Dredg - Leitmotif


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by Matt Stephens

Rating = 5/5

Indepandantly released/Interscope (reissue)
1. Symbol Song
2. Movement I: @45n, 180w
3. Lechium
4. Movement II: Crosswind Minuet
5. Traversing through the Arctic Cold We Search for the Spirit of Yuta
- Intermission -
6. Movement III: Lyndon
7. Penguins in the Desert
8. Movement IV: RR
9. Yatahaze
10. Movement V: 90 Hour Sleep
Sometimes, very rarely mind you, a new band emerges on the scene with such enormous talent that no matter what style of music they are, they are instantly captivating and suck in all extraneous matter in a black hole of skill.  As soon as the opening notes on the first song from this album start, whose title consists of an odd symbol that cannot by typed, you know you are in for something special.  I had heard of this band before, mostly by people I did not completely trust, but I did not give them a chance until very recently.  This has to be one of the biggest mistakes I've made in my life. 
Perhaps the biggest comparison to Dredg's music at this point would be a far more artistic and talented version of Tool.  The music is more varied, compelling, and melodic than Tool, but you won't hear the trendy Tool fans agreeing to this, as that would be something akin to blasphemy.  There is no way that you could call this band a Tool clone as Tool has never come even close to releasing something of this magnitude.  This release consists of only about 36 minutes of music with a bit of silence and a low quality jam afterwards, but in these 36 minutes they pack more music than should be possible.
This band cannot be called heavy with a straight face, quite a bit of their music consists of a wide array of instrumentation that is accompanied by insanely awesome drumming.  Some sections, such as the latter half of Lechium and the first half of Penguins in the Desert feature Tool-esque guitars with screams, but they are very short-lived, and the screams are subdued and low in pitch so as to not upset the flow of the album.  Very many parts in this album have an Eastern sort of sound to them, complete with jazzy percussion and acoustic guitars.  All of these disparate sections flow together perfectly; this album flows impeccably as two separate sections interrupted by an intermission.
This album tells the story of a man with a moral disease who must travel to five different cultures to find some sort of mental cure.  As such, this can easily be called a concept album.  Thankfully, it does not suffer the pretension of most concept albums, and can safely be added to the ranks of perfect concept albums joining The Afghan Whigs, Pink Floyd, and Ulver.  The lyrics are a bit abstract and hard to understand, but they are thankfully far more deep and insightful than most of the rock music today.
The only fault this album has is the fact that it has a bonus track (bonus tracks after a few minutes of silence is a really shitty thing to do), but you can just eject the cd right after the last song, so that is no real fault.  There is absolutely no reason to not get this album if you enjoy melodic and artistic rock at all.  This could be called prog rock, but it is completely different from most prog rock bands.  Even though this should mostly likely be labeled as an ep, it's still completely worth the price of admission.  Highly recommended. (5/5)