Album Of The Year 2015 – Number 24
Metal Blade Records
Native Construct is comprised of vocalist Robert Edens, guitarist Myles Yang and bassist Max Harchik. All three individuals study at Berklee College of Music, the same breeding ground as the progressive metal juggernaut that is Dream Theater. So, they must be talented musicians. But, more than that, they also appear to have big aims and ambitions judging by their brief internet biography. It talks of a group of musicians who were ‘fueled by a desire to breathe new life into the modern metal genre…’ So, they’re talented musicians and ambitious. But does this translate into a strong end product? Oh yes.
‘Quiet World’ is the trio’s debut album under the moniker of Native Construct. Since the release, one further appointment has taken place, namely in the form of guitarist Kee Poh Hock. I am sure that he, alongside an eventual full-time drummer, will add another dimension to Native Construct both in the live arena and on future recordings. But, to focus on ‘Quiet World’, where does one begin?
I admit to being completely daunted by this album on a first listen. Even as a long-term prog fan, I was blown sideways by the sheer audacity and abundance of ideas being thrown at me as the listener.
To get a fuller insight into the album, check out my full review here. however, to paraphrase it just a little: ‘just about every genre of music is explored within the seven tracks on offer; jazz, rock, metal, prog, folk, classical, funk and a whole lot more collide in a smorgasbord of musical ideas that masterfully manages to dodge the bullet of being messy, incoherent and lacking in structure. I get the feeling as I listen that this could quite easily be the soundtrack to accompany a stage musical in the West End or on Broadway; instead of the dreaded mess, ‘Quiet World’ is, instead, an uplifting, life-affirming album that revels in its many idiosyncrasies rather than shy away from them apologetically.’
During an intriguing chat with Myles Yang (read the full interview here), it was revealed that the basic foundations of this record are quite simple and are based around just a handful of notes, scales and melodies. It’s hard to believe but, if you listen carefully as I have done since faced with this revelation, it can begin to sound like the truth. Recurring themes and motifs are used throughout; they may be altered or tinkered with or embellished significantly but they are there, acting as anchors or moments of clarity to help guide the listener along the testing journey. I love things like that!
This is a real, proper, bona fide progressive record. It sounds like no-one else for a start and it refuses to settle down into any kind of predictable pattern; instead, it is a challenge from start to finish. However, it is a wonderfully enjoyable challenge. The lyrical concept displays real depth, the production is full of clarity and warmth and when they hit, the melodies offer up a surprising number of earworms that do get under the skin if you let them. It’s all the more impressive to think that this is a debut record – the mind boggles at what is to come in the future. But for the here and now, sit back, relax and enter the jaw-dropping ‘Quiet World’.
Album Of The Year 2015 – Number 25
Album Of The Year 2015 – Number 26
Album Of The Year 2015 – Number 27
Album of the Year 2015 – Number 28
Album of the Year 2015 – Number 29
Album of the Year 2015 – Number 30
And from previous years:
Album of the Year 2014
Album of the Year 2013
Album of the Year 2012