Review Summary: Refined and retuned
If you've heard anything from Bulb (Misha Mansoor, sole founder of renowned band Periphery) before, you more or less should know the core foundation of what Moderately Fast, Adequately Furious has to offer. It's very progressive metal-oriented and djenty, but is also very post-rock influenced, something that's always made me gravitate towards Bulbs music (I think he does the ambient djent thing about the best amongst anyone in his field, bar a few exceptions, David Maxim Micic, Modern Day Babylon, Wide Eyes, to name a few). There are "Redux" versions of older tracks on the album that Bulb had created more than 10 years ago now; as well as brand new ones that he made specifically for this debut album (I very much wish he had included a Epic Fail Redux on here, but I digress). The production value is immensely improved on the Redux tracks, they essentially sound like they were taken right from the Periphery IV: HAIL STAN recording sessions.
The album begins with one of the most hard-hitting tracks he's ever recorded, Unleash the Pwnies. This track is very djent/math-metal-oriented, a very fast-paced, frantic, pummeling, scatterbrained meld of riffing and drumming that still remains mind-bogglingly heavy and technical to this day. Another hard-hitting track is the newly written Parabolica, this track didn't initially click with me for whatever reason but now I've come to love it. Just like Unleash the Pwnies, this track is very djent oriented with a maelstrom of cascading riffs, however; this track also offers quite a light and ambient feel to it as well. Where there is a colossal and deep riff put on the display, there is usually an ambient lead that's on top of it to provide a different texture.
Echo Teuffel, track two on the album demonstrates the ambient post-rock vibe of Bulbs music in full bloom. Being quite literally the polar opposite to the first track Unleash the Pwnies, this track is immensely soothing and relaxing. It's extremely spacy, otherworldly, and futuristic. Bass excellently cutting through in the mix on this track, laying down a simple yet effective groove as the backbone for the track to flourish. Stunning leads and emotive sections ebb and flow throughout this track with great gravitas and exuberance. Something is very very touching about this track, it really speaks to the soul, in my opinion.
Some guitar solos are different on the Redux versions from what they were on the original (demo) versions. on Fuf Redux, for example, some parts have been changed slightly to enhance certain sections and make some hit harder than their older demo counterparts. Breeze Redux is just as endearing as was in its demo state. A super memorable riff connecting the track together with this very upbeat energy, provided by the drums. The solo on this track is very great, really enhances this already very good and enjoyable track. As previously stated, solos are altered and this one is no exception. Bulb laying down some really delicious extra lead lines, only making the solos more fantastic than they were prior.
Tracks Two Brothers and Far Too High are both very interesting, but for different reasons. Two Brothers sounds like the ending segment of the track Crush on Periphery IV: HAIL STAN; only this track is now more expanded upon in ideas. It's very jazz-centric and has a bit of sinister feel to it, tons of strings are used, it almost sounds like something that you'd hear in a soundtrack to an early 1800s movie, only with this fresh spin on it. As for the track proceeding Far Too High, this track features Bulb's younger brother, Axel Mansoor on vocals (only track with vocals on the album). He is a very very good vocalist, this track sonically is just very wonderful, has a great chorus that sticks effortlessly.
Tracks 9 and 10 (Upload Apathy and Download Happiness) resemble that of his Four Seconds Ago electronic project created along with fellow Periphery member Jake Bowen (however I do believe these tracks were composed entirely by Bulb and not with the help of Jake). Just like other FSA tracks, these tracks are really great pieces of electronic splendor, often having a real driving beat to them, and this is no exception here (synths are used as leads on these tracks, there is no guitar on them to be seen). These tracks are really great, however, I do feel like they could have been placed on the album a bit better. Them being essentially exclusively near the end of the album leaves things sounding a bit uneven, a simple tracklist reordering could fix this.
The final track And Yet, This Man Will Soar is something really sublime that I did not expect. This is a post-rock song through and through which seems to be inspired by the likes of We Lost the Sea and other renowned post-rock bands. This song has a tremendous build to it with an astounding crescendo by the end, if you like crescendo-like music, I do believe you will latch on to this one quite easily. My only critique with this album lies on the tracklisting, as previously stated I do feel like these tracks could have been ordered better. But overall, for a primarily progressive metal and djent-oriented record, there is a tonne of variety here. Bulb has certainly been in the lab cooking up some new and fresh ideas and it shows here. A very excellent debuted record and I'm excited for what's to come next down the line for Mr. Misha "Bulb" Mansoor.