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Empty Yard Experiment - Kallisti Review

Posted on September 16, 2014 at 7:10 PM

Bloody ruddy brilliant that!

It’s a well worn cliché, but Empty Yard Experiment may well be among the best bands you never heard. Formed in 2007 and based in Dubai with personnel originating from Serbia, Iran and India, never was embracing diversity more apt. With a healthy local reputation and having opened for no less than Evanescence, Anathema and Metallica (check the inevitable youtube clips), their influences and sound reflect those of contemporaries Porcupine Tree (reminiscent of their best In Absentia work), Nine Inch Nails and Tool. We’re talking roots in ‘proper’ progressive values yet with a fresh happening twist. At the risk of getting too complex, it’s what they’ve called “a unique combination of sub-genres that includes the alternative and progressive varieties of rock as well as experimental and instrumental/post-rock.” A bit of a mouthful, but all you need to know is that this music needs no categorisation but to be listened to.

Their second recording following their 2011 EP, Kallisiti is presented as an album with a concept, namely the threads of chaos and discord which permeate our very existence. Similarly, the album takes its title from the inscription on the ancient Greek Apple Of Discord - well worth a Google - and how much do we prog fans like it when there are some mythological reference points; always takes me back to early Genesis and sifting through Gabriel’s lyrics. Pretentious some may say, but it’s also a perfect match for the music which is an amalgam of harmony and cacophony, moving from subtle and atmospheric to energetic and aggressive.

"An amalgam of harmony and cacophony, moving from subtle and atmospheric to energetic and aggressive"

After the quiet piano led opening Sunyata there’s a feeling that something is about to happen - a sinister presence until the bleeping heart rate fades out and Greenflash opens with a foreboding that induces that ‘something special’ shiver . Lyrically invoking the call to “sell your soul for some peace of mind” the band start flexing their muscles and developing a lingering tension amidst telling lines like “they point guns at us, we throw stones.” The track builds, pauses and just when you think it’s over, they crash back in with a ferocious pummelling, which in all honesty, you knew was coming. An opening combo which is going to have a large majority of listeners jumping up for the ‘rewind’ button to find out if that really happened.

With the stall set, the attention grabbed, the album is punctuated by a number of more ambient and experimental pieces in the Red/Blue/Green/Sama collection, whilst there are aspects of modern day Floyd with some treated voices adding to the atmospherics in The Blue Eyes Of A Dog and There Will Never Be.

Literally, the centrepiece of the record is Entropy - maybe the key track in terms of both its arrangement as a piece of progressive melodic metal and the track which is at the core of the concept. A moody atmospheric groove laden piece with bouts of aggression accompanying the “out of sight, out of mind” refrain, the track is one of a handful which push the boundaries of the genre(s) EYE inhabit. Other standout moments include Lost In A Void That I Know Far Too Well - an epic instrumental full of heavy guitar chords and tumbling piano delivering the threat of menace and intimidation and God Has His Reasons - one of the earliest tracks previewed from the album and being a more, shock horror, commercially accessible showcase of what EYE do best what they do best . A ‘song’ element sung against a simple repetitive piano and string led refrain which develops into a mega guitar blow out and blockbuster of a closing section.

Finally there’s nine and a half minutes of The Call which brings the record to a close - galloping explosive ending with the rumbling of drums and heavy blocks of guitar playing over some humming psychedelic keyboards. Typical of the instrumental powerhouse which is EYE and sealing what is honestly a fantastic debut album. An hour of progressive invention and quality and the promise of some possible UK dates for December. Things are looking up!

Words: Mike Ainscoe 

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Categories: CD REVIEWS

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1 Comment

Reply murielle
3:16 AM on September 17, 2014 
I'm totally in love with Kallisti