Review Summary: Welcome to the jungle we have death growls and over the top synths.
Progressive seems to a label slapped on almost any song that has direction or polyrhythms these days. Just about everybody wants to get their dick a little wet in the eternal pocket of progressive power, for clearly to be a progressive band means that you are pushing the very boundaries of music in of itself! While most bands let fundamentals of progressive music filter through their style, or arrangement some don’t forget the good old days of Rush and co. and play an old school style of prog jams. Kalter is a band representing the latter of the two forces. This band might remember the good old days of prog, but they did forget something very important: Gensis is not a death metal band.
Kalter attempt to deliver progressive rock via an extreme metal filter with the hope of creating a synth-frenzied spacious scene. The result is nothing short of laughable I assure you, the thundering drum work does not bode well alongside happy go lucky synths. Synth plays an important role on 'Ubuntu' being quite substantial throughout this album and often enough even the main focus in song structure. Flying around the scene- synths provide a sense of immersion on their own if not for the rest of the band standing in between. Ultimate cheese can be found here folks, ranging from happy, arcadesque, to ambience there is something to tickle any synth fancy.
While the synths are free to bounce around, the rest of the instrumentation remains generally compressed. The only time the guitar work gets to shine is when the synthesizers take on an ambient approach, receding to the background. Rather than cooperating, the synths and remaining band members tend to take turns. It may not be a problem if they interplayed and transitioned into one another but they often find themselves in quite different places. The aural atmosphere of the synths is often setup in a way where transitioning into a metal style and sound remotely fitting borderlines as an impossible challenge. The good news however is, when the guitar does get a rare time to shine it makes the most of it. The guitar work on this album is excellent especially the solos which can be breathtakingly beautiful. The riffs may be sweet, and the solos emotionally chilling, but are more often than not they are unrelated to the songs entirely.
In terms of actual direction “Ubuntu” really struggles to find its place. Judging from the commonplace nature sound samples and tribesman mask which brandishes the cover it can be assumed that this album is supposed to be about nature or something. Neither the synths nor guitar work stick strictly to this motive, as the album goes on it only tends to stray further into randomness. Kalter possess a lot of potential, but in this instance are simply stuck using a really awful concept for their album. If Kalter were to exclusively choose one genre to stick to they could truly be something great. There are times when the atmosphere can really immerse you but it always ends up breaking and songs tend to lose direction. If Kalter wants to deliver the sounds of nature in all of its glory, dramatic synths and death growls may just not be the way to go.