Released: 2009, Ironclad Recordings
Reviewer: Lord of the Wasteland
Chaotic. Frenzied. Disjointed. Noisy. Unsettling.
These five words could sum up SPECTRUM, the debut from London, Ontario’s Starring Janet Leigh, quite nicely. With more than a passing resemblance to early Dillinger Escape Plan, Candiria and fellow Canadians, The End, Starring Janet Leigh bridge the gap between hardcore, metal and jazz by infusing odd time signatures and start/stop syncopated rhythms to jar listeners into a confusing (and to some—irritating) ride through the sensory pathways.
The sheer crushing weight of Starring Janet Leigh’s sound is awe-inspiring. Every instrument charges forward, slinging blow after blow to the listeners ears, in a chaotic parade of musical madness. Fellow Metal Blade residents, Psyopus, come to mind with tempos that lurch and squeal, challenging the listener to keep up to the music. “Mistress” is dizzying in its arrangement but behind the hyperactive music lies a fluid groove that punctuates the song. Inserting soothing, jazz-inspired breaks all over the place gives listeners a chance to catch their breath before the pummeling begins again. The eight-minute title track features two such breaks, strategically placed so that the monster finale seems even more devastating. Opening with a noticeable swing and a melodic groove that kicks in three-quarters of the way through bookends the otherwise annihilating fury of “Fingertips.” Matt Zadkovich and Chris Sokoloski display some flashy guitar runs, especially on “Decay,” burning up their fretboards with impressive technicality. Of course, there are plenty of barely audible interludes and sound bytes peppered throughout SPECTRUM, too, enlivening the music with an unsettling ambience much like Pig Destroyer does.
SPECTRUM is a real test of a listener’s will, as this type of music hones in on such a narrow niche of the metal community. Few will be ringing this up regularly on their iPod during the morning commute and many others will find Starring Janet Leigh little more than the latest band of noise-mongers clutching at the Dillinger/Psyopus market. But for those people out there who crave challenging, off-kilter music which defies classification and genre-barriers, SPECTRUM is just what they have been waiting for.
KILLER KUTS: “Mistress,” “Decay,” “Odium,” “Spectrum,” “Fingertips”