Mandroid Echostar
Mandroid Echostar


4.5
superb

Review

by Rafael Moreira USER (11 Reviews)
August 12th, 2013 | 20 replies


Release Date: 2012 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Children of the sea, the sky, the Earth.

Few may have heard of Mandroid Echostar, a six-piece Progressive Metal band whose name (an interesting one too) might just be about to become well known in the scene, at a national or even international level. Fact is that they've spent well over a year working on a debut EP that aims to see its listeners amazed ; one that might just precede a very successful career.

As soon as the EP starts playing it becomes apparent that this is no ordinary modern Metal band. On Mandroid Echostar, every member feels like an indispensable element on the lineup. Matt H-K’s drumming serves as a great backbone to the rest of the band, while displaying a very insightful input, but never going over the top or smothering the rest of the band. “Hexaton” is the song in which Matt shines the brightest, delivering a wide range of playing techniques and excelling in them all ; bassist Adam Richards makes for an ever present, groovy bass that guides and delights the listener throughout the whole EP. Check “The Percursor” or that beginning of “Hexaton” for a great bass input – all the right notes, wonderful execution and an incredible feeling – Richards knows what he’s doing.

Staggering, immense, beautiful. These are just a few of the many adjectives I can find while examining Mandroid Echostar’s guitar work. James Krul, Sam Pattinson and Stephen Richards are the men taking this release to higher heights. While James seems to take care of most of the monochord and palm muted riffs (in a classy way too), he also puts out a helping hand on Sam and Stephen’s rich lead work. Said lead work is constantly enhanced by precise harmonization, or by a simple and equally precise layering work that adds to the bright, beautiful nature of the riffs. Take the solo just a bit over the second minute of “The Percursor” as living proof of these guys’ talent. Or the whole first minute of “Kingdom And The Crown”, in which the complex nature of the Protest The Hero-esque riffs seem like no obstacle for the godlike trio. Or that same song’s chorus. Or any section of any song on the EP (basically), as there are no “down” moments for the guitars on this release. Having all this said, each guitar knows its place in each and every section. As a result of thoughtful songwriting, by no point the songs feel bloated or overwhelming – the inclusion of slower passages by the end of the first halves of the first three songs are game changing, and not only feel like adding to the widely sensible and excellent songwriting, they also give the listener some space to regroup and marvel on the band’s creativity. So not only does the band (and mainly the guitarists) know how to deliver highly technical, intricate Metal (“Hexaton”…? Check), they also do know how to “step it down” a few notches and create beautiful, sometimes haunting Prog-Metal moments (… and check).

If Mandroid Echostar was a cake, Michael “The Cheech” Ciccia would certainly be the cherry on its top. If you’ve heard Coheed And Cambria at some point of your life, you’ll know that The Cheech’s voice sounds at least familiar. Now, while Michael seems directly influenced by Claudio Sanchez from Coheed And Cambria, he stands as a very original singer on his own. Matter of fact, The Cheech holds a very heartfelt delivery, and sounds better than many even dare to dream of sounding like. Besides his high vocal range, The Cheech knows how to let the instruments breathe and never comes off pretentious in his singing. Adding to the already great vocal input comes guest vocalist Adam Lambert (Farewell To Freeway) , who delivers two lines on “Lost Luminaries” and takes control over “Hexaton” by its last minute, partnering up with the rest of the band to deliver the heaviest moment of the release. One can’t help but wish to have more of these inputs throughout the EP, as it really adds to the dynamic nature of the album, one subject that The Cheech by himself still has a great weight on. Best moment of the album vocals-wise? “Lost Luminaries”, the whole of it. The group chanting part is a remarkable one, and so is the part in which Adam Lambert comes forth, and the last minute of said song, where The Cheech and guitarrist James Krul team up to deliver a memorable ending to the song. But it doesn’t stop there. Besides handling guitar and vocal work, James Krul also plays the keyboards for the band. The quality of this input is on par with everything the band has accomplished on their debut. Examples of essential keyboards usage come scattered around the EP. The chorus of “Kingdom And The Crown” wouldn’t be the same without it, the last minute of “Lost Luminaries” has an extremely intense atmosphere going on also provided by great synth – keyboards were certainly a great idea.

Playing over 19 minutes, Mandroid Echostar is packed with technical work, seamless song structures and an atmosphere that grabs our attention from the first second. Adding to all of this, the lyrics for it are incredibly well written. As soon as I started following the already perceptible voice of The Cheech with a textual support, I got hooked and only stopped when the music stopped. The lyrics seem focused on mysticism and on our standing as human beings within the kingdom of Mother Nature. It makes for a compelling conceptual-like narrative and hum, did I mention that they're also incredibly well written yet?

I’ve spoken volumes about what makes Mandroid Echostar such a brilliant release, but what unequivocally makes the band’s efforts come together in the best way possible is the production. Jordan Valeriote (Dead and Divine, Silverstein, Structures) engineered, mixed and co-produced the EP, while renowned mastering engineer Roger Lian (Rush, Muse, Deftones, The Mars Volta) mastered it. The outcome is the best produced release I’ve came across in a while. Every single instrument sounds perfectly mixed and integrated in each and every song, and so do the vocals. Masterful work.

The Mandroid Echostar EP is one to write home about. Every instrument adds to the experience in a continuous sequence and every song becomes familiar fast, in a good way too. There’s plenty to look at here – to grasp the essence of the album in one play might present a challenge. The beauty of it is that for such a full-fledged release, it will hardly leave you with something less than a strong first impression. If anything from Art By Numbers to Periphery tingles your senses, chances are that the imminent strong impression is bound to settle and grow into a bigger level of appreciation.

A new band arises to take the world by storm, and the inquisitiveness settles where their debut ends: How will they capitalize upon this formula in the future? Will they be able to deliver with this quality without forcing new elements into their sound, or will they run out of ideas? Either way, it will surely be very interesting to see what Mandroid Echostar do next.



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user ratings (38)
Chart.
3.9
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
TheMoreira
August 12th 2013


7182 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

It's clear how much these guys love to make music, and talented as they are, they sure deserve some support.

But you guys just go ahead and check this proggy goodness:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U2wY6IhsjCs


...and this(new single from their upcoming EP):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eZ1kXTqEZPw


Acanthus
August 12th 2013


9543 Comments


The guitar and toning reminds me so much of Kezia era PTH at parts on the first track you linked.

The vox on the second link were pretty good, they seem to have a good mix of a couple of different groups.

Digging: The Knife - Deep Cuts

TheMoreira
August 12th 2013


7182 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Thank you, kind stranger.

True Acanthus!

mursu
August 12th 2013


254 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

The review was good, pos'd. This EP is pretty good as well. I'll probably have to relisten to this.

Digging: Between the Buried and Me - The Parallax II: Future Sequence

TheMoreira
August 12th 2013


7182 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Thank you, and yes, go ahead!

ianjulian
August 12th 2013


633 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

o see what Mandroid Echostar do next.

Digging: Unearth - Watchers of Rule

TheNotrap
August 13th 2013


8109 Comments


Good job. Might check this out.

TheMoreira
August 13th 2013


7182 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Thank you!

Epicenter
August 17th 2013


174 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Nice to see these guys get a review here. They need all the help they can get.

TheMoreira
August 17th 2013


7182 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Agreed, haha : )

Calc
November 20th 2013


12255 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SZsUbH8G6Go&desktop_uri=%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DSZsUbH8G6Go&app=desktop

TheMoreira
November 20th 2013


7182 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Indeed, i will listen to it soon. Must be awesome!

Calc
November 20th 2013


12255 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

don't say i never did nuttin fa you

TheMoreira
November 20th 2013


7182 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Haha, thank you Mr.Calc

ProfessorVeerappan
December 2nd 2013


792 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

fucking hell intense review this was for a 19 min EP but indeed a well explained dense pattern has been discovered the very influences of the band as one and the other artists that were mentioned are also intense.
GG good review Rafael.

TheMoreira
December 2nd 2013


7182 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Thank you very much : )

dknight94
December 5th 2013


25 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Saw this band the other night, they put on a good show

Omaha
Staff Reviewer
February 13th 2014


10302 Comments


First off, this record sounds pretty damned awesome. May have to check it out, man.

Your first paragraph is really good! You write concisely, and it works well for you.

Your writing about the instrumentation is actually fun for me to read, which I can't say very often. You have a firm grasp on what makes different musicians good at what they do, which I think is why I get a lot out of your writing on the subject. only thing I'd suggest is cutting down your sentence length, like maybe using periods where you use semi-colons sometimes. But other than that, your second paragraph is solid, man. If anything, you can take out phrases like "but never going over the top or smothering the rest of the band," since you've already established that band member sticks to what is essential to the song.

Once again, you tend to say things like "As a result of thoughtful songwriting, by no point the songs feel bloated or overwhelming," which are unnecessary. If you take out thoughts like these, you'll find yourself with a review that's easier to read and follow- to avoid redundancy, etc.

Matter of fact, The Cheech holds a very heartfelt delivery, and sounds better than many even dare to dream of sounding like. Besides his high vocal range, The Cheech knows how to let the instruments breathe and never comes off pretentious in his singing.

He sounds better than many dream of sounding? That's a vague and unhelpful description if I've ever seen one. Also, he never comes across as pretentious? Check out my comment on Hong's review if you want my 'pretentious' spiel- in short, word's overused and doesn't make sense here.

It makes for a compelling conceptual-like narrative and hum, did I mention that they're also incredibly well written yet?

I'd end this sentence after 'narrative,' as none of the rest is significant / telling enough to keep.

for such a full-fledged release, it will hardly leave you with something less than a strong first impression.

This is a kinda confusing sentence- I'd take out the double negative and say it's likely to leave you with a strong first impression at the least.


Omaha
Staff Reviewer
February 13th 2014


10302 Comments


The final paragraph is one that I've seen many times before in reviews, but that isn't necessarily a bad thing. It's just worth considering, I think, that maybe next time you could try to think of a more original way to wrap up your thoughts.

As a whole, man, I enjoyed this write-up for sure. It's a good way to write about progressive metal- descriptive, and then explaining those descriptions and why they work. Maybe one thing you can think about for the future is explaining the sound more overall- not exactly in the instrumentation, but rather in the nature of the release. Is it chaotic and dissonant, or maybe focused and a bit predictable? Think about maybe focusing on those elements as well as the instrumentation, and pulling your thoughts together in fewer words. I don't mind reading this much about a record, but I can't say the same for the rest of the audience.

TheMoreira
February 13th 2014


7182 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

That was extremely helpful. Yeah i tend to wander and write more than i needed to say something simple, in a try to make it more expressive and actually make a stronger point i guess. But it's uncalled for most of the time i know haha.

Thank you man, this is a cool thing you're doing for the sputnik folk. m/



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