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Epoch of Chirality – Nucleosynthesis

Epoch of Chirality
by Paul LaPlaca at 29 August 2021, 9:44 AM

“Nucleosynthesis” begins with a promising track, “Dawn Of Chirality” that has elements of ALAN PARSONS PROJECT and early DREAM THEATER. The build-up is intense and soon you come to the realization that this is an instrumental album. The song takes you on a journey through several sections of varying textures and tempos with melodies carried by the synth parts. It is clear that HOWE is a remarkably talented composer and player but there are some fundamental flaws that are consistent for me, throughout the entire project. It appears that the drums have been played on an electronic kit and a sampled program has been used for the sounds but the problem is, they are so hyper-processed and quantized he could have just used a drum machine. There is a claustrophobic feel to the production where everything seems to have been recorded and mixed, “in the box” and nothing has actually been put through an amplifier, pushed air, and been recorded through a mic. It may sound pristine to some but to my ear, it’s slightly sterile.

The next track, “Undercity Rising” starts with a percolating synth arpeggiator that is reminiscent of NINE INCH NAILS or an industrial “Axel F”. Guitars come in with chunky crunch, and a nice harmonized synth melody carries the weight of a potential hook. “Caravan to the Midnight Mountain” has an Egyptian, desert feel with hand drum loops and a modal melody with an unsettling minor 2nd that adds an air of mystery and wind. The heavy guitars and drums break in strong followed by complex rhythms and melodies in ⅞. Think DREAM THEATER’s, “Home”.

“Pyramid Cybergod” is a perfect tribute to 80’s sci-fi film soundtracks and brings to mind TANGERINE DREAM and ARYEON. This would have been perfect in Dune, Blade Runner, or Krull. “Maiden Voyage” has a ZAPPA vibe with some really slick mallet percussion parts over undulating synth bass and crushing guitars. I can also hear some ELP references as well. “The Abyssal Fleet” is a synth orchestra piece, again very well suited for a film soundtrack but the sounds themselves are slightly cartoonish and would be better served on a full-scale orchestra sample library.

Overall, RICHARD HOWE has done an outstanding job for a one-man project but while this is GOOD what would make it GREAT is an incredible vocalist or virtuoso level instrumental player. This music is amazing as an underscore to something else but needs a more expressive melodic element over the top of it to really make it shine on its own.

Songwriting: 8
Musicianship: 8
Memorability: 8
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

1. Dawn Of Chirality
2. Undercity Rising
3. Caravan to the Midnight Mountain
4. Boreal
5. Pyramid Cybergod
6. Maiden Voyage
7. The Abyssal Fleet
8. Labyrinth
9. Paradox
10. Valley Of The Kings
11. Lost Son
Richard Howe – All Instruments
Record Label: Independent


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