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Scaphoid – Absent Passages

Scaphoid
Absent Passages
by Dave "That Metal Guy" Campbell at 15 September 2020, 12:22 PM

From their Bandcamp page, “in a way, “Absent Passages” is the most apt moniker for this collection of songs. Multi-instrumentalist Matt Hobart credits instrumental metal as a primary inspiration but notes that, as much as the concept has always drawn him in, he has found himself long in search of a specific stylistic approach that had eluded him. One of his goals is to find that sweet spot, and as a result “Absent Passages” represents the sound that has burned within Hobart’s heart and mind without any previous outlet to represent it. Ultimately, what “Absent Passages” does is present a bridge from its titular lack to a place of fulfillment, a launching point for more detailed exploration of themes and soundscapes that were heretofore untraveled. The album contains eight tracks.

“Marauder” leads off the album. Clean, alluring guitars open the song, followed by bass and drums. It’s a light and dreamy sound, with heavy bass accents. Some lead guitars come in, adding layers to the song as it moves along. The layers continue to build through the end. “Shores of Ruin” has a similar sound. It’s charming and ethereal, with acoustic guitars and lead distorted guitars working in synergy with the bass and drums. Some darker and heavier tones come in towards the end. “None so Blind” features some of those same ethereal tones. He builds them nicely, but the songs are starting to blend together a bit. At around the half-way mark, the instrumentation is thick, and the number of layers Matt adds here is impressive.

“Memlpomene” opens with a slower groove, and more straightforward melodies. As it moves along, the melodies shine brightly, and it’s clear that Matt has a strong sense of songwriting. “Celestial Ego” features a more weighted bass line than some of the previous tracks. The lead guitar notes ring with reverb, and the song slowly pulls you into his world, and there is no going back. Those heavy bass thuds are juxtaposed with the lead guitars, but somehow the yin and yang work. There is a long piano and clean guitar passage at the end, showcasing yet again Matt’s songwriting prowess. “The Coldness of Clarity” opens with pretty piano notes, a melancholy sound, and a good deal of background atmosphere. The drums are very light, allowing the music to flow. The song is aptly titled, as you do get a sense of coldness here, and it can indeed make you have clarity. The piano notes in the second half of the song are very nice.

“The Narrows” is a shorter song, clocking in at just over three minutes in length. It builds with thick bass guitar notes and clean lead guitars. The overall mood is quite somber. This time, the drums show some skill, with some well-timed fills and cymbal work. “Infrastricken” closes the album, and it’s a beast, at over 14-minutes in length. Choppy bass lines open the song, along with some guitar riffing. It begins with a more positive, but still a bit dark, sound. Again, layers are added as the song moves along. It waxes and wanes as well, gathering steam for a grand ending with a long fade-out.

Overall, I found the album to be quite pleasing, and the layers are so complex that you need to listen to the several times to find the depth of his sound here. When you consider how personal the songs are from the composer, you can hear his personality in the songs for sure. They ooze out into the music, which is both melancholy and hopeful at the same time. I recommend this for fans of all music, because it will touch you for sure.

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

https://scaphoid.bandcamp.com/

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Marauder
2. Shores of Ruin
3. None so Blind
4. Memlpomene
5. Celestial Ego
6. The Coldness of Clarity
7. The Narrows
8. Infratstricken
Lineup:
Matt Hobart – All Music
Record Label: Shunu Productions
     


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