Rock and metal super groups don’t come to fruition very often these days. But when they do, their albums possess those traits that separate them from their members’ regular bands, but also by bringing their respective qualities to the table, be it fashionably heavy guitar courtesy of Mercyful Fate’s Mike Wead or the distinctly melodic, pure voice of Matthieu Romarin (Uneven Structure). On the surface it sounds pretty epic.
Couple this with the groovy bass work from Kamlath’s Peter Shallmin and progressive drumming at the hands of Tim Alexander of Primus and A Perfect Circle fame, the way supergroup Escapethecult has been positioned already tells us there’s something big on the table. However, their effort All You Want To is not quite what you would expect.
An abundance of opening tracks begin with those earth-shattering riffs that permeate the eardrums and blast open some insanely heavy patterns on all instruments, providing some kind of foreshadowing that the rest of the album is going to be a similar experience. Whilst those album openings are good, Escapethecult’s methodology on All You Want To is simple: set the tone and tempo immediately and never drift. There are no grandiloquent, monstrous riffs, nor are there an excess of blastbeats. There is a simple progressive melodic framework that all seven songs stick to, and it makes for a ballsy prog journey.
Throwing in some excellently constructed solos in between the technical-yet-slow portions of the album, some impressive sounding polyrhythms on the kit, and some lavish bass licks and that is the entirety of All You Want To from a musical perspective. Vocally, Romarin is gifted and has a very extraordinary set of pipes. But not to discredit his ability, this is the single biggest drawback on All You Want To. While at face value Romarin is tone perfect and hits some awesome sounding notes, his voice is more suited to those thunderous tech-prog riffs that elongate behind him, that Uneven Structure are so great at creating. The instruments are not executed with that same power which Romarin brings to the microphone in waves.
All You Want To is an album that is void of those atmospheric and reverb samples; such cannot be similarly said for conventional progressive-technical albums. The music is written very well and congratulations are in order for Alexander and Shallmin whose tandem offense on the music rhythm completely prevents it from descending into chaos. Their efforts are very well deserved, whilst Wead’s solo work is exactly what you would expect. However, the rhythmic portions are dominated by Shallmin and Alexander, whilst Wead does not execute those ‘memorable’ riffs.
The intricacy of what many may describe as ‘simple’ songs is still something very hard to do, and Escapethecult do it well.
However, while the album doesn’t need to rely on post-production in order to beef up the sound Escapethecult are going for, its total ignorance of trying to be a “metal” album is what is perhaps most admirable. At first listen, All You Want To is hard to get into, because metal fans may expect something overwhelmingly heavy and technically proficient in all areas, essentially saying “Look at how fast I am on the kick, man!” or “We can play above 210 bpm!”
But the band don’t need to do this in order to showcase their abilities. As an album that revolves around the dynamic of sticking to a slow prog tempo, whilst forming flavour around that in various places seems to be the right way to go for Escapethecult. This is impressively written material that isn’t your usual prog approach. If you’re after fast stuff, go elsewhere.
3. I’m Absolute
4. Feel The Flight
5. Tired Of The Past
6. This Time Will Come
7. Where No Grown Up Grapes
Matthieu Romarin (Uneven Structure) – Vocals
Mike Wead (King Diamond/Mercyful Fate) – Guitar
Peter G. Shallmin (Kamlath) – Bass
Tim Alexander (Primus/A Perfect Circle) – Drums