20 Sep 2021
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Magnalith - EP Review: Instrumentality

15 Apr 2021 // A review by River Tucker

If you ever had the inclination to record some music, heading over to Auckland’s LAB studios to lay down some drums is a good way to begin. Not only have they provided Mathew Bosher’s solo release with the depth of sound his chosen genres demand but they also ensure the contagious rhythms on Instrumentality, his debut EP under the moniker Magnalith, have the cut through required to get listener’s fully engaged.

Opening track Instrumentality immediately jumps up and smacks you in the cochlea. Blistering blast beats and a netherworld scream are highly effective and made even more devastating by sparse passages of darkness. Far from being mere prog, Bosher’s writing style incorporates elements of speed, death and operatic metal. The result is one brilliantly heavy and diverse song that deserves all the accolades it gets.

With a dynamic range on another level, Intimacy’s End takes a more contemplative jaunt into cross-genre brilliance. Think Tesseract crossed with elements of Placebo and interspersed by Cradle of Filth stabs. Subtle musical nuances and numerous changes in pace add another dimension to this cathartic track. It’s a varied mix of influence bordering at times on djent and doom, a fusion that has a certain appeal because of its non-commerciality.

Subnautica brings things down another notch with some awe-inspiring hypnotic riffs and dreamscape vocals sung both clean and in death growl. A more straightforward arrangement and poignant keyboard harmonies help to augment the expansive undertone of this monumental track. Bosher’s mastery of unusual scales, odd time signatures and surreal lyrics are evidently composed for people thinking outside of the square.

Released on Rothko Records, to simply call this three-track EP progressive is a disservice to the eclectic mix of styles Magnalith taps into. Make sure you check it out today.

Rating: ( 4 / 5 )
 

About Magnalith

Magnalith is dense but concise, expressionistic but corporeal music. Tangentially metal, curiously harmonic, the forthcoming EP is a convulsive listen. Unbridled structural deviations see handbrake slides into weird, cinematic passages that lurch back into leviathan riffs.

Brevity does not constrain the expansiveness of the three tracks. Experimental vignettes, conceptual lyricism, pathos and sagacious mixing by Dave Holmes (Jakob, Saint Agnes, Maisha) lend to the fantastical but humanistic atmosphere. The effect is bursts of contemplative, layered composition to capture the imagination of progressive metal/rock fans.

Recorded in historic and hideaway places in Auckland, New Zealand then mixed remotely through UK lockdown—re-amping the guitars and bass through vintage gear locally—this was an international collaboration of audiophiles. Bosher gathered three engineer friends from across his career to undertake sections of the production. Work began at The Lab below Mt Eden’s Crystal Palace Theatre in the storied ballroom popular in the 1920s (later a cabaret room). Capturing the kinetic energy of the drums on the Neve console helped to create the foundational tank tread of the EP’s heft. The team moved to makeshift spaces for other instrumentation and the material then shipped to the UK to be re-assembled within a 500-tonne lightship and then an ex-food processing plant. The record is a result greater than the sum of its parts in the pandemic post-production context.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Magnalith

Releases

Instrumentality
Year: 2021
Type: EP

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