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The Last Cell - Nautilus Award winner

The Last Cell
by Dave "That Metal Guy" Campbell at 21 July 2018, 12:53 AM

JeanMarc started shredding from the tender age of nine, laying the groundwork for his obsession with music and his goal of becoming a seriously skilled part of the prog scene. His journey from being strapped to the guitar from such an early age to receiving a music graduate degree in Vienna ultimately led him to announce this major milestone. “Nautilus,” his first solo EP released under his stage name THE LAST CELL. This instrumental work tells the story of the origin of life, the fight for survival and the inevitable end of it all. A tragic yet relatable story weaved into a varied musical performance and conveyed without a single word.

“Cascade” is the opening track. Heavy and melodic, there are hard accents in the rhythm while the leads fly overhead leaving a trail of smoke as they light up the sky. Right away you can get a sense of his unique style and phrasing. He builds the melody through subtle nuances and keeps the rhythm moving in a variety of meters, like two gears twisted in opposite directions but at the right speed form a synergy in optimal performance. “Ebb and Flow” pushes a legato melody line out of the gate while the bass and rhythm guitars jab and punch in an aggressive rhythm. The Progressive elements are on full display here as he changes meters on a dime so adeptly that it’s hard for your mind to comprehend the math. But, as the title suggests, there is a great flow to everything as well.

The title track, “Nautilus,” has a jovial opening sound that combines hard rhythmic strikes with the open air feeling you get when you first step outside on a crisp spring morning. When he unleashes the leads it’s like holding back a rabid dog who has a bloody steak in front of him. I like the restraint he shows though in favoring more melodic and legato passages when he clearly has the ability to burn those strings completely through. “Through the Waves” has a really charming and tender opening, like something you might hear in the Post Rock arena. But the guitar and bass come chugging in pretty quickly in a heavy cadence. The instrumentation combines into a ritualistic dance of sorts where you are not sure who is taking the lead but they anticipate every next step.

We then come to the closing song, “Ocean Floor.” The opening sequence is pure charm and beauty. The use of cello here is just spot on. I have always felt the stringed instrument is about as best as it gets in producing a somber tone and something that you can make your heart ache, but also be so pretty to listen to as well. The pensive acoustic guitars and gentle swaying of waves is about as effective as washing away your concerns and worries as anything. Close your eyes and let the magic in his fingers take you away.

My only complaint on the album is that I want more! In just five tracks, Jean-Marc shows a great diversity in songwriting that is sorely missing in a lot of instrumental music. The technical elements and musicality are immediately evident, and his dexterity and maneuvering of the strings on the fretboard are very impressive. But, he also has a unique way of phrasing and building melodies and texture in the music. There are moments of pure sublime bliss, and others where the heavy sound pulses through your body and shakes your core. Any fan of instrumental guitars will surely find a lot to love in “Nautilus.”

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

4 Star Rating

1. Cascade
2. Ebb and Flow
3. Nautilus
4. Through the Waves
5. Ocean Floor
Jean-Marc Perc – Guitars, Composition, Mixing, Production
Lukas Florian – Bass
Christian Herbst – Cello
Record Label: Independent


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Edited 14 April 2021

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