18 May 2022
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Achilles Complex - Single Review: Vice

22 Jan 2021 // A review by Kev Rowland

Achilles Complex started life in Hamilton as a 3-piece power trio in 2019, releasing their debut single Shut It in September of that year, and are now back with their new song Vice having transformed themselves into a quartet of Harley Flynn (guitar, vocals), Jordan Carpenter (bass), Zak Cole (drums) and Reece Gielen (guitar, vocals). They describe themselves as a progressive rock band with roots in rock, funk, indie and metal while also exploring ambient textures such as synthwave, trap, pop and more.

To my ears this is crossover prog, with a very commercial sound, and it is certainly possible to hear these influences. Strangely no keyboards are mentioned, but they do play an important part in smoothing and caressing the music, providing a calming motif which removes much of the angst from the riffs. In some ways the sounds they are using in that respect are not too dissimilar to the “keyboards” played by Geddy Lee when he is using his hands to play bass, similar in many ways to the usage of bass pedals but in a much higher register.

One of the delights of this number is just how many different sections they manage to cram into four minutes, as there are times in the verse when it is basically vocals, keyboards, and drums, with the rock element only coming it at the end. They also have resisted the temptation to go for the straight verse/chorus/verse/chorus, so when they do hit into the bridge with a total change in approach and the vocals really being lifted, it has definite impact. This is a punchy song that never outstays its welcome yet also seems much longer than it actually is, as the listener gets dragged inside their world, which is more thoughtful and reflective than many.

The production is very polished indeed, and one does wonder how much heavier they are in concert as there is the impression a lot of edges have been taken away, with the keyboard sounds definitely adding to that as well. Overall, this is a very solid release indeed which I can certainly see finding favour with rock radio stations as it is bright and fun, but still with underlying power.

Rating: ( 4 / 5 )
 

About Achilles Complex

Achilles Complex is a four-piece prog rock powerhouse from Hamilton which formed in 2019. Priding themselves on their tight and energetic sound, the band specialize in mixing hard-hitting riffs with those enormous soaring choruses that audiences can’t get enough of.

The band consists of front man Harley Flynn, whose mesmerizing rhythm guitar playing and animated vocal delivery captivates crowds and draws them into the performance. Their thunder god Zak Cole looms behind the drum kit, combining intricate rhythms with a fundamental groove, interspersed with blistering fills to keep the audience on their toes. He can also be seen on stage as fill-in drummer for Checaine on their 2022 Black River Tour. Reece Gielen (Rogue John Doe) boasts an intimidating vocal range and dominates the stage with fiery guitar leads. On bass they have Jordan Carpenter, providing the menacing rumble from down under, contrasted by his melodic lead lines and ambient textures.

Achilles Complex have played many shows throughout Hamilton and Auckland, sharing stages with high profile NZ acts such as Pull Down The Sun, Living State, FYVEYES, Claemus, Elidi, Pencarrow, Pale Flag and more.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Achilles Complex

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