Released: 2005, Independent
Reviewer: Gabriel C. Zolman
Comprised of mostly ten-to-eighteen-minute purely-instrumental “songs” that traverse everything from jazz-fusion to thrash, with “lyrics” (which are, obviously, printed but never spoken) based on astrology, if any of this sounds even remotely appealing to you…well, you can probably find this online. Let me know how that works out for you. Better yet…don’t.
This is jazz for metalheads, or metal for your aging hippie dad, who swapped his bong and Return To Forever records for a job at the office and your fat mother. Fans of Spiral Architect, classic prog, and the zanier side of metalcore will dig this, too. And the rest of you? Go listen to Vader or something; I believe their new CD is out now.
Track One, “Pisces,” is an excellent prog jam, with highlights around the 4:20 (go figure!) mark, as well as some nice metallic drive around 7:30, and a juicy thrash bit somewhere in the 8:15-30 range. By the 14:00 point, the song picks back up after a sizable lull, one that only professional musicians will likely appreciate. By the 18:00 closing riffs, the mushrooms have worn off and I’ve run out of things to stare and giggle at.
Most likely through the intervention of a merciful God, the next track, “Cancerian Moon,” is only three minutes long. This one starts off more like a traditional rock number, with some nice percussion, and unusually noticeable bass guitar work. Sadly, the “song” itself never seems to go anywhere, except to the beginning of track three, “Gemini.” “Gemini” begins strongly as well, and (gasp!) has an actual guitar lead—and a strong one, at that. It’s probably the most accessible track on the CD, with an “average” length of 8:37 (yeah…I know). There are some nice effects work about three and a half minutes in, by the way. This track also features some of the best dynamics on the disc. The slow builds and fades that begin around the five-minute mark are simply amazing. Let it not be said that these guys cannot play.
There is some Robert Fripp-styled exploration on “Caring Of Capricorn” (which is a fruity title, astrological reference or not). I’m actually almost reminded of a late-80’s British Beggar’s Banquet act called Rubicon (ex-FOTN), minus the vocals.
Quite frankly, if you fail to connect with any of the previous descriptions, this is simply not for you. There is really little use to describe it further: you either want this or you don’t.
Incidentally, shouldn’t the title be “Twelfth Cusp”? Seriously, as good as these guys must be with math, you’d think they’d catch that. Oh…and I’m not exactly floored by the B&W cover and shitty font usage, either. Bad font? Lose a point.
Ultimately, this is brilliantly played, and likely to be a treat to the pro musician set and the odd Weather Report fan…but to the average metal fan, this is a waste of good hallucinogens.