Apparently, CANVAS SOLARIS was a Death/”Mathcore” band when they formed in 1999. Now, anno 2006, we’re a universe away. The three members are instead plying an instrumental, energetic form of Progressive/Technical Metal that sees them pushing the boundaries of music and instrumental skill. It’s only fitting, since it seems, at least from the song titles, that music is this band’s way of contemplating the universe in its most macroscopic and microscopic varieties.
This is CANVAS SOLARIS’s second effort and I have to say that it takes a while to sink in. At first I found it to be an overly complex amalgam of unnecessary time changes and unbalanced technical wankery. With each listen the album opened more and more to me until now I feel I have a nearly complete grasp on it. The songs still run together a little, but that’s a risk when you’re instrumental and use rather obtuse song structures.
But that’s a bit dishonest. There is a lot of variety on here. When you can really sit down and pay attention to the music, the true nuances emerge. “Vaihayasa” is the most obvious stand out, since it’s entirely acoustic. “Horizontal Radiant” also stands out because it is a bit more straightforward and accessible. It’s just eleven minutes of more straightforward and accessible.
This album is definitely for fans of SPASTIC INK, SPIRAL ARCHITECT, GORDIAN KNOT and maybe even “Extension Of The Wish”-era ANDROMEDA. Really, if you’re a fan of ability, of musicianship and you don’t mind spending some time getting to know and really understand the minutiae of an album, “Penumbra Diffuse” is probably for you. This is no background music, to be sure, but taking the effort to really contemplate and comprehend this album is highly rewarding as the textures, the consonance and the effort become apparent. (Online March 22, 2006)