MASS - City Of Dis

Mass - City Of Dis

8 songs
41:19 minutes
***** *****


Music can be so much more than the sterile crap you can listen to on top 40 radio stations. You know that, of course! But as even underground music is in danger of becoming too streamlined, it's important to look at the up and coming true independent labels who seem to be the only ones who dare to tread new paths.

Monotreme is a very young label from London that has signed, among others, the Californian band The Mass. The weird thing is that they haven't been released in their home country yet, although they had Tim Green (Nation Of Ulysses, Fucking Champs) as their producer; this should already be reason enough to check them out.

The first thing you notice is that the instrumental foundation of guitar, bass and drums is enhanced by vocalist Matt Waters who most of the time doesn't sing but plays saxophone in a really awe-inspiring way. The Mass probably intended their debut City Of Dis to sound very original, making it hard for the reviewer to give a precise image, as mostly noisy math rock structures coalesce with free jazz rhythms, adding occasional grind blasts. The two heart pieces come with weird song titles: Trapped Under A Ice and We Enslaved Elves To Build Our Death Machine (now, that's what I call mean). The former not only is rhythmically very intricate but also combines the most different styles (jazz of course, swing, death metal, ambient) while the latter sounds like old school thrash metal played in a North African medina. Also Buttlip shows Muslim influences and reminds me a lot of bands like Secret Chiefs 3 and Estradasphere. Of course you can do a lot of name dropping: King Crimson, Sweep The Leg Johnny, early Naked City and Dillinger Escape Plan being just a few that come to my mind, although The Mass never sound like a clone, but always try to make something very unique, like a deadly rollercoaster through the extreme regions of rock'n'roll.

I suggest you check out the website of Monotreme Records where you can download three entire tracks of this album. That should convince you of the genius of this four-piece! If you like your metal jazzed up, or your jazz metal-ised, there is no way past this fantastic debut. 10 points!

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