Pumpehuset, Copenhagen, DEN - 13/3
Path To Hocma
Written by: DR on 23/12/2010 06:55:49
Me and one of my best friends, who plays bass, have this back and forth: "it's only bass". (My friend isn't a Taking Back Sunday fan, so he has no idea I did in fact steal it from Fred Mascherino and Matt Rubano on Taking Back Sunday's "Louder Now" DVD). After a while, the younger, more-moronic me, started to believe this; "It's only bass, it's not like it's as important as a guitar or anything!" I'm still a moron, and although my views on the unimportance of bass have weakened considerably, I still maintain deep-down that the bass isn't really all THAT important, I mean, it's not like you can base an entire album around or anything, right?
Wrong. David Pisabarro, aka 413, has done just that with "Path To Hocma". "it's been recorded without any kind of amplifiers, with no guitars, and lacking the need of entering a studio... just with an electric bass and the willing and happiness of creating." Within seconds of the first song firing in, it's noticable that there are screamed vocals and drums as well, but still, that's incredibly ambitious of him!
If 65daysofstatic teamed up with a post-hardcore band that's more hardcore and with an avant-garde metal band whilst battling all sorts of inner demons, the result would be "Path To Hocma". It's fucking batshit crazy. This instantly makes it more interesting than 80% of the promos I've received all year because right from the first seconds of "The Town" I'm gripped. The first twenty seconds there are gutteral screams launched at you from every which way on top of furious musicianship, then introduced are semi-cleans, then an eerie "aaahhhhhhh", then we're back to the screams. And repeat for the duration of the song. You're left feeling tired after that one song, the objective of which seems to be play as fast as you can and as crazy as you can. It makes for a... gripping opener, to say the least. The problem with it though, is that while one can only stand up applaud the musicianship, the vocals are painful to hear. He's putting a lot into his screams, but the result is a monotonous and thin yell, and the cleans, though used sparingly, aren't tuneful or generally any better.
Straight after that song you're sent a curveball in the form of "The Desert of The Real", a country-influenced instrumental piece which sounds like something out of a cartoon. Following that, and continuing with that vibe, is "The Rising of The Real Man". At one point I swear there's a "booooing" sound like you hear in cartoons. That song does go on to become more serious after the plodding of drums through grating bass feedback that isn't very pleasant on the ear at loud volumes - especially when those screams come back into the equation.
Six and a half minute "The Brigit Mountains" is the best song here... for the first four minutes. The screams are relegated to the background, and the batshit-crazy instrumentals are balanced with a melodic side to work with the now uber-melodic cleans (in comparison to the other cleans). For some reason thereafer Mr. 413 made the decision to go crazy again. He settles down enough for a crescendo, when those uber-melodic cleans (in comparison to the other cleans) appear for a short while, only to go right back out again. "The White Mountains" is an entirely instrumental piece, and one that's quite beautifully composed, too, but it doesn't last long enough at slightly over two minutes. Towards the end of the album the vocals are pretty much dropped, so songs like "The Ophoist" and "The Hocma Point" are among the strongest on here because it's 413 doing what he does best, constructing wild and vivid instrumentals.
What to grade "Path To Hocma" though? It's brimming with ideas - always a good thing - and 413 really has a knack for the instrumental side of music, but the vocals often distract away from them, making those songs near-unlistenable. At it's very best, "Path To Hocma" is borderline spectacular, but it's not spectacular often enough.
Download: Free download!
For The Fans of: "If 65daysofstatic teamed up with a post-hardcore band that's more hardcore and with an avant-garde metal band, whilst battling all sorts of inner demons"
Release Date 29.10.2010