Reviewed: August 2022
Released: 2022, Silent Pendulum Records
Reviewer: Kira Levine
Between The Light And Air is the sophomore album from prog/deathcore outfit Cyborg Octopus. Founded in San Francisco, California, this will be their first release since signing to Silent Pendulum Records. Written by the band and David Wu, Between The Light And Air was produced, mixed and mastered at Fang Studios in San Mateo, CA.
“Old Stories” wastes no time kicking Between The Light And Air off with a futuristic vibe, the keyboard combined the guitar solo reminiscent of power metal. There are also some jazz elements that reprise riffs heard before it, creating a truly unique front-runner.
Next is “Spectres” which retains the saxophone and introduces melodic singing to the album, contrasting the raw emotion heard earlier with controlled, smooth verses. Overall, the song has a Western-movie vibe thanks to the galloping heard in the introduction and occasional acoustic guitar, the latter juxtaposing positively with the harsh vocals. Djent-like number “The Projector” boasts a blend of clean and screamed vocals, exploring one’s lack of accountability for their actions. The beat is quite uplifting compared to the subject matter explored, a common trait in Cyborg Octopus’ music.
At the halfway point of the album is the single “Seizure of Character”. After a beautiful piano intro, the keys re-emerge intermittently throughout the fourth instalment alongside both the deathcore and softer moments. “Hindsight” has a strong hypnotic electronic leaning, while still incorporating the metal elements heard on the other songs. However the vocals here are a little lacklustre compared to those before and after it.
“Trash Island” fuses surf rock with the band’s typical progressive metal tendencies, channelling groups such as The Beach Boys. Funny lyrics about recycling and rubbish – as well as phrases like of ‘say what?!’ – help bring a comedic side to the penultimate song. The guitar often resembles The Surfaris’ 60s hit “Wipe Out”, giving listeners a taste of Cyborg Octopus’ Bay Area origins.
Title track “Between the Light and Air” clocks in at just under three minutes, employing gang shouts and forgoing melodic singing. Succeeding “Trash Island,” the closer pales in comparison and does not feel as epic as track six or most of the chapters before. The finale’s saving grace is the guitar performance that paint a more intriguing picture than the words heard.
An eccentric and excitingly unusual second album from the Bay Area metallers who have evolved into a new creature since their first full-length. Not to be missed by progressive metal fans.