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MöbiuStrip – Hate, Pride, Pain (and Hope)

MöbiuStrip
Hate, Pride, Pain (and Hope)
by Santiago Puyol at 23 July 2019, 11:37 PM

MÖBIUSTRIP is a Spanish Progressive Metal band debuting with the EP "Hate, Pride, Pain (and Hope)". Although divided into five tracks, this EP comprises a 25-minutes-and-a-half epic suite, each track depicting one of its parts or "movements", if you wish. With a sound strongly influenced by DREAM THEATER, SYMPHONY X and BETWEEN THE BURIED AND ME (minus Death Metal influences), this debut shows impeccable musicianship and at the very least interesting songwriting capabilities.

Opting for a song of more than twenty minutes as a cover letter is undoubtedly a risk, but MÖBIUSTRIP is victorious in generating a great first impression. The first "movement", "Afraid and Alone" plays a crucial role in this.

Beginning with soft clean guitar arpeggios and sweet piano melodies, the band lulls us in. The vocalist's dramatic tones of voice, with a theatrical vibe, fuels the excitement as the rest of the band slowly enters. Just over a minute and a half later, chaos breaks loose and the true nature of this group manifests itself between shifting time signatures and complex instrumentation.

"So, This Is Life" carries on with the melodrama, complementing melodic piano phrases with syncopated rhythm figures. Epic guitar and keyboard solos blend emotion and technique in equal parts, emulating DREAM THEATER's most exciting moments. The last minute becomes much more oppressive and frenetic, carrying a somewhat sinister aggressiveness. The repetitive synthesizer figures connect perfectly with the heavy, catchy riffing at the start of "Tough as Hard a Rock Can Be".

The third "movement" is probably the heaviest and most uncomfortable of all, in the best sense of the term. It generates a denser and unsettling atmosphere. Some 80's inspired synths sneak in every now and then, providing a luminous counterpoint amid the chaos.

"Doesn't Care" pushes through with deep bass patterns and the catchiest guitar riffing in the entire suite. With a sound closer to the BETWEEN THE BURIED AND ME of "Coma Ecliptic" or "Automata", featuring screaming and vocal samples, this section recreates the theatrical sound of the first two movements in a heavy way. Petrucci-inspired solos and Middle Eastern sounds give a peculiar sound to this section, feeling more Avant-Garde in its writing.

Things come to an end with fifth and final section, "On My Own", the one that drops the album title in its lyrics. Beautiful piano lines, staccato playing of the band, vocal layering and a much more euphoric and brilliant sound than in the two middle sections, give it an adequate vibration to put an end to this mammoth of a song. Some bluesy influences also slip through, particularly in the solos.

Despite the dense arrangements and complex songwriting, "Hate, Pride, Pain (and Hope)" is a mostly successful EP, a roller coaster of emotions. Allowing themselves some vulnerability and a sense of drama, MÖBIUSTRIP avoids some of the pitfalls into which their own influences sometimes fall, with unnecessarily complex or lengthy songs for the sake of it.

Rich keyboard and synth sounds provide a lot of depth, texture and diversity to the music, perfectly accompanied by excellent production. All five sections flow perfectly, bleeding one into the other, making sense as a whole. The very clear tone from the vocalist and impressive English skills deserve to be mentioned too. As a native Spanish speaker, I know this is no easy feat.

The only thing MÖBIUSTRIP seem to lack here is a bit of a proper identity. They still sound too close to their influences. They are quite there, though, as this is an impressive debut. I’m hoping there is a lot more coming their way.

Songwriting: 8
Originality: 6
Memorability: 7
Production: 8

3 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. I – Afraid and Alone
2. II – So, This Is Life
3. III – Tough as Hard a Rock Can Be
4. IV – Doesn’t Care
5. V – On My Own
Lineup:
Dan Krumland
Raelea McClung
Record Label: Independent
     


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