Review Summary: Irepress have created a masterpiece of a record. Full of beauty and chaos, Sol Eye Sea I is a definite contender for metal album of the year.
This past year for me has been one of musical discovery. I never really considered myself a lover of music until I stumbled upon a few bands that would forever change my view on the art. Cliche as they may be, Tool and The Mars Volta introduced me to a world outside that of the radio and verse-chorus song structure. Since then, I have discovered many other acts that have equally impressed and influenced me. This is where Irepress, and especially this album come in. I feel as if this is a accumulation of all that I've been moving towards. Within this disc are an endless number of influences, ranging from opposite ends of the spectrum. In short, Sol Eye Sea I is a musical journey of sorts.
Irepress are a five piece post-metal/progressive band from Massachusetts. To pin down an exact sound would be impossible. There is a definite sludge metal influence, in the same vein of Isis and Pelican, but a sudden outburst of jazz or techno throws the comparisons out the window.
The most impressive aspect of this album is its ability to pull several different genres into one, solid product. Yes this has been done before, but Irepress manage to do it without sounding too wanky or contrived. This isn't another band to have the progressive tag tacked on for lack of a better genre, but Irepress wear the name with pride. The sound constantly changes, and rapidly too. The tempo rarely stays the same, and the style could vary throughout just a single song. "Barrageo" begins with a synth beat, developing some dubbed vocals, only to end in a sludgy guitar. It's instances like this that make the album such a joy to listen to. Never knowing whats around the next corner keeps the entire listen unimaginably interesting.
"Diaspora," the opener, is without a doubt the highlight of the album. It encompasses everything amazing about this record. The constant mathcore-esque tempo changes, the sludgy guitar riffs, and the jazz that runs rampant. Throw some strings in there and you have yourself a masterpiece. Running at ten minutes, its the records second longest. However, unlike most post-rock pieces, "Diaspora" starts strong and stays intense, even at its most subdued.
Although I spewed out nothing but praise, Sol Eye Sea I has its minor faults. As a whole, the album seems slightly inconsistent. The constant changes in style may make it difficult for some to stick out its lengthy run time. This is an album that should at least be sampled, yet it may not be for everyone.
To put this album into words is incredibly difficult. There is simply too much to say about its epic scope and the tumultuous and varied sounds it creates. However, for those who stick with Sol Eye Sea I never forget it.