Don’t Lick Frogs, Listen to Prog

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A genre of metal that I both love and hate is progressive metal. There is some excellent musicianship, but there’s also a lot of drugs involved, methinks. And when drugs are involved, lots of crazy ideas pop up, and, dammit, a lot of those ideas are terrible.

Doing different things just for the sake of doing something different doesn’t make it good, okay? So most of the time, I don’t really like the hyper-cerebral tech-y solos that take all the soul out of the playing or the uber-jazzy time signatures. I like to bob my thinker like this: bob, bob, bob, bob. Not bo-BOB-BOBBOB-bob-bob-bob-BOB-ob.

The frequent dependence on synthesizers to drive the songs makes me wonder why some prog bands even want to be included in the metal genre.

When a good prog band comes around, though, I actually poop myself. Like, I’ll be in the library studying with my MP3 player, I’ll throw on this new album I just downloaded for free from this unsigned band on Bandcamp, and I just get the squirts out of sheer elation. Needless to say, when I turned on Mandroid Echostar for the first time, a set of pants was ruined forever.

This album in one word: pristine. This is clear, high, high quality, flawlessly executed progressive metal. It tickles the same bones as Muse, The Faceless, and Animals as Leaders, although Mandroid sound completely unique. They blend metalcore, techdeathy stuff, jazzy prog, and some amazing fresh ideas together in a pretty remarkable fashion.

The thing that really sticks out for me is the vocals: they are cleanly sung, and super well, too. Like, all the vocalizing fake artists on “American Idol” have nothing on this dude, who looks like the guitarist of T-Rex reincarnated.

It’s almost as if he’s a trained opera singer with some pop influences, but I don’t really know. Alls I know is that Mandroid is from Canada, have three guitarists, a damn good singer, a driving bassist who goes far beyond hanging onto the root notes like most useless bass players in metal, and a drummer that would make Chris Adler weep.

I cannot emphasize how surprisingly good this album is, even with the vocals sung-and in a manner I would normally hate with a passion. Seriously, download this EP; get some fresh shorts first because you’re about to push a turd through the ones you got on.

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