Well well well, I’ve been surprised once again! I was not prepared.
The band name is enough to put me off because it sounds like something I’m just not into. Luckily I put my biases aside to give it a whirl ..just to sate any curiosity.. and holy moly..THIS IS INTENSE!
Make Way For Man are not what I thought. Not at all. There’s technicality, brutality, melody and dynamics all over the place. Sounds range from the ambient breaks and melancholic piano to an outright onslaught on the senses.
Vocally this very impressive, not unlike many bands incorporating different singing styles to great effect..but what makes this standout out is the timing and placement of all that energy to convey feeling and impact. I had flashbacks of at least a dozen Rise/Equalvision/Victory bands from the late 2000’s whilst listening to the EP’s more melodic movements.
It’s impossible to ignore the sheer force that the guitars bring to this sound. There is almost always some noodling or chugging going on and the bands interplay between that technical precision and establishing the fundamental rhythm behind it is…well.. amazing. There’s the well defined djent and low-note staccato that gets you bouncing, the unison/syncopated palm mutes and frequent sweeps, runs and lead lines. This EP could honestly stand on its own as an instrumental release. It’s just that good.
‘MVP’ is a total anthem. The immediately uplifting motif is well executed and leads into a savage and busy verse/chorus/portal to madness. It’s hard sometimes to know which element of the band to focus on because there is just so much going on. Where this band shines is when they draw focus to a singular idea.. like a breakdown, a hook, solo or piano part. This song has it all.
‘Ideations’ follows and completely flips the script and gives the listener a Jekyll and Hyde experience. I literally thought my iTunes had skipped to another artist. Like Gravemind or Justice for the Damned..so of course I check..and nope..it’s still Make Way For Man. I am shook. Buckle up, shit gets nasty.
I have to mention the title track ‘Rites’ as another genre bending mind melting moment waiting for listeners. I won’t spoil why this is exceptional. I’ll just say that I did not see it coming and I did not mind.
The production values are pretty good here. The mix has a tough task balancing so many pieces competing for space and as much as I genuinely enjoyed the utterly first class showmanship and talent on display, I feel this band needs to hone it’s craft in songwriting. There’s too many moving parts to be able to appreciate the whole picture. The highlights (for me at least) come from when they’re doing less separately and more in unison. So insert something about ‘less is more’…’can vs should’…all those sayings.
Progressive bands in heavy genres have a balancing act to perform and I think these cats need a little more time to master it because the impression I’m left with after spending some time with the Rites EP is overwhelmed. Impressed yes, a little scared and extremely interested in what they might conjure up next. In all fairness.. Periphery had this issue too, Textures, Issues, Napoleon,..all blew the door down to begin with. I feel this is well and truly in that high caliber world stage level of quality.
RIYL: mentos and coke, all the bands I mentioned throughout the review.