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Tungsten - The Reservoir

The Reservoir
by Daniel Fox at 03 February 2014, 10:52 PM

For me, there are 3 types of progressive metal bands; one that sounds like power metal, one that sounds like Death Metal, and one that sounds like PINK FLOYD. Many a band I love can belong under any of these categories. Philadelphia Prog band TUNGSTEN don't belong under and of these, and for that reason, they are somewhat of a rarity. Although only 8 tracks long, their full-length demonstrates a wide-array of songwriting ideas across a number of individually long pieces, drawing from an even wider array of musical influences.

Opening track "Water Over Stone" immediately reminds me of PINK FLOYD's "Sheep"; yet I choose not to recall my earlier statement. There is quite a bit more metal to this track, and this album, to deem them yet another 'Floydian' band. There is a presence of aggression a punch to the riffs that steers the track away from spacey Prog, and is interrupted by solemn breaks in the ebb and flow. These sections are filled in by Titi's surprisingly aggressive voice, which is able to switch from a soulful croon to something else gravelly and raucous; this is where I first noticed hints of LACUNA COIL, which I heard continue to pop up throughout the record. "Atmos (Masto) Stoma" was chosen to use for the album's flagship music video. It comes off as an intellectually stimulating piece, forgoing earlier vibes of aggression and Metallic arrangement for a mix of 70's psychedelic and Jazzy melodies popularized by DREAM THEATER. Overall, the track contains an immense amount of individual ideas condensed into just 7 minutes, and by the end of it, may sound unfinished to discerning ears.

"El Dolor" was probably my favorite track on the album, taking on a completely different atmosphere, taking into account some far-flung Funk influences in the upbeat riffage, and combining it with proggy atmospherics, and Titi's versatile pool of vocal styles. It also feels like the most technical of the 8 pieces, and sounds to me more effectively woven together than "Atmos". At least, I personally found the arrangement easier to follow. "Mind-pleasing" is the best phrase I can use to describe this track as a whole. The final and title track must also be touched on; at nearly 13 minutes long, it immediately stands out as their most ambitious endeavor here. I feel as if this is what "Atmos” should have been; given an extra 5 minutes to flesh out and find a wholesome sound. As expected, the track contains enough musical motifs, melodic and rhythmic patterns to base an entire album on. At least, that's what I thought until 7 and a half minutes in; from there on for over another 3 and a half minutes was dead quiet in the recording, which utterly confused me; following this was an upbeat and funky acoustic continuation of the track.

Clearly this band has a reservoir (please, for the life of me, excuse me) of musical ideas to draw from, and have shown that they are proficient, especially in terms of instrumental technicality, in converting these ideas to a sonic medium. What somewhat hindered the experience for me, was a complete personal lack of understanding as per some of the things I heard. Perhaps this music is simply above me, but no doubt there are others, within and outside the realm of Prog Metal, that will enjoy them.

3 Star Rating

1. Water Over Stone
2. Contamination
3. Atmos (Masto) Stoma
4. Night Wanders By
5. Coda
6. El Dolor
7. The Opera House
8. The Reservoir
Titi Musick – Vocals
Ben Grossberg – Guitar
Jeff McCall – Guitar
Justin Jones – Keyboards
Mike Louis – Bass
JT Wieme – Drums
Record Label: Independent


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