Review Summary: Meat-Pied in the Kangatorium
You know those bands that automatically get described as "a mixture of The Mars Volta, Minus The Bear, and The Fall Of Troy!"? Well here's another one, and they kick as
s. Closure In Moscow's First Temple is their debut album, and it's one of the strongest in recent memory. It's like an Australian Deloused In The Comatorium with Thomas Erak riffs.
And before everyone starts screaming about how derivative this is, I'll just save you the trouble. Yes, Closure In Moscow sound pretty derivative here, mostly because of the vocals. Christopher de Cinque sometimes sounds exactly like Cedric Bixler-Zavala and he sometimes sounds exactly like Thomas Erak, but he never really sounds original. Fortunately, those are great vocalists to take after, and of all the bands that have been labeled as Mars Volta ripoffs, Closure In Moscow are, if not the strongest one, the one with the most potential. Even so, comparisons abound, and the most common one seems to be "Closure In Moscow are the pop version of The Mars Volta," and that's pretty true. Before The Mars Volta started releasing albums with a bunch of crappy noise, there was the incredibly catchy Deloused In The Comatorium, an album full of strong songs devoid of bullshi
t. First Temple is similar, only it's even catchier and somewhat crazier instrumentally.
The best thing about First Temple is that it combines all the best things about music's current trends. It's got the immense catchiness of the poppy post-hardcore bands ("Sweet#hart"), the technicality of the "math"core bands ("Vanguard"), and a bit of that outside influence (an "Eastern-sounding" riff here and there) that bands love incorporating into songs ("Deluge"). And one of the most promising things is that First Temple has no filler except for centerpiece "Permafrost," an ambient track with spaced-out vocals that goes on for around a minute and a half longer than it should. I'd be willing to bet money that on their next album, Closure In Moscow will learn how to incorporate snatches of something like "Permafrost" into their songs instead of having moments like that placed as an awkward interlude. Other than that, every song is ridiculously strong. Opener "Kissing Cousins" gets things started with a bang, immediately displaying Closure In Moscow's ear for melody and de Cinque's delicious vocals. The guitarists are very proficient; they know how to show off without being overly flashy - the riffs and leads always serve to make the songs stronger, and every one seems perfectly fitting. It's nice to see such strong songwriting from a young band. The best song is "Deluge," with the album's catchiest chorus (seriously, it rules), and the best display of the guitarists' lack of masturbatory riffing. The chorus leads fit so perfectly that you probably won't even notice how skillful they are at first. First Temple is full of moments like that, and while the album is immediately gripping, it warrants further listens to take in all of the subtleties.
While Closure In Moscow may not give people any hope for the direction of "scene music" as a whole, First Temple is definitely worth a listen, and because of how many influences they have, there's something for everyone. While First Temple is
derivative, the songs are strong enough and they sound original enough to silence the naysayers. At the very least, you can hope for an even better sophomore album, because Closure In Moscow are full of potential. Crikey!