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Achilles Complex - EP Review: Brand New World

13 Apr 2023 // A review by Kris Raven

Achilles Complex has just released their debut EP Brand New World and for those familiar with the bands previous work and live shows, they have certainly delivered on a brand new world of music. Incorporating synth wave and its sub genres with their progressive rock/metal sound, along with an entire conceptual storyline, lyrically and musically, they deliver a complex work for our ears.

Created entirely by the band, written and recorded during a pandemic and produced by Caleb Bird, known for his background in electronic music, AC has branched out into brave new world. Creating music in these current times has its pros and cons. Pro, It has allowed artists to go the DIY route and be able to create and nurture their art until its ready for the world to hear. Con is that its released amongst thousands of songs, albums and Eps a day, in one consumer ear and out the other, often not being absorbed and enjoyed with all its intricacies and repetitive listens. This needs to be. 

The whole band are high calibre musicians and know how to hone their songwriting craft, it’s a different take on the sound they have created for themselves but I must give props for evolving and creating something different. Beginning with 2022 single Jack In (read the review here), the song introduces the concept and lays it out. Concept albums and EP’s are always exciting, the lyrics sharing a common theme (in this case… the perversion of the ideal) and the flow of the album adding that cinematic storyline to the overall concept.

Title track Brand New World begins gradually building with layers of synth, percussion and clean vocals, the drums then introducing a solid groove. The line "to speak and to be seen" really speaks volumes. The song then takes a swift turn, into a nu prog metal vibe with lead vocalist Harley Flynn's vocals taking an industrial metal vocal tone. The introduction of virtuoso guitarist Reece Gielan adds a whole new level to AC’s musicianship, alongside Harleys guitar and Jordan Carpenter's punchy and funky bass, he delivers some epic guitar wizardry, complimented by synth and keys and held down by the well-oiled drums of Zak Cole. The layered scream outro with the synth feels very doom dream and fades into the next track. 

Euphoric is the midway point of the album, an instrumental track, is a grower. It serves a purpose to cement the EP together and at first listen it seems odd...but it's not to be overlooked. I love the main synth/keys hook with the bass synth rolling like waves and the percussive elements adding to the dreamlike movements. It's a really well written piece with cool layers and a lot of thought has been given to each layer and how they all sift and flow, creating textures.

4th track Heartache is another song that builds gradually with a tonne of emotion. Like Brand New World, it moves into a progressive rock/territory with Reece shining on the guitars and Harleys vocal range on full display. It's a beautiful track and you can hear the emotion in Harleys vocals, accentuated by the guitar licks (classical guitar vibes) and some City of Souls feels. The guitar solo again is so damm good, especially the double layering and the drums speeding up adding that intensity of emotion, a non cheesy metal ballad section. There is such feeling and it feels more real than a lot of contrived bullshit polluting the streaming services day after day. 

In a twist, the EP finishes on a rock version of Jack In, which in some ways feels like a whole different song and I like that they have thought about the placement of where it sits with the original Jack in beginning the album. This version is certainly more in line with their original sound but also encompasses the new territory they have covered throughout the album. Overall, this EP is intriguing, different, creative, perhaps a little risky but it has paid off. This EP really grew with each listen and I found more to enjoy as I did. I highly recommend checking this EP out, cranking it multiple times, feel all the vibes and catch these guys at a show soon.

Rating: ( 5 / 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 Villainy, Pull Down The Sun, Living State, FYVEYES, Claemus, Elidi, Pencarrow, Pale Flag and more.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Achilles Complex


Brand New World
Year: 2023
Type: EP

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