Canvas Solaris - The Atomized Dream
Canvas Solaris are a progressive rock outfit hailing from Georgia (USA), with about 9 years experience under their belt coming into this their 3rd full-length release. Their roots are surprisingly enough in death metal, according to their bio. I can imagine, from what I'm hearing on The Atomized Dream, that they were once a highly technical sort of metal outfit, resembling the likes of Necrophagist or, more likely, Cynic. On this album they sound like a free-form jazz band trapped in the confines of a rock group, regulated by structure that somewhat stiffens the creative atmosphere they're trying to create. But the musicianship...off the charts.
As an instrumental group, it's required that your music be everything it can be. The band consists of guitarists Chris Rushing and Nathan Sapp (both nimble-fingered and technically sound), bassist Gael Pirlot (very up-front and most songs depend on his grooves to succeed), percussionist Hunter Ginn (perhaps the weak link but holds his own, rarely lending the solo flair music of this nature demands), and keyboard/synth player Donnie Smith (adds some sense of atmosphere and context to certain sections). All let their chops shine on Atomized Dream's 8 tracks. The music has an atmosphere of and otherworldly nature, almost but not quite psychadelic. "Chromatic Dusk" was a quick highlight at number 3, with it's brief interludes featuring 8-bit-ish synths that never fail to perk my interest. "Heat Distortion Manifest" has to be the best track here, melding the two things the band does best; sudden spurts of prog-metal laced with atmospheric interludes. The results are ferocious here, while on most of the rest of the disc they're par for the course.
There's limitless potential in a band this talented, if you ask me. The only things holding them back seem to be a true lack of direction to their varied creative influences and personal attributes. Their identity is much their own already, but perhaps one more album's worth of similar material will cement it. It could just be the lack of vocals that finds my enjoyment waning slightly; music of this nature, in my opinion, always sounds better vocalized. They sound to my ears like a Jon Anderson-less Yes, covering Cynic's unreleased material (if any) while secretly worshipping the likes of Dream Theater. A band with vast creativity, a hardened edge, and an ear towards hooks delivered with a veil of technical flash that should impress any fan of progressive rock out there. Misses a half-point because something is just...missing.
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