THEATER OF THE ABSURD

Progressive Metal • United States
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THEATER OF THE ABSURD is an American ( New York City, New York) extreme progressive metal act formed in 2006. The band consists of Michael Neumeister on Guitar, Bass, Keyboardsa and Vocals and Patrick Curley on Drums, Shakuhachi, Keyboards and Vocals.

The band released their self-titled debut full-length studio album in 2007. THEATER OF THE ABSURD are currently working on a second album.

( Biography written by UMUR)
Thanks to UMUR for the addition

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Myth Of SisyphusMyth Of Sisyphus
GRAVITON 2013
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THEATER OF THE ABSURD Theater of the Absurd album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Theater of the Absurd
Progressive Metal 2007
THEATER OF THE ABSURD The Myth Of Sisyphus album cover 3.68 | 3 ratings
The Myth Of Sisyphus
Progressive Metal 2013

THEATER OF THE ABSURD EPs & splits

THEATER OF THE ABSURD King of Twilight album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
King of Twilight
Progressive Metal 2018

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THEATER OF THE ABSURD Reviews

THEATER OF THE ABSURD The Myth Of Sisyphus

Album · 2013 · Progressive Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
Conor Fynes
'The Myth of Sisyphus' - Theater of the Absurd (7/10)

The Sisyphean myth from Greek antiquity has always passed me as something of a quiet tragedy; a man, assigned with carrying a boulder up a hill, is eternally doomed to repeat his task as the rock tumbles down again once he has finished. It’s not a far stretch to apply this principle of repeated disappointment and perpetual struggle to the human experience as a whole. In the artist’s case, their work can feel like a constant uphill struggle, only to feel the recurring pang of disappointment when their art doesn’t turn out the way they had aimed for.

Although I’m a relative newcomer to Theater of the Absurd, I do know that the New York-based prog metal act felt some of that same dissatisfaction with their first, self-titled album. “We wanted something more,” said the band’s guitarist, Mike Neumeister; “The record was immature…just primal. We knew right away that our creative impulses weren’t satisfied.” Although “The Myth of Sisyphus” might imply in its title that this disappointment is doomed to recur, Theater of the Absurd’s second record feels remarkably tight and fleshed out. As the album’s surreal artwork would imply, Theater of the Absurd take a more avant-garde and playful approach to progressive metal than you may be used to, although the vintage legends of progressive tradition hang steady in their sound. There are a couple of things that bug me surrounding the album’s structure and production, but lively musical ideas and an exceptional standard of musicianship makes the album a worthy find for any acolytes of the genre.

Although it’s very rare that I ever find myself writing about the album art itself, I have to bring up the album’s cover. Although I wasn’t too keen on the artwork for the debut album, “The Myth of Sisyphus” is adorned with a chaotic, colourful aquatic mess of a cover, one that continues to reveal more details the longer you look at it. I’m quickly reminded of Qui-Gon Jinn’s foreboding aphorism at the beginning of Star Wars Episode I: “There’s always a bigger fish...” In the case of this cover, there seems to be plenty of bigger fish in the sea, and they’re all clearly hungry as hell. I’ve never been much of an expert on visual art, but I know what I like, and I think Theater of the Absurd commissioned art perfectly suited to the music it represents. Anyways, carrying on.

For a genre that’s intended to represent the most forward-thinking musicians in metal, it’s disappointing that the progressive metal term carries with it so many preconceptions and stereotypes. Although I knew Theater of the Absurd played a more avant-leaning take on prog metal, it was still pleasantly refreshing to hear the band circumvent many of the generic prog metal trends in favour of something more playful and inventive. As opposed to demonstrating their skill through excess and overt technicality, Theater of the Absurd remain focused on composition, leaving plenty of room open for melody and thoughtful dynamic. Although galloping riffs and the sparing use of harsh growls ties the band indelibly to their metal labelling, they more often skirt the grey area bordering upon conventional hard rock intensity. Hard rock and classic prog icons such as Genesis, Rush and King Crimson feel like a greater influence on the band’s sound than Opeth or Dream Theater. True culting metalheads may thirst for something heavier, but Theater of the Absurdity make this mix of old and new their own, and that’s a greater feat to their name than any degree of relative intensity.

True to the band’s name, there’s a very theatrical element at play in Theater of the Absurd’s music. Dramatic piano chords and quasi-operatic vocals chime powerfully overtop their traditional metal elements, giving the music the impression of being a rock opera or stage musical. Even if there isn’t an overtly defined plot or story tying this album together, it would be pretty easy to see Theater of the Absurd’s dynamic sound transposed to the theatre stage. Most of all, Theater of the Absurd give this impression of live drama through the structure of their songs, which feel pretty unconventionally pieced together. Where even most progressive metal bands would tie their songs together through the effective use of repetition and central motifs, “The Myth of Sisyphus” flows as would an emotionally heated dialogue between characters. Although vocal melodies are important to Theater of the Absurd, there aren’t any recurring hooks that leap out, or even motifs that could be defined as the nexus of their respective track. Rather, as was the case in the also-recently released “SwineSong” by recent avant-garde metallers Omb, the songs flow organically, without paying too much heed to holistic structure. In the case of the band’s instrumental work, this comes off as a great success. The fluid structure means that listeners can look forward to being consistently engaged throughout the album. Unfortunately, the structure pays a great expense in terms of memorable songs and vocal melodies. Although I can recall many particularly excellent self-contained ideas throughout “The Myth of Sisyphus”, there aren’t any songs that stand out as being memorable from start to finish. Though the vocal melodies feel well-suited to the theatrical edge of the music, they don’t seem written with melodic hooks in mind. Like a rock opera, the ideas are meant to advance the emotional state at the given time, and while Theater of the Absurd have succeeded in this respect, parts of the musical experience are left feeling empty.

It’s a shame that the vocal melodies don’t stand out, because the vocals themselves surely do. Chandler Mogel has an incredible, quasi-operatic vocal delivery that could not fit the band’s sound more perfectly. With range and depth to spare, Mogel’s vocals are a consistent highlight of the band’s sound. The female voice of Kjersti Kveli and harsh vocals of drummer Patrick Curley add some welcome colour to the performance. Kjersti’s soft voice fits her role smoothly, and while the black metal-derivative snarls feel shoehorned into an otherwise hard rock-based sound, the harsher moments work well to bolster things on the darker side of the emotional spectrum. Instrumentally, Theater of the Absurd have plenty to be proud of here. The band’s core of Curley and Neumeister have talent aplenty to spare, and Tor Morten Kjosnes’ abundant pianowork is gorgeously arranged. Although the album is well-mixed and sounds professionally recorded, “The Myth of Sisyphus” suffers from a fairly dry production that undoubtedly robs the original performances of some of their emotional timbre and dynamic. Especially in the case of Curley’s drumwork, the performance itself sounds great and well-balanced, but the sound itself sounds restrained, as if whatever live ambiance that may have lingered in the original recording was sucked out to make the music sound clearer. Whatever the case, Theater of the Absurd’s production is functional and doesn’t impede the music, but is dull in of itself, and works against some otherwise incredible musicianship.

Theater of the Absurd will hopefully earn some well-deserved fans with this latest release. If the debut couldn’t be considered an artistically satisfying release, this one should make the band proud. Even if it feels like there is work yet to do before Theater of the Absurd reach unrestricted excellence, “The Myth of Sisyphus” is an impressive statement for progressive metal, particularly so for its wizardly instrumentation.

THEATER OF THE ABSURD The Myth Of Sisyphus

Album · 2013 · Progressive Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
UMUR
"The Myth Of Sisyphus" is the 2nd full-length studio album by US, New York based progressive metal act Theater of the Absurd. The album was released through Graviton Music Services in December 2013. The band´s self-titled debut album was released in 2007, but only limited to 500 vinyl copies and only very few of them were actually distributed, as Theater of the Absurd were dissatisfied with the album. Therefore the two members of the band (Patrick Curley (Drums, extreme Vocals) and Mike Neumeister (Guitars, Bass)), took their time to develop their songwriting and playing skills before feeling ready to record "The Myth Of Sisyphus". So "The Myth Of Sisyphus" has more or less been in the making for 6 years.

Theater of the Absurd have hooked up with legendary producer Jim Morris and have recorded "The Myth Of Sisyphus" at the equally legendary Morrisound Recording in Tampa, Florida. That has resulted in a professional, clear and well sounding production, which suits the music well. Besides the two main members of the band the lineup also features lead vocalist Chandler Mogel (Outloud), female vocalist Kjersti Kveli and pianist Tor Morten Kjosnes, who guests on various tracks.

The music on the album is an eclectic and quite impressive mix of influences. Some harking back to 70s progressive rock and some sounding more like contemporary progressive metal. The vocals are predominantly male clean vocals, but there are occasional use of extreme metal vocals in the music too and also female clean vocals and even some operatic female vocals. The tracks are relatively complex both in structure and in dynamics, but not in a forced fashion and despite the relatively complex approach to songwriting, the music isn´t hard to get into. The way the band arrange their tracks just seem to welcome the listener into the listening experience. I´m not going to mention particular tracks as highlights because I think it´s a consistently high quality release devoid of dull moments. It´s obvious the band´s vision is to create both original and intriguing progressive metal and they succeed in that quest.

There is a playfulness about the whole affair, that´s greatly charming and that´ll keep the listener on his toes for the duration of the album. Tempo- and time signature changes, multible changes in dynamics and atmosphere in each track. This is music for the more adventurous minded progressive metal fan, who appreciated eclectic sounding music. A 4 star (80%) rating is deserved.

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