Much has been said (even by me) about progressive metal’s fascination with space, and even more music has been made with a focus on humanity’s interactions with the cosmos. Deconstructing Sequence, self-described as ‘extreme progressive art’, are a Polish act that have explored what seems to be a continuous concept regarding space and space travel since their debut release Year One in 2013. The latest installment in this saga is Cosmic Progression: An Agonizing Journey Through Oddities of Space, which will be released independently on January 15, 2018. So does it expand the final frontier? Or just explore the same space?
Space-themed metal has always had a penchant for the ambitious and the cybernetic, and Deconstructing Sequence are no different. The spoken word narratives, industrial elements, lyrical content and lengthy songs all evoke comparison the cosmic overlords Mechina, but Deconstructing Sequence’s musical approach is distinctly different. Opener “Lifeforce Awakens” marries dissonant guitars, death metal riffing, spoken samples and dance-synths for a unique, if somewhat cluttered, start to the sonic voyage of Cosmic Progression.
Follow-up “V4621 Sgr” brings the opener’s elements to new heights, implementing almost power metal levels of hooks alongside a soaring synth line and programmed industrial/grind blast beats. These jarring contrasts certainly pass the songs quickly. Thankfully, the chaotic arrangements are stopped from drifting off into the void by a refined sense of melody that has been quickly developed over Deconstructing Sequence’s short career.
“Run Starchild…You Are Free Now!” is the video game-esque finale to this fifty-five minute debut full-length. Starting with Gameboy-like synths, it picks up speed and reaches devastating levels while maintaining its joyous, triumphant spirit – it truly feels like a difficult voyage has been completed and that some kind of peace has been restored after facing death metal disorder and electronic evils. This sense of solace and completion is cemented by the soft guitar chord progression and ringing delay that end the album.
Cosmic Progression is just that – a piece that develops over time, starting out with chaotic arrangements and ending with some sense of achievement and peace. I have to admire the bravery and ambition with which this album is progressed; the full-blown, dance-worthy synths are forced alongside melodic death metal riffs and programmed drums with such confidence that it mostly works. However, the obfuscated sound, though unique, can be somewhat claustrophobic and muddy in many listening environments. Combined with an often muffled vocal performance and distractingly produced drums, the act’s dynamic arrangements are sometimes undermined by what can be fatiguing production.
I encourage you to try this album out if you are able to move past these aforementioned elements and the cheesy spoken word, or are willing to enjoy them all for their youthful exuberance. Cosmic Progression is a unique and enjoyably melodic foray into the avant-garde corners of progressive death metal. I would be curious to hear what further maturation will bring to the ambitious group’s developing sound.
Notable Tracks: “V2461 Sgr”; “Run Starchild… For Now You Are Free!”
FFO: Mechina, Children of Bodom