Protosequence is a five-piece band from Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. They play progressive deathcore with strong djent influences. Their style is essentially modern metal. Biophagous is their second overall release, a four-song EP lasting 18 minutes total.
More aggressive than their 2016 Schizophrene EP, Biophagous shows almost as many blast beats as experimental moments and a conscious effort to avoid modern metal clichés. Whether these efforts paid off is a question that demands some consideration.
Biophagous starts with “Parasitic,” a song whose intro might make some mistake Protosequence for a tech-death band. Indeed, the opening riff’s blistering guitar work zips the song ahead with pomp and aggression. It does not take long for the stops and starts to indicate the ‘core’ aspects of their sound. It does not end there. “Parasitic” has a jarring break near the end with a piano, of all things, before segueing into something akin to a breakdown replete with guitar melodies.
Protosequence chose to start “DFL” with a groove rather than a blast beat, but the latter kicks in before long. Again, they presage the melodic breakdown with a soft part, this time using clean guitars. They alternate between the speedy and the crunchy parts before re-introducing the melodic breakdown, something the band might have aimed to make their signature style.
So far, Protosequence’s penchant for blast beats, grooves, clean breaks, and melodic breakdowns have been noted, with the blast beats and the grooves starting the first two songs respectively. It is almost predictable, then, that “Shepherd” starts with a clean passage. The song continues to alternate between the other elements, with acoustic guitar passages alternating with full-on blast beats in timed intervals. They then end the song with a groove.
And it is with a groove that final song “The Hate Subsides” begins – a shuffling groove to be precise. In this song, the lead guitars take over, soloing even during vocal parts in a manner that thankfully recalls ERRA rather than Rings Of Saturn. A variation on the opening groove appears at the song’s two-thirds mark and Protosequence use some guitar layering and interplay that might sound familiar to Periphery and Monuments fans.
Protosequence seem to have built their progressive deathcore sound around four elements that have been mentioned time and again here: blast beats, grooves, melodic breakdowns, and clean breaks. Styling those as musical Lego® pieces, the band appears to write by arranging them in different sequences. This makes the music on Biophagous appear predictable, but the scrutiny of an It Djents reviewer might be qualitatively different from the casual listener, so this does not rank as much of a criticism.
The progressive deathcore idiom is rare in general and Canada largely avoided the last decade’s “djent explosion.” A recent article at this site about music from Canada had almost no bands from the Prairie Provinces (it is almost a national cliché that this region is too often ignored in general). All this makes Protosequence a pleasant surprise for jaded ears in general. That the band has made an effort to diversify their sound and has an obvious commitment to writing makes Biophagous a pleasant, rare find.
Notable Tracks: “Parasitic”; “Shepherd”
FFO: Entheos, ERRA, Periphery, Monuments