REVIEW: The Ansible – Draw Closer [2016]

The Ansible

Artist: The Ansible

Album: Draw Closer

 

These days, there are no excuses for not keeping up with friends and family—even as our lives, dreams and day jobs may take us to opposite corners of the world. Through enormous advancements in modern technology, there are more ways for easy communication than ever before—and while they may not be truly instantaneous—as delay and signal deterioration do still occur—they are certainly getting there. Likewise, Texan progressive metalcore outfit, The Ansible (whose name refers to a device that enables instantaneous communication) find themselves drawing closer to the true pinnacle of contemporary progressive music. Where Binary Dreams saw the quintet developing a sound of their own, it was raw and unrefined. Draw Closer, however, sees The Ansible putting their latest album’s name into practice; as the quintet establish a stronger dynamic and grow infinitely more experimental and courageous with their songwriting to take their own unique sound and strengthen it. While still not quite in its perfect form, Draw Closer is The Ansible’s sound as if you’ve never heard it before, equally aggressive and awe-inspiringly beautiful.

The Ansible draw from a sprawling array of influences—from breakdowns straight out of a deathcore playbook to moments of progressive metal-meets-post-rock placidity—to create a varied and engaging experience without coming across as long winded or dull. The band’s softer moments are entrancing—as percussionist Darian Hatcher and bassist Nigel Summers play off each other in a blissfully jazzy manner, as guitarists Chris Crow and Greg Hinck channel equal parts Monuments-styled riffing and Explosions in the Sky-like subtlety. “She Sings” and “Incursion II: Transition” display this brilliantly, showcasing the band’s ability to play soft, soothing—yet tricky and jazzy—melodies to play to The Ansible’s more progressive side. Here, frontman Derril King songs with a soaring, almost-crooned clean voice that drops into quiet, almost-whispered notes for enhanced ethereal effect. “She Sings” sees King showcasing the extent of his stellar clean singing, hitting a cavalcade of notes and styles to keep even fans of The Ansible’s heavy side intrigued.

Speaking of the quintet’s heavy side, Draw Closer features more that it’s fair share of grooves and crushing breakdowns. Take, for example, the uproarious lead single, “Incursion III: Draw Closer,” or the second song, “Type Moon.” These songs see Hatcher abandoning subtlety, attacking the listener with flashy, fancy fills and fleet footwork while Summers rumbles alongside him, amplifying every thwack of the kick drum. “Type Moon” especially highlights Crow and Hinck’s fretwork—cutting deep grooves into the listener’s flesh, all while continuing to incorporate furiously-fretted riffs and solos. “Raze-Lighter” is another excellent example of the band’s heavier side, featuring Invent, Animate’s Ben English, who joins King’s already excellent vocal effort to scrape away the listener’s inner ear as if it was swabbed with sandpaper. While English’s feature is a breath of fresh air, King’s vocal work on its own is more than enough to fill Draw Closer with variety and energy—even if listeners could benefit from more of his grisly lows that steal the limelight on “New Age Strats.”

While The Ansible do both parts of the dynamic equation that is progressive metalcore with expertise and energy both, listeners often find themselves impatient for the next sequence of hard-hitting riffs and brash breakdowns. Draw Closer’s more aggressive and intense aspects are where the band truly shine—with some of the calmer moments (especially those on “Incursion I: Divity,” an otherwise oppressive track) seeming out of place and restrictive on the band’s natural energy. “She Sings” and “In Bloom” both see the band’s softer side in its best light—and several of the jazzy, serene interludes on Draw Closer do indeed fit well—but some of them seem like they’re there without discernible reason, interrupting incredible grooves and powerful climaxes without reason. With that in mind, a The Ansible’s journey towards progressive perfection is slowed, but not thrown off track—as Draw Closer is a big leap for a band with even more potential left to be tapped.

 

8/10

For Fans Of: Veil of Maya, The Contortionist, Northlane, Invent, Animate

By: Connor Welsh