I wear many hats, musically, but the least worn one is decidedly prog metal. I already find the metal genre drawn out and bloated compared to the prevalence of punk, noise, and hardcore on my playlists. So it says a lot when I can have my hair blown back by a band I’ve never heard of in a genre I barely listen to. It also says lots more that I am genuinely impressed by the restraint and tight composition of a group that averages out at around 5 minutes a song. For context, I find a full-length over 20 minutes to be approaching bloated territory. This release weighs in at just under 55.
However, Tardive’s approach still manages to be lean, and focus enough on melody while delivering heavy, that it doesn’t matter. It’s a pleasure to join them on the trip. At times it meanders slightly, such as on “Triangulation Through Impasse”, but only so that it can lean more into harmony and lighter material, before it reminds you how crushing they can be. Harmonic Confusion is a terrific album, let’s just make that very clear. The band manages to deliver sweeping overtures while also paying close attention to delivering short blasts of intensity and exploring parts that have all the potential of navel-gazing, but instead manage to be exhilarating.
I think the only thing that weighs it down is the occasional string of parts that feel tacked on, but that’s bound to be the case when you have so many parts on such a lengthy album. Otherwise, this release deserves a place next to the likes of Mastodon and Meshuggah, since it manages to nod in both directions, while maintaining a fairly distinctive approach to either set of musical prowess.
Harmonic Confusion Track Listing:
02. Fire Red Glass Heart
03. The Electric Sun
04. Self Destructive Haze
05. Thread Of Life
06. Concentric Waves
07. Triangulation Through Impasse
08. Saviour Complex
09. Echoes 213
Run Time: 54:43
Release Date: September 9, 2016
Check out the track “Thread of Life”