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Chronologist - Solstice II Award winner

Solstice II
by Mark Machlay at 28 January 2020, 4:26 AM

CHRONOLOGIST is comprised of guitarist Julián Gargiulo and Nick Broomhall, along with drummer Zach Sacco – similar in makeup to Animals as Leaders The group met at prestigious Berklee College of Music in 2013 and began to make waves around the northeast with the release of their self-titled instrumental demo in 2014. Once they built up their web presence and got some touring under their belt, they released their debut “Cartographer” in 2016 and made the decision to relocate to Austin, TX.

Throughout 2019, as part of a concept project, the group endeavored to release a 4-part EP series to be released on each solstice and equinox. As each EP was handled as a separate recording project – not one singular “album” split up between seasons – this allowed the group to focus on what each season truly means to the band. Solstice II is the fourth and final entry of this series.

While this EP may evoke a lot of similar bands such as Animals as Leaders, Polyphia and The Fine Constant, they don’t seem to share their penchant for crazy lines. Both Julián Gargiulo and Nick Broomhall are clearly amazing guitarists but on many tracks, they seem to get fairly stuck in the djent and metalcore chugging that becomes particularly repetitive in the beginning of “Transit”. It is when they are soaring with their interwoven lead lines later in the song that makes them particularly captivating – helped by guest guitarist and fellow Berklee alum, Johnael Hasney. Their speed is formidable, though, as shown in the frantic intro riff to “Mountain Don’t” and the outro leads of “Hebra”. There melodic phrasing in middle section of the latter is especially tasty. Their tone is warm and creamy when it calls for lead lines and deep and mocha flavored when it comes for chugging djent.

Crafting a coherent song is not necessarily a requirement as much as the song needs to serve to display the player’s talent in progressive metal. That being said, drummer Zach Sacco seems to not be given much to do but create a bed beat – even with stamina-stealing double pedal runs – for the two guitarists to solo over. The first track may not even have live drums at all with the drummer possibly only contributing to 3 of the 4 tracks. It would be good to let the drummer out of his corner once in a while and shine in a trio of obvious virtuosos.

However, the tracks themselves are heavily catchy and fans of instrumental prog rock and metal will find themselves nodding their heads along with the riffs, humming the melody lines throughout the day and never bored by the constant tone, tempo and time switching.

Songwriting: 7
Musicianship: 10
Memorability: 9
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

1. Ipswich
2. Transit (feat. Johnuel Hasney of Toothgrinder)
3. Hebra
4. Mountain Don’t
Julián Gargiulo - Guitar
Nick Broomhall - Guitar
Zach Sacco - Drums
Record Label: Independent


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