Czar
Czar


3.0
good

Review

by Trey Spencer STAFF
July 30th, 2009 | 80 replies


Release Date: 2009 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Post-metal and industrial combined with some twitchy rhythms.

It seems to be getting harder and harder for a band to deliver anything truly original. The old adage about it all having been done before is increasingly becoming more true. In order to stand out, there really only seems to be two options available – either they attempt to set themselves apart by being the best at a particular sound or they combine various genres in an attempt to find some sort of unoccupied niche. After multiple listens to Czar’s debut EP, it appears that they have gone the second route by combining post-metal and industrial, filtered through twitchy prog-like arrangements.

Anyone familiar with Acumen Nation will immediately recognize two of that band’s members, as well as their signature style and sound. This album’s groundwork is built on the fuzzy, industrialized riffs that Acumen Nation are known for except they’ve been slightly modified to fit the post-metal style. In their current setting, the riffs have a slight melodic edge and don’t ever get as chaotic despite the jittery nature of the music. The other component carried over from Acumen Nation is the distorted vocals of Jason Novak. Unfortunately, his overly-processed voice doesn’t work nearly as well within the confines of post-metal as it does in industrial. It’s a shame because with all of the different vocal effects available, his voice could have been one of the most defining characteristics of the band, but as it stands they’re better left ignored. The saving grace, in this regard, is that the EP is almost entirely instrumental which allows for the infrequent vocal contributions to be easily disregarded.

The elements that can’t be dismissed are the excellent percussion, eerie melodies, and dark synth drones that make up the bulk of the EP. It is the busy and creative percussion of Dan Brill that provides a majority of the jittery feel that is present in every song. His inventive beats, double bass rolls and drum patterns provide an excellent framework for the industrialized riffs to work from and end up being the band’s most defining characteristic. Over this foundation are a multitude of various guitar melodies that range from mellow and soothing to distorted and dissonant. It is these melodies that carry the songs and provide them with most of their memorable moments. The songs are completed by (mostly) subtle waves of synths and sound effects that simply provide faint flourishes to the atmosphere being created. The only problem is that even with all of these elements, the band still requires a bit of work when it comes to combining them in the best way possible. Occasionally a riff will go for too long or a melody will start to bog down a song, but those issues are generally short-lived.

For the time being, it appears that Czar have found their own little niche but they also still have some work to do. The rhythms and percussion are top notch and the various guitar melodies aren’t too far behind, but the EP does display a few areas that need work. The main area requiring attention is Jason Novak’s vocals. Jason’s use of excessive distortion on his voice ruins what could have been another key element of the band’s music. In the future it would definitely be nice to hear some different, less generic, vocal effects. The other issue is simply in the crafting of the songs themselves. As a six-song EP the album never has a chance to bog down in the occasional overuse of a riff or weaker melody, but those shortcomings are still evident. For now, though, this EP serves as a good introduction to the band through the use of inventive percussion, solid melodies and decent songwriting.

Correction: I received an e-mail from the band and I want correct that what I thought was distortion in the vocals was, in fact, EQ, compression and some backwards reverb. His vocals aren't actually distorted at all.



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user ratings (3)
Chart.
3.5
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
Willie
Moderator
July 30th 2009


16131 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

[a]http://www.myspace.com/czarchicago

This had to be a quick write up because I won't have time to do it later.

Digging: Kenn Nardi - Dancing With the Past

LisbonGirls
July 30th 2009


832 Comments


Link doesn't work

Willie
Moderator
July 30th 2009


16131 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

It should now, even though it looks jacked up now.

LisbonGirls
July 30th 2009


832 Comments


Ughhh....this ain't my cup of tea.

Willie
Moderator
July 30th 2009


16131 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

ha ha, do you like post metal stuff?

LisbonGirls
July 30th 2009


832 Comments


I like Burst and Isis. Nothing else has caught my interest.

Willie
Moderator
July 30th 2009


16131 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I like the melodies on this, but mostly the drums. I like the last two Isis albums and the occasional Neurosis album, but I don't think I'm generally a post metal fan.

LisbonGirls
July 30th 2009


832 Comments


lol, me neither as I've said before I'm more of a alternative/metalcore kind of guy.

TricksterGRex
July 30th 2009


2087 Comments


vox are kinda lol

Willie
Moderator
July 31st 2009


16131 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Yeah the music is pretty good, but the vocals definitely need work.

MassiveAttack
July 31st 2009


2688 Comments


Nobody likes that adage =(

BallsToTheWall
July 31st 2009


44804 Comments


Post metal generally has mediocre vocals but i'll think about this. Summary is interesting.

Digging: Pink Turns Blue - If Two Worlds Kiss

rasputin
July 31st 2009


14555 Comments


nice review trey

OllieS
July 31st 2009


2036 Comments


Great review man, love the reviews of really unknown stuff you discover.

Willie
Moderator
July 31st 2009


16131 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Nobody likes that adage =(
I almost didn't use it because there's no way that someone else hasn't used that saying on a review somewhere else already. But then I figured that there's no way that only one other person has used it so at least I'd be in a large group of people with an unoriginal introduction.
Great review man, love the reviews of really unknown stuff you discover.
Cool. I try to mix it up between better known albums and then things like this that basically can't be found anywhere on the net. The thing that sucks in this case is that the songs on their Myspace aren't the best songs on the EP.

shindip
July 31st 2009


3536 Comments


This sounds interesting. think i will check it out.

Willie
Moderator
July 31st 2009


16131 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Cool. If you do let me know what you think. Again, the thing that sucks is that the EP's best songs aren't posted on their Myspace page.

Metalstyles
Staff Reviewer
July 31st 2009


8387 Comments


not gonna lie, mixing post-metal and industrial doesn't seem like a good indea to me. Add the distorted vocals that I don't really usually dig and you pretty much know if I am going to look into this or not. Good review though.

Willie
Moderator
July 31st 2009


16131 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Mixing post metal and industrial could be an awesome thing if they bring in the various vocal processing techniques and add some back beats, and possibly some more underlying synth sounds. I really hope this album is just a starting point. But, you won't like the vocals.

Wizard
July 31st 2009


19612 Comments


Anyone familiar with Acumen Nation

I can't wait to get their latest album in the mail : ).

Great review. I've read some good stuff about these guys but now I'm at a cross-roads hahaha. I'll probably end up liking this quite a bit seeing as I jizz over anything that refers to post-metal.

Digging: Hans Zimmer - Interstellar



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