Review Summary: Just your everyday Mathy-Abstract-Prog-Metal-Science-Tech-Alien-Abasi-Djenty-Chug-Djazzy-Core album
There's a reason why you've probably never heard of Sarah Longfield, or this album.
Myriad is Sarah Longfield, or The Fine Constant's, 4th release, subsequent to her last album Par Avion. Unlike Par Avion this album doesn't seem to really go anywhere with it's songs. Myriad feels much more unvarying, and at times uninspired. Par Avion had it's stand out tracks like Sea and Revel in Realization, but on this album, really every song just seems to feel the same. The guitar tone on this album reminds me a lot of Rings Of Saturn, with an alien sound to it, very prosthetic and unnatural. Not that that's a bad thing, but her tone on Par Avion actually had that nice djenty kind of purr to the chugs, and had a warm sound to the tapping licks, while Myriad's tone just sounds rigid and cold. As far as the bass tone goes, when it's actually audible, like on the song M74, it sounds stale and just...bleh.
I get the feeling like Sarah REALLY wants to be Tosin Abasi. But as she tries to be this technical guitar god on this album, most of the time she just falls short of that and instead sounds random and lacking in structure. Speaking of structure, where this album really gets hurt is song structure, or lack thereof. For example, on the song Paradoxos, Sarah starts out with this sweet tapping lick, followed some by Michael Keene-ish palm muted riffing, before going in to a bass-led slower passage, and from there straight into a chugging breakdown. That's all in the first minute of this song too; these songs just change on a dime.
On Par Avion, Sarah showcased some interesting electronic moments throughout the album, but on this release she kind of threw that away, and instead tossed in some synthesized horns into the songs Pari Passu and Nexus. Nexus is one of the better tracks on this thing, starting out with a great ambient tapping intro, but then she gets all random on our asses again with some sub-par and trying-too-hard tapping sections and some processed sounding chugging in the background that you'll hear all over this album. I feel like she was trying to boggle minds with her technical prowess, but most of the time she just falls short and ends up just being boring. Instead of comparing Sarah to Cloudkicker, I feel she is more of a sporadic David Maxim Micic, with less emotion in her music.
I have to give this album some credit though, it certainly has it's moments. Sarah's best trait is definitely her technicality; this is something in which she is definitely versed. She shows her talent through odd time signatures and some wonky-ass tapping sections, that can sometimes be a bit interesting. There's some nice riffage on Inevitable Disconnect, Nexus, Transcending Perception, and Ceaseless Compulsion, but more often than not she doesn't really go anywhere with these riffs and just goes into some other section, and none of the songs seem to connect together. She more or less meanders about her technical guitar work. Honestly, probably my favorite part about this album is just how relentlessly Sarah shreds, never letting up, although I just wish she would have kept her shredding more diverse.
As far as the production goes on this album, it's just alright. The guitars take the front-row seat, with the drums further back, and the bass usually inaudible. The quiet nature of the drums doesn't change much though, since on this album the drums don't really seem to do anything for the songs. Myriad also doesn't have very much replay value, considering all songs on this thing sound the same; when listening to it for the second time it's almost like hearing the same song over and over, all over again.
In the end, I don't think this thing is going to blow anyone away, but certainly not repulse anyone either. I'd really like to hear stuff more like Par Avion from this chick in the future, for her sake. Is this something I'd tell you to avoid at all costs? Of course not. Is this something I would tell you that you MUST listen to? Of course not.
- Technical and progressive guitar work
- A few interesting sections here and there
- Too static
- No direction
Overall Rating: 2.4/5