Review Summary: A technical band with restraint. Check this out. Now.4 of 4 thought this review was well written
Technicality has become somewhat of an odd blemish on today’s musical scene. When once people could be praised merely for being good at their instrument, it now appears that the people who show off the most technical ability consistently suffer from an excess of bravado. Very few bands today have the ability to show some restraint when it comes to their instruments; listening to an artist shred for 10 songs in a row (Anyone care for a cheap shot at Dragonforce?), it becomes repetitious and exhausting to endure. Often, a bands ability to play complicated lines and riffs becomes the only redeeming quality of their music; alas, when it comes down to it, shred will never make up for the absence of basic songwriting skills. When a song is built completely off of technical prowess and nothing else, all you achieve as an end result is a sad, pitiful mess of unused talents and abilities. As time goes by, it seems to me that more and more bands are getting by recording overly flamboyant instrumental work and then putting out an album. Frankly, I am tired of it; so, it brings me great joy to say that Lye by Mistake
is a band that has the ability to show restraint, and when they do, the results are some of the best things you will ever hear.
Lye by Mistake
(taken from band’s MySpace)
Titanium Tony Saputo: Retirement center (vocals)
Josh Bauman: guitar jerkface
Max Tempo: Playboy and Percussion
Jonnie Pokket: full time bass, overtime hustler
Their album, Arrangements For Fulminating Vective
, is a collection of 8 insane, spastic bursts that delve into everything extreme about music, and then some things that are not. The first thing you will notice about the album is that these guys like to seem as if they have no direction; the songs twist and turn, using frequent quiet-loud transitions, and overall, are completely psychotic. If you were forced to compare it to something, imagine the tempo of The Locust
’s Plague Soundscapes
meets the technicality and precision of Meshuggah
, and then throw in some craziness from Dog Fashion Disco
. On paper, that sounds like a fantastically awful mess, but Lye by Mistake
have cheated death and turned it into something wonderful. Each and every song is solid in its own way, and many have their own distinctive “sound section”. By that, I mean that a lot of the songs have a very specific section where the band did their own take on a certain style of music; for instance, one song has them experimenting with an extremely oriental sound; another showcases a prominent jazz influence from the bassist. The album winds its ways through more genres than you can count (count on your fingers*. Unless you have thirty fingers or something… I bet you are a ridiculously fast typist), and the band pulls each and every one of them off fantastically.
The vocals on Arrangements
fall to lead man Tony Saputo. With your average hardcore style howl, Saputo screams his heart out in your cookie-cutter unintelligible manner. This is not exactly a fault, however; what he does, he does extremely well. I cannot imagine another vocal style fitting with this music, or at the very least, working with this style very well at all. He shouts, he yelps, he screams, but the sound is always the same. His voice is not overpowering, and you get the feeling that his job is as a band-mate, and not as a front-man. On a few of the songs, Saputo experiments with electronic modification, and surprisingly enough, every attempt comes off as a refresher from his repetitive normal vocals. Often when listening, you find yourself wishing he would try some clean singing, to throw off the monotony of his voice, but other than that, Saputo foes a fantastic job conveying the anger behind the music. Unfortunately, as far as the music is concerned, he is the least prominent member of the band, completely outshined by his instrumentalist band-mates.
Front stage and center is guitarist Bauman, who can be heard shredding his hands off all the way through the album. Do not let me mislead you though; almost everything he does is extremely refined, well placed, and most importantly of all, doesn’t get out of hand. Clearly the man holding the music together, Bauman executes all of his parts with flourish and skill, yet he never oversteps his bounds. What’s so exciting about listening to his guitar work is that the Bauman is able to seamlessly transition from two radically different genres without missing a step. It’s quite apparent from the start that he is extremely competent with his instrument; just listen to the first 45 seconds and you know the man has an intimidating grasp over this guitar. Time changes are scattered all over the record; the songs frantically transition from frantic shred-fests to melodious, acoustic interventions. He frequently leads the band into strange, enticing atmospheric breaks from the otherwise unrelenting assault of the music. Many of these breaks are extremely welcome, helping to show off that Bauman can not only play his instrument well, but that he can use that talent to write extremely interesting songs. On Ostrich Feathers and Apple Pie
, there is what I can only describe as oriental music meets extreme metal; it is quite honestly one of the most interesting and refreshing things I have heard in ages; Bauman leads his band into the transition with some fantastic playing. What lets Bauman shine above most other guitarists today is his ability to use his talents just as much as he needs to; no more.
Many fans of metal complain about today’s tendency to drown out the bassist in sounds. Not so with Lye by Mistake
, whose bassist can be clearly heard in every single song. Not only can he be clearly good, but he doesn’t always just follow the guitarist. Often, Pokket is laying down his own bass lines, or even playing a sweet intro to some of the songs. His talents lend a very jazzy sound to Arrangements
’ sound, and without him, they would not be as tight or cohesive of a group. Unfortunately, much akin to the singer, he is second stage to the guitarist. Even though his lines can be clearly heard, they are not as interesting, nor as fun to listen to, as Bauman’s work. Although he does stray from Bauman’s lead, it’s often as a less complicated version of Bauman’s riff. Despite this, Pokket adds an immeasurable influence to the band’s sound.
Lastly, but certainly not least, is drummer Tempo. All throughout the record he can be clearly heard laying down ranges of drum fills, from simple background rhythm sections for an acoustic section, to spastic, double-bass fueled tempos. The drums are mixed perfectly; they are not overpowering, but not too quiet as to force the listener to try to hear them. Tempo does a phenomenal job of pushing the music forward, but keeping his bandmates in check throughout their spastic, frequently speed changing songs. However, I sometimes wish he had been given a little more room to stretch. He gets his own spot to shine with a drum solo at the beginning of one song, but other than that, he is really in the background. Even though he plays fantastically, he comes off as having been the most unappreciated member.
Unfortunately, the album is not without its flaws. Many of the songs, while well constructed, are at times too chaotic; one may get confused at particularly what aspect of the music they should be paying attention to. The closing song, Hero's Intention
, is as long as four of the other songs put together, and quite honestly, drags at the end. In addition, the vocalist can become slightly obnoxious at times, detracting from the hard work the instrumentalists are doing.
is a one of a kind experience. While comparisons will be made, do not be fooled; Lye by Mistake
have created something amazing here. Consistently interesting and never overbearing, this is an album that every fan of extreme music should check out.