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February 2011
Released: 2010, Unsigned
Rating: 3.5/5
Reviewer: Erich

Lefthead are a foursome from Seattle that plays crunchy, instrumental progressive metal. Currently unsigned, the band has produced and recorded their latest full length album, QUALIA. The band cites Tool, Opeth, and Helmet as influences but does not really sound like any of them. Carving their own niche with an original sound and approach to progressive metal can only help, especially considering the album features no vocals. Without much material available from a biographical perspective, I will dive right into the music.

The opening track “Derecho” – Spanish for straight- is appropriately titled, featuring a rhythmic wall of guitar and crunch before a short middle section that pays homage to Seattle’s 90s grunge sound. The band proceeds to deliver 11 more tracks, all catchy and well executed particularly in the booming production. You will not find any of Dream Theater’s overplaying wankery, nor will you find endless time changes and new riffs every few bars. This is straight ahead power chord crunch, lots of open strings, and a pummeling bass groove. It is eminently listenable, at least for a few songs here and there.

You gotta admire the guts this band has to release an album with no vocals, essentially committing commercial suicide. That is where I had a few problems. If you are not going to include vocals, then you need a virtuoso somebody like Steve Vai or Satch to attract the attention of somebody, particularly a record label. Lefthead does not have any real standout “gimmick” to make up for the lack of vocals, just a solid bunch of instrumentals. Nevertheless, this album is perfect for sitting back to contemplate your life and enjoy unpretentious progressive metal delivered with a perfectly balanced production. There are plenty of weighty grooves to sink your teeth into on this one as well. Kudos to the band for choosing to be different and playing what they want to play. Hopefully some people will take notice. Surely, a must have for fans of driving progressive and instrumental metal.
Track Listing

1. Derecho

2. Lookout

3. Ineffable

4. This Time

5. Intrinsic

6. Ethnic

7. Private

8. Often In Masses

9. Guilded

10. Newton

11. Apprehensible

12. The Antlion


Guitar - Ryan
Guitar - Tom
Drums - Ian
Bass - Muktambar

Other reviews

» Qualia
by Erich

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