Readers' Choice


  • Axl Rosenberg

So we get a sent a lot of technically and progressively-minded metal, and, honestly, most of it is the very definition of “riff salad.” Except that I’m tempted to call it “note soup,” ’cause, really, the music is just that flaccid. It seems like everyone and their mother can play these days, but no one knows how to actually structure a damn song. So all of these not-very-good-anyway bands ending up sounding more or less exactly the same.

Enter Amog Symphony, who were suggested to us by reader Jared Lucas.

This is a two-person band; Vishal J. Singh, who does the guitar/bass/synths/programming/sound effects, is from Mumbai, while Jim Richman, who plays the actual drums and does “metal percussion SFX,” is from Richmond. You would probably not guess that a dude from India and a dude from Virginia would make the best creative bedfellows, and I can’t tell from looking at Amog Symphony’s Bandcamp, Facebook, Soundcloud, or MySpace pages if they’re ever actually even in the same room or if they’re working together from half a world apart. But whatever they’re doing, it’s working.

The band is not perfect. Their album, The Quantum Hack Code, has a LOT of sci-fi dork narration by Chela Harper (it sounds an awful lot like Kathleen Blanchard’s V.O. at the opening of Escape from New York). And I am a dork, so that doesn’t bother me, except that I don’t think this is the best vehicle for conveying those kinds of stories — the music is instrumental, meaning it requires the listener to engage with it on some kind of visceral level, beyond that which can be described via traditional forms of communication. So telling me that music is about Osiris 1 and his polymorphic infection and his viral clone, Proteus, and whatever else the fuck is going on here… well, it’s kind of limiting, no?

But that’s really my only complaint about the album, at least after an initial listen.

Yeah, it’s show off-y as fuck, and yeah, djent has been done to death, but this music always sounds like, well, music. And good music! Not just a bunch of ideas tossed into a blender and presented as a final composition.

And it has its own personality, thanks to the straight-up techno parts of each song, which are far beyond the elements of electronica that so many bands of this ilk are currently employing. And the techno stuff works! It’s not annoying. It actually adds to the song. It would work as its own thing. And it makes Amogh Symphony stand out from the crowd.

Go to Amogh Symphony’s Bandcamp page to listen to The Quantum Hack Code in its entirety. You can also download it for just eight bucks.


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