Hailing from Clermont, FL, 5-piece Prog Metalcore outfit The Advaita Concept release their 2nd record “The Ratio EP”. The Advaita Concept comprises of Steve McCorry - Lead Vocals, Karlton Tillman- Guitar/ Vocals, Alec Larson- Guitar/Production, Derik Corl- Bass, Spencer Franke-Drums.
“The Ratio” starts with the familiar number “Ontology”. “Ontology” employs clean guitar segments, Hardcore riffing, clean sung verses a la Periphery, and interspersed with mid to high range screams and gutturals. The basic song writing pattern repeats itself every now and then. However, I would be remiss to say that this leads to monotony, because the record is anything but repetitive. 2nd track “The Spaces between Spaces” sees vocalist Steve McCorry do a Spencer Sotelo, with alternating growls and cleans. The riffs get catchier by the second. A flurry of activity circulates “Constellations”. With a killer verse breakdown and catchy chorus to boot, the 3rd track makes way for more brutality as it progresses. ‘onstellations” fades away abruptly to make way for the 4th track “Ananda”. “Ananda” came as a surprise and is a personal favourite. Not sure what policies the band follow with the nomenclature for their compositions, but the relevance to the Hindu dialect make it a tad bit intimate (“Ananda” translates to “Happiness” in the Hindu scripture), and not without good reason. The cheerfully clean reverberating guitar tones and keyboard notes synch beautifully with McCorry’s hauntingly mesmerizing vocals. Faintly reminiscent of Alternative legends INXS, this is The Advaita Concept at their ballad-ish best. Stand-out track “The Awesome Song” boasts of one of the most memorable clean segments on the album, which lends a laidback vibe at the beginning and the end, rounding off the frenzied action the 5-piece evoke. Karlton Tillman packs the most ammunition, with a solo reminiscent of the Slipknot number “Psychosocial”, and Derik Corl to back him up with the rumbling from down under. Clearly the band has no issues leaving hidden cookies throughout the album- AWESOME SONG IS AWESOME. Period. One would beg the question why an abrasive harsh number like “Something Massive” is lined up right after the soothing end to “The Awesome Song”. Rest assured, the track holds a charm of its own complete with the sudden shift in dynamics from down-tuned chugging riffs to dissonant spacey segments, in the veins of Germany’s Caliban. A chameleon of sort “A World Away” begins as a another gentle number only to lead onto neck-breck Hardcore groove. Obviously this is where Spencer Franke’s contributions shine the most. It really catches your attention when a band introduces the element of humour into their music, especially in a genre like Metal where it is generally a humdrum affair. Ergo, when Steve McCorry spills the vitriol in his lyrics with “PEEP MY BALLS”, AROUND THE 2:23 mark on “Testicular Tetris”, you know this is the track you want to fast forward to, before playing the others. “Ontology Pt. 2: Searching” closes the album at a clock time of 40 minutes approximately. While the track is as good as the others, it does not sound as grand as it should have. It also suffers from tiny production glitches which render the guitar segments a bit too treblish and unclear to the ears. While the record did not have a exactly lily-white clean sheet when it came to production despite Ken Susi's best efforts, the minor glitch in the final track leaves a bad aftertaste. Nevertheless, a good effort should not be bereft of applause.
The brilliance of the record lies in the fact that The Advaita Concept do not try to step out of their comfort zone to impress the listeners with something fancy; they pack standard, bone-crushing, Metalcore, chockfull of groove with Progressive touches and atmospheric vibes to top it off. The simplistic approach makes the record very much accessible to listeners, old and new alike, such that you get the gist of it at the first spin. The production adds much value to the record- The instruments sound crisp, the lyrics audible, the atmospherics taking it a notch higher altogether. Ken Susi’s (Unearth) force is strong with this one! The band maybe heavily influenced by some of the frontrunners in the genre, but at the end of the day they strike one home with catchy, original, straightforward compositions. However, the trouble with such a record is that no matter how good it sounds on the first listen, over successive listening sessions a generic feel creeps in, given how much it stresses on the Hardcore side of it, chugs, breakdowns et al. But for the record, it would be wrong to point fingers to the Artist or the Music, for this inference. It is more of a nuance of acquired taste, than anything else. Another noteworthy fact would be the “E.P.” suffix to the album title, when the 10-track playlist clearly begs to differ. This comes as a boon, more than anything else, since “More tracks the merrier” is what most of the fans would welcome, given how the band has build up a solid repertoire. The Advaita Concept seem to be a happy band of musicians bent on churning out groove-laden Metalcore, and they do it good.
“The Ratio EP” does not really challenge the norms, but it makes for a good listen, if some pure solid Metalcore with a knack for spacey good vibes is what you are looking for.
Stand-out tracks: Ontology, Ananda, The Awesome Song, and Testicular Tetris.
For fans of: ERRA; I, the Breather, Mycelia.
Pros: Good spacey vibes; Mosh-worthy moments.
Cons: Feels somewhat generic after the first few spins.