Heikousen - Parallels
Translation Loss Records
10 songs (26:39)
Release year: 2012
Official Facebook, Translation Loss Records
Reviewed by Khelek
Surprise of the month

Heikousen are a young and relatively unknown band that combine various 'core and sludge influences to create their cacophonous and very diverse sound. Even though the playing time comes in at under half and hour, there's a lot to take in on this album that plays with a lot of different emotion, and above all a lot of technical skill. Heikousen obviously want to create something interesting and unique, and fortunately their ideas often work well.

One thing that is very apparent on first listen is that these guys are excellent musicians. The complex guitar work on opener Like Whiskey At 11am and Shit Is The Business We're In is a fun listen, but I really love the technical ability demonstrated on Savant Of Scum. The guitars of Josh Mahesh are simply excellent, as is the lightning quick bass and drum pummeling delivered by Steve Dever and Dan Dalton. Definitely a stand out track. Dave Grossman's mostly screamed and yelled vocals are not the most interesting, but they get the job done and he keeps up with the fast pace of the music nicely. I really like the atmospheric acoustic guitar work on the instrumental Simulated Encounters With God. It sounds like a cross between Satriani and Agalloch. However that being said, it doesn't really seem to belong on this album. The darker and weirder instrumental Untitled 2 fits much better with its strange sound effects and directionless guitar riffs. On Accidental Purpose sounds inspired by the likes of The Mars Volta with its quick yet melodic guitars and the high-pitched clean vocals. I do think there is a risk here that the band will confuse the listener by throwing all of these different sounds together. That's not to say that this isn't a good song, because it is quite good, and they do bring in the growled/screamed vocals and slower heavy riffs to tie it back to the first half of the album. The guitars are also face-melting once again. Closing track The Gravel In Our Guts begins with a slower tempo and more melodic guitars than the rest of the album, sounding like an attempt to replicate the style of bands like Isis and The Ocean. The tempo picks up dramatically after the instrumental intro however, as well as the vocals which work well. The melody is still there, only faster, and really sounds good. The guitar solos are excellent once again, but I do think they go a little overboard towards the end.

Heikousen seem hellbent on creating something that is in line with their own artistic and musical preferences, yet at the same time not following too closely in the footsteps of others. These are two admirable traits that, combined with their obvious technical ability, can really make for some great music. Parallels is certainly very diverse, and while it can be slightly confusing and overly complex at times, it never strays so far that it caused me to lose interest. It's definitely an interesting album that is worth your time if you're fan of the 'core genres or the more experimental/progressive side of sludge, or if you just want to hear something "different" done right.

Killing Songs :
Tax Fraud, Savant of Scum, On Accidental Purpose, The Gravel In Our Guts
Khelek quoted 80 / 100
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