Wednesday, 28 December 2016

Void Thru Materialism "Converge Into Unquiet Spaces" (2005)

Opening with an almost acoustic, slightly distorted, quiet guitar being strum you might reach for the volume dial only to have the music blow up a moment later as aggressive distortion guitars burst in with groovy, thrash energy and a seasoning of polyrhythmic goodness. Void Thru Materialism have there mark on my channel, the "void" added to Xisuma given the username was taken and I was listening to this band in search of one. They are a French band from Paris, born out of a one man band project that started back in 2001. How I discovered them is still foggy in my mind but despite next to no success in terms of exposure I adored them. At a time when online distribution was in its infancy any free music was a gem to find and since then I have always gone back to this band.

Void's inception and identity comes just before the Progressive Metal sound took its current direction. With the Djent guitar tone and Meshuggah time signature influences they reside in a space where Groove Metal and Metalcore on noticeable aspects on there crunchy guitar chugging sound. Between slamming the low notes on singular strings the band has many power chord driven riffs, something Meshuggah dropped after "Destroy Erase Improve" ten years earlier, something fans of the band do comment on missing.

With a sensibility for good grooves, guitar chugging and power chord ringing, the bands brains, Cheney, accents it all with great melodic guitar leads that counter the otherwise mechanical, metallic sometimes Industrial sound that pummels away. In good fashion the songs take on conventional song structures with room for expansive moments in the longer cuts. The title track "Converge" loops its killer riff at the four minute mark for a spacial guitar lead to elude us of a conventional solo as its deep reverb and indifference to the crunching polymorphic riff beneath have it wandering its way towards the void, forever meandering without conclusion other than the rigid cut at the track end.

The music is fantastic, its production is both a flaw and strength for me, the drum kit from hell is obvious and overall it could do with a bit of polish and clarity but its far from harmful. Its charm is in the DIY aspect, there is passion within this music and the necessary means have been found to connect us to it. Another aspect of mixed results is vocalist "R" who has a unique and polarizing style with a forceful, disjointed, unconventional approach that steers clear of normality at every turn. Having known each song inside out, with Cheney doing his best for vocals, I initially disliked the change but over time its grown on me, out of familiarity. One thing I do like is the obscure growls and cryptic murmurings that fill the silence between sung, or spoken, words. His performance certainly has character.

As much as I adore this record I can't be too generous, this is just a four track EP, or five with the bonus, and much of my love for "Converge" comes from the demo album that came before it. I know the songs inside out due to my fanatical listening of their demos back in my youth and so it holds a special place and a good feeling within me. For the average listener I'm not sure what they would get from it, I do however think with a fair few listens much of what I can hear would come across, there are a lot of strong grooving, time signature oriented riffs at work.

Rating: 7/10

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