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Genetics - Cynosure Award winner

by Dave "That Metal Guy" Campbell at 27 April 2019, 3:19 AM

GENETICS is a four-piece instrumental progressive band that uses poignant spoken word elements intertwined with heavy riffs and ambient structures. The band draws on influences from popular Progressive rock and Metal bands, along with influences from Jazz and Alternative rock. GENETICS has performed with national and international acts. During this time, their sophomore concept album, “Cynosure,” was written and recorded. The album is a conceptual release that uses leitmotifs to construct a narrative journey in 43-minutes. The three recurring themes throughout the album draw listeners into a compelling story amidst the catchy melodies and strong riffs. The album was mastered by Douglas Skene (HEMINA) at Ploughman Studios, and contains eight tracks.

“Pale Light” leads off the album. The spoken words talk about opposites, war, religion, and the meaning of the tiny existence of our world when compared to the infinity of outer space. The music is soft, with piano and clean guitars, bass, and some light drumming. The mood is somewhat jovial when compared the subject matter…”there is no one who can save us from ourselves.” The sound begins to thicken at the end as it talks about “cherishing what we have.” “Episteme” opens with bass guitar and guitar chords that sound like bells. The lead guitar here is spot on…playing cheerfully as if there were no concerns in the world at all. Pretty quickly it mixes together into a main sound, while the spoken word talks about the ethics of science. There is definitely a Jazzy feeling to the music here.

“Samsara” is close to seven minutes long. It opens with a heavy riff and delicate background ambiance. The guitar runs are proof of strong musicianship but they don’t let it take over the music. “Samsara” is a concept that means “wandering,” or “world,” or “rebirth.” The music chugs away with an outer-world sound that is neither hopeful nor nefarious, as the spoken word talks about the atoms of the student body, and the ingredients of the elements of life, and how they are all interconnected. We are part of the universe, and the universe is part of us. “Kin” opens with a fairly heavily accented riff lead by sparkling leads over top of it. It transitions to piano but that heavy riff keeps chugging away. It transitions again seemingly without notice, and the leads turn legato and with a charming sound. The Progressive elements are much more noticeable here, as there are no spoken words.

“The Chandrasekhar Limit”  refers to the maximum mass of a stable white dwarf star. A white dwarf with a mass greater than the limit is subject to further gravitational collapse, evolving into a different type of stellar remnant, such as a neutron star or black hole. It opens with heavy and ominous tones and some dissonance. A guitar solo dances over top, while it shifts gears a bit. “Mephisto’s Lullaby” is another with a heavy and dissonant entrance, with endless guitar strikes and punishment. Twin guitars harmonized over top this bed of thickness, and then all is washed away clean in a guitar solo. The brief spoken word was hard to make out. But as the sound drops a bit, it focuses on bigotry, and being taught to hate others; it’s not innate in us. Rich with a fusion type sound, it is really hard to follow all of the transitions that they nail.

“Entheogen” opens with a run of clean guitar, leading to a soft lead passage, with solemn but jovial elements. The chord progressions are not what you might expect. It talks about what music means, and where it comes from. The music frolics in the warm sunlight that soaks into the room, surrounding you. “Bijuu” closes the album, with soft opening notes. A brilliant guitar solo peppers the landscape as the sound picks up. It’s an easy to assimilate melody along with some well-done electronica. It waxes and wanes, in the circle of life. The spoken word talks about the enormity of our existence…we live in one large room.

Overall, this was a fascinating piece of music that lives outside genre classifications. At its core, it draws influence from Melodic Rock and Metal and with Progressive elements, and the themes they talk about are all relevant to our current state of existence. They are masters at manipulating transitions, and do it so seamlessly that at times it’s hard to know where you are. I say, sit back, and take in the ride for all it’s worth. Because it’s a wonderfully done album by skillful musicians and is worth every penny.

Songwriting: 9
Originality: 9
Memorability: 9
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

1. Pale Light
2. Episteme
3. Samsara
4. Kin
5. The Chandrasekhar Limit
6. Mephisto’s Lullaby
7. Entheogen
8. Bijuu
Jar Orr – Bass
Luke Spies – Drums
Shane Leadbeater – Guitars
Samuel Joseph – Guitars
Record Label: Independent


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Edited 24 March 2023

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