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Jason Rubenstein - New Metal From Old Boxes

Jason Rubenstein
New Metal From Old Boxes
by Tim Bolitho-Jones at 29 July 2014, 8:13 PM

It’s a fairly safe bet that multi-instrumentalist and Prog lover JASON RUBENSTEIN is a bit of a nerd. His latest album ‘New Metal From Old Boxes’ not only features tracks with names like ‘The Snowflake Defines The Winter’ and ‘The Contemplation Of The Cosmologer,’ but is packed with intricate keyboard riffs, off-kilter time signatures and absolutely no vocals whatsoever. It’s music born from a deep seated love of KING CRIMSON, PHILLIP GLASS and YES and is custom built for nights spent in solitary confinement, trying to enjoy Steven Donaldson’s fantasy novels.

It’s also not going to appeal to anyone but other Prog obsessives and when we say ‘obsessives,’ we mean it. Common or garden OPETH fan? Pah, stay away, we have no room for such mainstream delights here. No, what RUBENSTEIN has created is a dense body of work that requires both multiple listens and a single minded determination to enjoy.

For while this album does feature twelve tracks, in truth they’re not individual songs but chapters in a single body of work. Some of it is incredibly heavy, some of it surprisingly moving and some of it is frustratingly difficult as well. The emphasis is on the keyboard skills rather than the guitar work and there’s only so many times you can listen to rapidly tinkling keys without it getting annoying.

However, RUBENSTEIN is a talented musician and when he hits his stride, like on ‘Calculation And Walkaway’ or the excellent two parter ‘The Steppes Of Sighs,’ he can produce some very atmospheric work indeed. The gems are definitely there and with ‘The Barbarian,’ he’s created a delightfully odd album closer that’ll make you want to drag that old keyboard out the attic and have a go yourself.

But don’t be fooled, this is Prog, not Tech Metal or Djent so if you think being a fan of CHIMPSPANNER means being underground, you ain’t seen nothing yet. This is a long, occasionally meandering piece of music and the complete absence of vocals makes it extremely difficult to form any kind of human connection with it. Sometimes it feels like the albums your dad still plays in the car, at others it’s uncomfortably close to a PHD music student showing off at Open Mic night, but anyone who shares his ‘complex=better’ mindset will love it.


3 Star Rating

1. The Contemplation Of The Cosmologer
2. Calculation And Walkaway
3. The Set-Up
4. The Blow-Off
5. Unspeakable Highways
6. A Burden Of Secrets
7. The Snowflake Defines The Winter
8. Frankenstein On The Red Line
9. The Steppes Of Sighs Part 1
10. The Steppes Of Sighs Part 2
11. New Metal From Old Boxes
12. The Barbarian
Jason Rubenstein – All Instrumentation
Record Label: Prog Sphere Promotions


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