Samus Octology

Translation Loss 2007


Bostonís Irepress might just be the best instrumental band I have heard in a long time, maybe ever.  This quintet of talented musicians weave intricate patterns of soulful and heartfelt music that tears and grips at my emotions.  Vulnerable and serene and intense all at the same time, each song layers on beautiful melodies and drumming finesse with ease and the skill of masters of their art.  Each song is similar in nearly all aspects and Samus Octology could really be treated as a single 45 minute song with 8 individual movements.  The different instruments struggle against each other in one second and blend beautifully together at the next.  My favorite song, A: Frid Ohm B: Martin Eek starts off in a soft and timid manor but opens up into realms of crashing heaviness, possibly the heaviest of the entire album.  There is also a really killer guitar effect thrown in around the 4:40 mark of that song that just destroys me.  Meanwhile on Nonografistole Adendum clean melodic bass lines mate and meld with bluesy and plaintive brass sax musings while later in the song some killer jungle drumming takes over the brooding energy permeating the track.  Another of my favorite passages is around the 1 minute mark of the second track, Samus where all the instruments die off and we are left with skeletal drumming and a clean guitar tapping its way over the top in a dance of bereavement.  The guitar tone so bright and frail at the same time stands out like polished crystal in a dense and dark cavern.  But when Irepress go heavy the guitars dish out punishment with a pummeling crunch.  Without the vocals to muddle the albumís intent, the listener can focus both on the fragile emotional journey the music lays before them as well as explore their own inner turmoil and finally lay it to rest.  And like my own inner turmoil the music is never at rest, yet is constantly swirling and folding in on itself only to expand yet again.  It is really hard to put into words a description worthy of the music these guys play.  I feel the only way to truly do the music justice is for everyone to listen to it on their own and wallow in the tranquil and complex instrumental discourse unfolding before them.  An Iliad, if you will, of sorrow and mournful contemplation for both my ears and my heart.