Artist: The Ansible
Think of something timeless—a wrought iron entity that stands without fail before the testaments of time. An intimate product of iron, stone, blood, sweat and soil, woven together to withstand any and all adversity. Think of it as it exists now, but think of how it was made; think of its forgery, and the man—or woman, or both—who put themselves into it.
Think about what tools might have been used.
Think about what it really means to be timeless—think about Forever—if you can.
I chose this sort of stream of thought to start this review for reasons twofold; on one hand, while it is made of neither iron, steel, silver or gold, communication is perhaps the most timeless and imperative thread joining all mankind. Without it, we would have no means to grow (or to drive each other apart). The Anisble, as you might have guessed, is a fictional device capable of instantaneous and crystal-clear communication across any indefinite distance. Cool, huh? On the other hand, Forever and it’s subsequent contemplation are both daunting undertakings. Just as he Stay Sick Records debut by The Ansible, aptly titled Forever, is a daunting and immense record. Expertly blending progressive metal with metalcore and atmospheric post-rock, The Crucible come out of left field with a journey for the listener to embark on and get totally lost within.
The Ansible have grown immensely from their breakout effort, Draw Closer. Still a progressive metalcore band at heart, the group now find renewed emphasis on the progressive portion of their name, creating sprawling soundscapes for the listener to lose themselves in. Percussionist Darian Hatcher is. in part, to thank for this, as he blends bouncy, bold percussion together with subtle, smooth and heavily jazz-influenced segments effortlessly. “Transmutation Fade,” as well as the closing cut “Valley of Stars” are two excellent examples of Hatcher’s skill set, with dizzying fills filing one-by-one alongside smooth, serene segments alike. “Cruel World,” the balanced opening number is another excellent example of this, where Hatcher works excellently with bassist Nigel Summers. Summers’ bass work is, remarkably enough, bold and boisterous during much of Forever—which isn’t often the par for any bassist in a -core band. Songs like “Transmutation Fade” and “Invade the Room” see his bass booming, roaring alongside guitarist and songwriter Greg Hinck’s immense fretwork. Hinck’s work is, if you had to pick, the main draw to The Ansible’s take on progressive metalcore. Each and every song sees Hinck outdoing himself, drawing influence from the likes of Northlane and Volumes just as easily and readily as he does from Deftones, Monuments, TesseracT and more. Hinck’s stunning leads borrow glimmers of post-rock’s ethereality and glamor, while his gritty grooves hit hard enough to keep the listener’s head moving. While many elements of Forever could feel boring and already-done, many of them are minimized by Hinck’s expert fretwork.
Then, there comes the consideration of frontman Derril King. Relying less on his abrasive and awe-inspiring bellows and screams and more on his ability to be fluid and dynamic, King’s work on Forever is positively his best yet. Songs like “Invade the Room” and the epic climax to “Valley of the Stars” see him packing energy and emotion both into every syllable, whether it be chanted, sung, screamed or shouted. Likewise, “Plus Ultra” and “Memoires De L’academie Royale” see his energy still present, but more metered, working hand in hand with soft crooning to match the expert songwriting that defines each track. While King’s vocals might feel eerily similar to those of Monuments, or other prog-heavy progressive metalcore acts, there’s a hint of unruly, primal aggression buried beneath each syllable and sentence that keeps the listener hooked, poised on the edge of their seat and waiting for the next word.
All things considered, The Ansible do a lot of things right with Forever and not much wrong. The record is excellently written, conceptually captivating and flows beautifully. Now, those who aren’t a favor of progressive metalcore with a capital PROGRESSIVE might not be as into Forever as they might have been Draw Closer. Where the latter had ambience, Forever has unrelenting atmosphere that can be overbearing to the uninitiated. Furthermore, Forever is a lengthy record, even at under 40 minutes, it feels a lot more full and dense, which, again, can give the release a touch of a learning curve. Where The Ansible might have gone a little overboard on the “prog” to some, however, there is no doubting how mesmerizing the record is, and how brilliantly this quartet pull off the energy and attitude they set out to capture—making Forever a record perched on the edge of timelessness.
For Fans Of: Erra, Monuments, TesseracT
By: Connor Welsh