The Pitch: One of the most original albums of the year. German trio The Hirsch Effect play an avant-garde amalgam of progressive, mathcore, death metal, and indie rock that will constantly keep you guessing. FFO: Torrential Downpour, Between the Buried and Me, The Mars Volta, Mew
What I Like: The songs are so different on this album that I toyed with doing a song-by-song review, but that starts to get tedious. Just know that the explosive openjing of "Lifnej" quickly evolves well beyond its initial boundaries. What I thought would be a ripping mathcore outing quickly defied my expectations around the time "Xenophotopia"'s flute interlude kicked in. And with "Natans" crossing into the similar territory as Mew's Frengers or And The Glass Handed Kites, I was truly thrown for a loop. Structurally, Eskapist is perhaps best understood within the context of groups like Sigh and Igorrr. The band members are clearly influenced by a number of disparate styles, and rather than choosing just one at the expense of the others concluded, "let's play ALL the things."
While for most such an undertaking would crumble to pieces, The Hirsch Effekt make it look easy. With compositional skills several steps even beyond the similarly eclectic Torrential Downpour, every style transition is utterly flawless in execution. It reminds me of the cleverly hidden editing in the movie Birdman. The result is like The Mars Volta with giant, brass balls and even more of a DGAF attitude. The German experimental counterpart to BTBAM. This band fears nothing and is open to any and all challenges. Death growls? No problem. Jazzy math rock? Got it. Strings? Piano? Horns? Child's play. Are you listening yet?
Critiques: There are some slower moments that drag on a bit longer than I would like (e.g. "Natans"). It all contributes to the larger picture, but it could stand to be a little more concise.
The Verdict: A bizarre romp through a constantly changing palette of sound. Eskapist is an album that must be experienced from start to finish; sampling a single track will only reveal a single piece of a 1000-piece puzzle. Certified required listening.
Flight's Fav's: Lifnej, Xenophotopia, Aldebaran
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