Prog metal has been taken to such mind-boggling extremes in recent times that it takes a particularly audacious upping of the ante to stand out from the super-technical crowd. A few seconds into Atrament, the third album from Seattle virtuosos A Sense Of Gravity, you may begin to feel like your mind is being whisked into a disorientated froth; this is metal at its most fervently demented and the band are happy to take that accolade.
“Yeah, what we do is pretty insane at times,” smiles vocalist C.J. Jenkins. “When I first hear the songs there’s usually at least a couple of sections where I’m like, ‘Fuck… what time signature is that?’ Ha ha! But usually my reaction to any music the guys write is boyish giddiness and delight. As off-the- wall as our influences are, we all like all of them, so we can always go the whole hog.”
Atrament is not quite a traditional prog concept album, but as C.J. explains, it does provide plenty of narrative substance to accompany the frenzied, genre-shredding intricacy of the songs themselves.
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“The song I, Recreant is a really dark look at a kid who witnesses a terrible tragedy and instead of dealing with it in a healthy way, it leads him to self-blame and suicide,” he says. “That’s a theme that runs through the whole album, in a sense. But don’t worry, the record ends a bit happier than you might think!”
Although a thrillingly extreme metal band at heart, A Sense Of Gravity’s complex and exuberant approach to messing with people’s minds is already making them one of the most talked-about bands in the global online tech-metal realm. It wasn’t that long ago that ‘prog’ was a dirty word, but times have changed and tastes seem to be becoming more fluid and eclectic. In a world gone mad, music this deranged makes the most sense of all.
“Our fanbase right now is pretty evenly spread around the world,” says guitarist Brendon Williams. “We have some great and passionate fans, but we don’t have a ton of them in any one area! One thing I love is that we get people at shows who don’t usually listen to anything like this, and they say ‘What the hell was that? I enjoyed it but I’ve never seen anything like it!’
Atrament is out now via iTunes and Bandcamp