Review Summary: Cinemechanica create an album that is everything math rock and nothing more.
Cinemechanica are a band which my friend referred to me while I was trying to discover more music of the math rock genre. While they are obviously not the best band in the genre, since they do not do much to set themselves apart from the crowd, they may be the one of the best examples of math rock music in terms of style. Most, if not all, of the songs on the album feature the odd time signature changes and less-than melodic guitar melodies that epitomize the genre.
While Cinemechanica may be more or less cliché inside of their genre, they execute the style extremely well and all of the musicians have a sufficient amount of talent. Bryant Williamson and Andy Pruett, the two guitarists, play their instruments with precision and harmonize flawlessly in every part of the album. Each guitar plays an equally important role in the music, and while one guitar is playing a consistent melody the other is either coming in for short, powerful bursts at just the right moments or playing a similar, harmonized melody underneath. Keep in mind that this must be very hard to do while yelling at the top of your lungs, since both of the guitarists are also vocalists. The vocals on the album are not sung or screamed as frequently as they are just said loudly.
The rhythm section of this band also does a very good job hopping from time signature to time signature while still managing to sound energetic. Mike Albanese is probably my favorite part of the band. The amount of energy he has on the drums is astounding. Another great thing about the rhythm section is that the bass really shines and does its own thing while not getting drowned out by the guitars like the bass does in many rock bands. A trick that this band uses is that they use the bass as sort of a tool to create energy in their songs. They like to sneak the bass out of the picture for a few seconds and then have it come back in with a bang. The best example of this is towards the end of “Brain Trap”, which is probably the most energetic song on the album. After the second chorus on this song the bass slips away unnoticed (or at least i didn't notice at first), and then comes back in for the rush of energy that concludes the song. One of the main things about this album is that you can tell the musicians did not half ass anything here. You can tell they were really feeling every moment in the music, which is why there are so many of those perfect moments.
One of the major highlights of The Martial Arts is the duo of Take Me To The Hospital and Get Outta Here Hitler. I call it a duo because Take Me to the Hospital all seems to build up into Get Outta Here Hitler, and on Get Outta Here Hitler the music still seems to be building and building. they are both the only instrumental tracks on the album, and they both have a dreary mood. Both of these songs feature a lot of build ups and climaxes and I would even go as to call them post rock influenced. The only spots in the album where you will find truly melodic moments will be in these two songs and that is what sets them apart from the rest of the album. They both build up right into Ruins of Karnac, a song which I think the band intended to be the climax of the album. It is the fastest song, but probably my least favorite.
I would call this album probably my favorite straight up math rock album in the genre. It is excellent yet not quite a classic because for an album to be a classic i feel that it has to be undefinable.
Final Rating: 4/5.