Scoredatura’s Tense manages to stand out in a sea of emerging instrumental prog-metal bands, offering a new twist on a formula which have already led other instrumental bands like Animals As Leaders to expand our conceptions of metal and jazz. Blending jazzy guitar solos with chunky Vola-esque grooves, Scoredatura create an impressive wall of sound that they seamlessly fold in on itself. Great staccato time signatures help transition the songs from screaming solos to the thump of their growling guitars.
The band themselves hail from Sydney and have been heralded by The Helix Nebula as one to watch. Tense doesn’t let that statement down, with the title track sending you on a whirlwind adventure. “Tense” is one of my favorite songs on the album, with the polyrhythmic bass groove dropping in and out, giving a spacey but crushing feel to the song as it kicks back in repeatedly.
The production on the album is fantastic, with all the tones individuated in the mix. It’s easy to discern guitars from the bass, and the drums in the background add serious weight, whilst not stealing the show. Fans of The Omega Virus will really enjoy this album, as the deafening noise created by the band is very like that of Omega’s on The Weeping Earth. However, Scoredatura can tone it down a little bit as well, with the track ‘Bear Attack’ more of a slow ballad in comparison to the others, giving this album more than one flavor to offer.
My other favorite from the album is the two part track “Hard Landing”. With more of a Long Distance Calling feel to it (think slow, winding guitar solos and powerful drumming), the band showcases just how varied and interesting their sound is.
A really great part about the album is the length of the tracks. Some instrumental artists spank out 3 minutes of intense wankery which are over before you’ve started to enjoy the tune, but not Scoredatura. Their songs are always long, progressive, and interesting tracks that really stand out to the listener, whilst developing throughout the course of the song. The band love looping back around to bring in the subtle grooves that featured in the beginning of tracks while cranking up the volume to bring their wall of sound crashing down on you.
Scoredatura‘s Tense fills out a great year for progressive instrumental metal and it’ll be great to see where they go next. Hopefully a worldwide tour with The Helix Nebula will be in the cards, but it’s far too early to tell. Overall, I gave this album a high score because it continues to develop and intrigue the listener, with a very unique take on Djazz / Jazz Metal. The songs are written well and the production is top quality, and it’ll definitely go down in my books as one of the best instrumental albums of the last few years.
Notable Tracks: “Tense”; “Hard Landing”
FFO: The Omega Virus, Long Distance Calling, The Helix Nebula, Vola.