No Made Sense - The Epillanic Choragi
Basick Records
Progressive Metal, Post-Sludge
10 songs (1:14:01)
Release year: 2009
Basick Records
Reviewed by Goat
Album of the month

Consider me impressed, No Made Sense. Seriously damn impressed. I’ve owned this album for months now, and it’s an unwieldy beast to try and tame, waiting until you’ve relaxed your guard and then changing its attack completely. Summing the band’s sound up is hard to do snappily, but a mixture of Meshuggah and Neurosis as channelled through Tool nearly does it. The heavy technicality that drives debut full-length The Epillanic Choragi is headed straight for psychedelic space rather than the mechanical earthiness of Meshuggah or the tribal invocations of Neurosis – you could just as easily describe them as old Cult of Luna meets recent Killing Joke, or Sikth (No Made Sense’s self-titled EP of 2007 was produced by Dan Weller and Justin Hill from the sadly defunct tech-titans) in a punch-up with Swedish Prog crew Burst, such is the magical talent on show.

Quite how this three-piece have managed this is beyond me, the basic guitar/bass/drums set-up here doing more effective work than most bands with double the number of members. Half the tracks here are over nine minutes long, yet so embracing and intricate is the songwriting that you won’t get bored so much as hypnotised, stunned. Songs flow in and out of each other, so you really have to listen to the whole album at once, but it’s an awesome experience even at over seventy minutes long. The riffs, the melodies, the spacey spaces between; all are expertly constructed and a joy to listen to, and what really surprises is the sheer variety at play that becomes clearer the more time you give it.

Take the start of the album for an example, the three-minute intro Wake Of Syr reverberating as distant sounds echo, an eerily majestic soundscape dragging you through the airlock and out into space before first track proper The Epillanic Choragi kicks in, polyrhythmic grooves twisting and turning. It constantly shifts, switching quickly and frequently between psychedelic melancholy and epic, Mastodon-beating heaviness, using the backing electronics wonderfully yet sparingly, relegating them firmly in the background for the most part and allowing the guitar, bass and drums to do their intense job, each having their moment in the spotlight. Big, bold, and crushing, the song announces the band’s arrival in the Prog Metal sphere wonderfully, and sets a high standard that the rest of the album only builds upon. Entastes Of Azure follows without giving you room for a breather, upping the heaviness and intensity and grooving spectacularly before collapsing into the weirdness of interlude Seeking Beyond.

It’d take far too long to describe the whole album, but it just keeps getting better, from the Tool-covered Milachis Depth through Elico Moieties with its wonderfully intense Opethian moment partway through and total Dooming outro. Creating their own storyline to go along with the fantastic music, No Made Sense have perfectly mixed Metal and Prog to come up with an original, compelling sound of their own. It’s a simply fascinating album, keeping listeners on their toes but never being less than grippingly listenable. Where Burst knocked me for six with their stellar Lazarus Bird of last year, No Made Sense have done it this year with The Epillanic Choragi, and if you like any of the bands mentioned thus far or just want some Prog Metal that crushes you with heaviness as well as taking you to distant galaxies, then these guys should be top of your list. A truly great album, and a harbinger of even better to come, I hope.

Killing Songs :
The Epillanic Choragi, Milachis Depths, Elico Moieties, Epinolitholatyr
Goat quoted 91 / 100
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