The Insektlife Cycle - Vivid Dreams Parade album review

Psych rock thrillas from Manila

The Insektlife Cycle - Vivid Dreams Parade album artwork

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An insect’s life is not a happy one, especially for the male praying mantis, which cannot copulate while its head is attached to its body.

Talking about wankery, allow us to introduce you to The Insektlife Cycle, a Filipino outfit with self‑pleasuring musical chops aplenty. They have their roots in the Manila underground metal scene and this all-instrumental venture overlays intricate math rock with subtle shoegaze tones. The band’s mission is to “elevate all those within earshot to a state of sonic euphoria”. But at first, they try too hard. Tracks such as Unicycle Monologue and Schizodelia might be musically impressive (special mention for bass ace Joy Legason and his slinky Geddy Lee style), but they’re more convoluted than a brace of X-Files and Lost box sets. However, just as your brain turns to cottage cheese, the band step off the gas and start to make sense. Tristful Empathy is as cohesive as it is anthemic and in a parallel universe would be the foot-tapping theme tune to a 70s TV detective series. That’s followed by standouts Sleep Crawler – imagine a hazy Californian surf party hosted by Hank Marvin – and Sun Gaze, which brilliantly evokes visions of swaying meadows and dreamily wistful summer days.

Geoff Barton

Geoff Barton is a British journalist who founded the heavy metal magazine Kerrang! and was an editor of Sounds music magazine. He specialised in covering rock music and helped popularise the new wave of British heavy metal (NWOBHM) after using the term for the first time (after editor Alan Lewis coined it) in the May 1979 issue of Sounds.