MODERN MAN — Modern Man (review)

MODERN MAN — Modern Man album cover Album · 2018 · Avant-garde Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
4/5 ·
siLLy puPPy
MODERN MAN which formed back in 2015 is an exclusively instrumental progressive metal project that takes the limiting factors of a vocalist and throws it all by the wayside. This band that is a technically a trio of Alfonso Portela (drums), Jeremy Clemmons (guitar) and Biaggio D'Anna (guitar) is from Sacramento, CA and is rounded out by bassist and friend Carson McWhirter who performed on their eponymously titled debut album that at long last hits the market in 2018. This album exudes extreme metal set in a heavily fortified technical setting with a bleak atmospheric presence.

This is a band that seemingly doesn’t take itself to seriously with hilarious track titles like “All Weenie, No Balls” and “Small Nuts, Big Sac,” and you might mistake this band for a bunch of self-deprecating comedians that takes pleasure in lambasting themselves and the world around however one quick listen to MODERN MAN’s musical style and it will become apparent that titles aside, this band is as serious as a ton of bricks falling onto a baby nursery run by devout nuns as the five jarring tracks emphasize first and foremost two major aspects: technicality taken to the nth degree and brutality as unrelenting as oral defecation emanating from politicians.

The technical prowess that bursts forth from MODERN MAN’s incessant romp through the progressive tech metal universe is primarily driven by drummer Alfonso Portela whose main experience was playing in funk and jazz acts before falling in love with the wonderful world of extreme metal. His technical chops pave the way for the vast array of experimental jamming that the two guitarists and bass are allowed to build from. The band describe their own sound as a form of psychedelic and experimental black grind however they could also be described as brutal prog metal with elements of black metal and the avant-garde.

Clemmons and D’Anna played together for several years in a band called Competing which was the standard groove and riff sort of metal band but it wasn’t until they met Portela in a coffee shop that they decided to jam together and follow his more avant-garde lead. While not against the idea of a lead singer, the trio decided that vocalists are most often limited to a specific genre or style within which was a limiting factor that they chose to avoid. Portela being a stand-up comedian offered the proper casting of attitudinal approach through the title names but the music remains as seriously devastating as a heart attack.

This debut album finds the band cranking out five seriously technical jam oriented metal tracks that offer lots of progressive twists and turns and incessant time signature changes. The longest track “Wooly Man Myth” is just shy of the 15 minute mark. The overall approach is a dissonant cacophonous attack that only occasionally breaks into slower yet jittery passages. The disharmonious sound is quite jarring and perhaps engages in alternative lower register tunings. The band will be of interest to those who relish the most extreme instrumental bands that engage djent-styled riffing, unexpected deviations and lengthy jamming madness. The band have played with Behold…. The Arctopus with whom they share much of their artistic vision but personally i find them to have more in common with bands like Ex Eye.
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