about that last point. There isn’t enough because I crave more. The price of this EP is $5 on Bandcamp, and it is hard to recommend 10 minutes for a nickel. On the other hand, this is 8.5 minutes of great songs and 1.5 minutes of creepy melody, and I want people to hear this thing, because I think it can lead to a truly great album and I want the guy to get enough scratch from this EP to warrant that album. So I will leave it up to you, dear reader, to listen to the provided track and decide for yourself whether two more tracks and then some is worth your hard earned fiver.
To Mr. Nagaraj I would ask that you find a way to get more of this out here for people like me. I feel like you are on to something worth exploring, and I really and truly hope to hear more from you in the future. This EP, short though it is, is a killer taste of what could be. I wish you success, of only for my own selfish cravings.
As to how this begins the year, I will take weird and catchy as a positive sign.