Review Summary: An ode to the evolution of human music.
Reflux are a DC area metalcore band who will likely only be remembered as rising guitar prodigy Tosin Abasi's project prior to Animals as Leaders. But it's oh-so much more.
In case you haven't heard of the chap yet, Tosin Abasi is the guy that's been flying around Twitter and YouTube attempting to garner followers for his new effort Animals as Leaders using laughable monikers such as xnextgtrgodx. As much as we may want to just laugh at the seemingly random comment and outlandish statement of the name, Tosin seems to be the real deal.
However, as may be implied by a statement Tosin initially made to Prosthetic Records when asked to make a solo album for them, this isn't a self-indulgent project of one-man with a backing band. The politically charged lyrics and mixed vocal stylings of Ash Avildsen, the apt and at times funk-inspired grooves of bassist Evan Brewer, the appropriate, slightly experimental, and never displeasing drumming of Vinny Vinh, the mixture of palm-muted chugs, masterful sweeps, blazing solos, multi-finger tapping sections, and perennially ear-catching harmonies of Tosin Abasi make Reflux a beast to be reckoned with.
The sounds of this album range from the expected chug riffs and breakdowns (Above the Pryamid and the Eye) to tap and slap sections one might expect from Buckethead or Victor Wooten (The Sudden Realization...) and everything in-between. Literally, everything. The band throws influences and stylings together in a manner seemingly as indiscriminate as the musically illuminated phrase "We are all one / The only race is human" sung out in a more reserved, clean tone by Ash in "An Ode to the Evolution of Human Consciousness."
While the aforementioned track may be one of Ash's best on the album (along with tracks such as Single File to Bliss and Modern Day Babylon where Ash slides seamlessly between clean vocals, screams, narration, and chants), there are a few tracks, such as the inpronouncable -=[*]=- and The Keats Persona which provide indulgence into the more placid side of the band's virtuosity while still making full use of the band's musical capability rather than turning the band into a one man guitar masturbation festival. The album does, however, allot one minute and fourteen seconds to the simultaneously beautiful and chaotic tapped passage of "1984-2004."
The album provides intrigue and skill from every angle on every track. The true strength of Reflux lies in their ability to evolve throughout the course of a single album and constantly provide new and exciting passages. Though the band did not stand the test of time, this is an album that surely will.