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 Super Massive Black Holes - Calculations Of The Ancients (2014) Album Review

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PostSuper Massive Black Holes - Calculations Of The Ancients (2014) Album Review

Super Massive Black Holes - Calculations Of The Ancients (2014)
Minotauro Records/Clawhammer PR -- Running Time: 34:42


Listening to Super Massive Black Holes' debut album 'Calculations Of The Ancients' for the first time was a real shock to the system. My previous review album was the safe, secure and pretty bland latest from Lacuna Coil and this really couldn't be any more different. If you want wacky, schizophrenic 'Melodic Death Folk Jazz-Fusion Blues Prog Thrash Math Metal' (how's that for a new genre tag?) then Super Massive Black Holes deliver in spades with a dollop of weirdness to top it all off!

"Where do this band come from?" I hear you cry! Well, if I said to you, think of Voivod, Rush and Devin Townsend and you thought of anywhere other than Canada then shame on you! I don't know if there is something in the water over there or indeed they can get hold of hallucinogenic drugs easily but only Canada seems to deliver bands quite this unusual. Of course this is not going to be for everyone, especially if you're a Canadian who loves Nickelback, but this is far more interesting than anything Chad and co have offered musically even if it doesn't sell as many copies.

Much of 'Calculations Of The Ancients' is instrumental although there are vocals of some description on every song, mainly harsh. Again, that might cause some people to dislike what's going on here and you know full well I'm not the world's biggest screamed/harsh vocal fan but, in contrast to some of the music, especially when said music veers off into some ridiculous time signature that's never been thought of before, it's very thought provoking and it works. Mixing styles this diverse, so suddenly, could sound like a massive car crash but Super Massive Black Holes never stray into pretentiousness! It might sound like they haven't got a script, but I wouldn't like to try and play any of this without one. They make Mastodon sound like Kiss!

Kicking off with '(Sub-Molecular) Transmogrification Of The Oriphy' (yes, even the song titles require a degree in Quantum Physics to understand) leaves you speechless. It's just so much to take in, but if you are willing to persevere then everything, sort of, starts to make sense although actually attempting to explain it is impossible! Stand out song on the album is 'Ghosts Of Bhopal' which just seems to sit more comfortably in my head, but every song has something about it to recommend!

Many people bemoan that much progressive music isn't actually progressive and that it just repeats itself and then ironically when a band comes along that is truly trying something different they'll say "nah, don't like that, it's not like (insert band name)! Well, like it or not, you really have to admire what Super Massive Black Holes have done here because I really cannot name another band that they sound like. 'Calculations Of The Ancients' also doesn't outstay it's welcome. At just 35 minutes it's enough to send you into meltdown without becoming too much and because of that I end up pressing the play button again to see what I can discover on the next listen!

Denver Bergreen, Jake Reimer, Tristan Peterson and Clay Steadman, take a bow. You've completely fried my brain and It's quite tasty!

Review written exclusively for Brutiful Entertainment by Rick Tilley

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