Human Condition

The first time I heard this CD it left me cold- indeed, this is a strange bunch of animals. But the more I listen, the more I discover and the more it grows on me. Formed by gaggle of Berklee Music School grads, Event reinvents progressive metal by combining a dizzying array of influences, shellacked in a cold, metallic, mathematical, futuristic vibe. Juxtaposed against this mechanical music are startlingly personal lyrics expressing rage and doubt, plus the usual intellectual musings. As an extra bonus, lots (and I mean oodles) of wild electronic washes and sounds that defy description are entwined in the often arrhythmic melodies. But how about those songs, eh? "Blind" begins with a dirty, crusty bass sound that explodes into a chunky rhythm similar to vintage King's X while "The Director" is all over the place, combining a King Crimson sense of experimentation with a frenzied wall of noise that threatens to tear your speakers to shreds. The title track has some freaky background vocals and while the lyrics aren't horribly original, of all the songs on the album this one has the most solid and consistent groove with only three or four ear-bending about-faces. "Drug of Choice" mixes Fates Warning with Queensrych in a raw, funk groove that intentionally stumbles in the chorus like a shattered theorem. Switch to "New Chemicals" and you'll find Alice in Chains and Faith No More. Other tracks on the album dip their toes in Tool, Soundgarden, Nine Inch Nails, and Gluelag while musical styles blend in blues, jazz, fusion, industrial and some stuff which is downright disturbing and definitely outside the lines. True to progressive metal, each member of the band is an outstanding technical player. Of special note is guitarist Shaun Michaud whose style bridges the gap between Brian May and Primus. While the music is a bit too clinical for my tastes, it is fascinating nonetheless. Dream Theatre prog-rock this is not. In fact I can say with certainty that this is like nothing you've heard before - it's creative, edgy and innovative. Odd riffs combat lush melodies in a sea of molten plasma... a walk on the wild, weird side of progressive music. It's about time someone took us there.

This review first appeared in WhatzUp, August 2001.