Album: Pathogenic – Cyclopean Imagery
Release Date: 8/21/2011
The result of a one-night stand between Meshuggah and Symphony X, Pathogenic’s Cyclopean Imagery is an ultra-technical, polyrhythmic exercise of not only music theory, but of the listener’s stamina. The question is not how long the album is, but of how your brain can formulate the complexities of progressive metal.
Of this strange hybrid of band influences, Cyclopean Imagery sounds less like Symphony X playing Meshuggah and more like Meshuggah playing Symphony X. The result is a severely technical recording, filled with insanely meticulous patterns, start-and-stop time signatures, and blistering atonal riffs. It is clear that Pathogenic has put a large emphasis on quality throughout the recording, as it sounds and feels great being played on a good car stereo.
This New England 6-man group has existed since 2004, and before this album there was only one other recording in existence, an EP from 2005. The band looks much younger than its musical capabilities, which are far more experienced than most bands out there today (alongside Animals as Leaders). The lower rating I’ve given Cyclopean Imagery (begrudgingly) has nothing to do with the energy and technicality this band displays. Unlike Animals as Leader’s excellent self-titled recording from last year, the diversity from track to track on Pathogenic’s release is non-discernable.
This is a tired but true complaint for most heavy metal albums, and one that is difficult to shake. Every song feels like a stack of polyrhythmic beats layered atop alternations of (very good) clean and dirty vocals. However, the fact that each song sounds like this is amazing; how Pathogenic can separate and memorize one song from the next reaffirms an appreciation of progressive metal, and the people who play it. This is a very good, yet pigeon-holed album you may or may not understand.
Best track: Fish Frenzy
7 out of 10 stars