As I stated in my review for SET AND SETTING’S latest offering, there has been a great resurgence of instrumental groups in heavy music over the past few years. In keeping with that notion, I present to you THE HELIX NEBULA, who recently issued their first EP, the very impressive Meridian. If you’re the stickler for details that I am, you’ll notice I didn’t mention a record label after dropping the names of the album and group; which brings me to another trend that has increased in recent years, bands making huge waves without the support of a record label. Yes, THN are another in a slew of groups to shun a record contract, much like INTERVALS and POMEGRANATE TIGER.
Now I’m not sure if their indie status is a result of the weakening state of the music industry or because internet presence has allowed bands to forgo the need of company sponsored advertisements; either way, it’s a great thing. This means that these bands will remain pure and true to their own desired sound, instead of writing trendy, easily accessible mung because the label forced them to. Furthermore, if the group can reach it desired goals without having to share its profits with a group of sloppy corporate slugs, then why would they?
That spiel out of the way, I will step off the proverbial soapbox.
Meridian is an arduous first effort for the Australian quartet. Each track blends an electric mixture of heavy, shred and melody. “Sea of Suns” pulls the listener in from the very first second, opening with a delay initiated chord drone, the track bursts into a firestorm of syncopation and leads. Further, this song holds one of the most astounding bass solos I have ever laid ears upon. Track two, “Temple” places an acute focus on harmony, adding an epic feel, especially in the outro section. “Convalescence” is a raucously winding song, full of whirlwind riffing. “Time Piece” provides the best example of interplay between the group’s guitarists, setting the stage for the duo to play swirling patterns around each other. And if you haven’t busted your nut by the time you reach “Sailing Stone”, you will. This is definitely one of the heavier slivers from the disc, so change your pants, man up and move on to “Crystal Plain”.
In racking my brain for every synonym I can muster up, I feel I may just be going over board, yet to describe Meridian as stunning may be an understatement. Truly, THE HELIX NEBULA has produced a record that is nothing short of remarkable. For such a young band to debut at this level makes me excited for what their sophomore effort will bring. For now, I’m more than inspired by the current EP. And on that note, I STRONGLY urge you to purchase this record. It needs to be added to your collection.
STANDOUT TRACKS: ALL OF THEM
WRITTEN BY FRENCH CHEESE