This is an instrumental album from the Progressive Metal band CANVAS SOLARIS. Instrumental albums are a bit odd, or so I thought. I was not only right; I was amazed at how bored you could become after about 45 minutes of it. To describe the music, you could say that the band has two modes: mode one, where they play their instruments in a frenetic, non-harmonic way, without any sense of cooperation, and mode two, where they just fill out the album with synth sounds, much like cute Japanese video-games for children under the age of 10.
When the band goes into mode one, the music is signified by drums, bass and rhythm guitars playing advanced musical fragments (not melodies; the breaks, changes and pauses are too many to call them melodies). While dominating over this, the lead guitars sort of play around with small bits of advanced guitar playing, sometimes substituted by a very short melody or riff. Often this mode produces a few minutes of non-predictable, but at the same time repetitive music. Mode two, with all the synth sounds, consists mostly of smooth and happy little tunes, and of some electrical plopping sound. Both of these are sometimes combined with a genuinely synthetic sound that makes me imagine an extremely small bongo drum.
It is hard to say if even mode one should be considered Metal at all. There is not much distortion in the guitar-sound, the song structures are somewhat reminiscent of jazz and there are no real riffs. Altogether, CANVAS SOLARIS consists of skilled musicians, but they do not play songs together.
The last song is seventeen minutes long, going back and forth between synth and frenetic guitar-playing and it was so hard to stand that it almost dragged the rating of this release down to one. The fourth song, “Gamma Knife”, saves it a little bit though. It is a decent and listenable instrumental where the band members calm down and play together most of the time.
Avoid this if you aren’t fanatic about skilled musicians showing off, or happen to have some strange affection for electrical sounds that go “plop”!
(Online August 20, 2007)