Artist: The Room Colored Charlatan
Album: The Veil That Conceals
The human mind is a marvelous thing—especially when one considers the imagination. For many among us, the imagination is active constantly—functioning to add zest and flair to the monotony of everyday life, perhaps, or writing songs to share with others. Where our imaginations are most active, however, is where they are compelled to compensate for mysteries our other senses cannot solve. Imagine a shroud, enveloping something entirely—just opaque enough to obscure the shape of whatever it is hiding.
And then you are asked: what is behind the veil?
The answer lies within the latest studio album by Indianapolis-based progressive metal act The Room Colored Charlatan, titled (aptly, one might add) The Veil That Conceals. Equal parts atmosphere and intensity, The Room Colored Charlatan return with a slightly revised dynamic compared to their previous album, Primitives. Evolved, indeed, from their last effort, The Room Colored Charlatan up the atmospheric ante, adding more room to everything they do, increasing the intensity in their aggressive metallic sections by contrast. An enigmatic but entrancing experience, The Room Colored Charlatan’s The Veil That Conceals is an introspective look into the mind of progressive metals forward-most thinkers.
The Room Colored Charlatan describe themselves as an amalgam of progressive, ambient and technical metals—a bold claim, but one they live up to down to the letter. The Veil That Conceals expertly oscillates between hypnotic harmonies and full-bore, brutalizing displays of technical metal without losing the listener along the way. Percussionist Cameron Witt facilitates the band’s fluidity with full, booming drumming. Take the transition from the subtle “An Awareness” to “Perception I: An Awareness,” where Witt flips he switch and shreds the listener to chunks with lacerating blast beats and speedy fills when he had previously been absent almost entirely. Witt is the tasteful and tactical backbone The Room Colored Charlatan need to ebb and flow from energetic assaults to ethereal calm—especially when aided by bassist Michael Miller. Miller shadows Witt’s kick drum carefully, rarely leaving Witt on his own; “A Polarity” is a great example. Miller’s bass adds depth to The Room Colored Charlatan’s low end, brightening Robert Allen and Justin Seymour’s stellar fretwork by contrast. While Witt is a stand-out drummer, and Miller is no stranger to low-slung grooves, the real power behind The Room Colored Charlatan’s dynamic is from Allen and Seymour’s sensational fretwork. There isn’t truly one song on The Veil That Conceals that does the duo justice—rather, how the album comes together as a composition is an astounding testament to their writing and playing ability—with entrancing moments in “An Awareness,” “Introspection” and “Perception III” colliding with the crushing fervor and zeal of “Perception I,” “Exist in Abstraction” and “A Polarity,” Allen and Seymour shred, pluck and groove their way into progressive metal’s upper echelon without a hiccup.
Just as The Room Colored Charlatan paint a varied instrumental soundscape, their vocal element is also sprawling and incredibly adaptable. Frontman Jared Bush dominates a majority of the release with a gritty, earthy mid-range roar that very frequently dives into a muddy, thick bellow. What’s more is that Bush is often accompanied by clear, cleanly sung feminine vocals that play to the more ethereal moments of even the album’s heavier songs. The second or third installment in the “Perception” series are excellent examples both, with Bush’s bellows transitioning into clean singing that seems to hover in the song’s atmosphere like droplets of mist. Other songs—the more intense “A Polarity”—see Bush bearing down on the listener with several rows of razor sharp teeth exposed—frantic, frenzied yells cut and carve with the grooves from Seymour and Allen, tearing into the listener’s sanity. While Bush may not have much of an upper-end to his range, the crooned singing adds a higher vocal register to the album such that listeners will not be left in want.
The Room Colored Charlatan’s latest album—much like their previous effort—is one that is meant to be heard in full. While some stand-alone songs like “A Polarity” and “Exist in Abstraction” are good as one-off tracks, The Veil That Conceals is a flowing, floral expletive vivid with natural energy and incredible instrumentation, meant to be heard as a comprehensive venture. Using both soaring shred and jagged grooves to direct the album from ethereal to eviscerating energy, The Room Colored Charlatan expand on their songwriting more than anything else on their latest record. Primitives was excellent proof that the band are talented, but The Veil That Conceals is proof that the band can put skill to good use—using every tool in progressive metal and metalcore’s tool shed to create something riveting for fans of all sorts of heavy music. Some moments—“Introspection” comes to mind—may seem a little longer than they need to be when it comes to bathing the listener in calm and soothing stillness, but when the second act of the album commences, they will understand and cherish the rest they got. Fun and fantastically written, The Veil That Conceals is an album that any fan of heavy music should be excited to uncover.
For Fans Of: Between the Buried and Me, Kardashev, The Contortionist, Painted In Exile
By: Connor Welsh