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AGE OF EMERGENCE: ‘The All Seeing Eye, Part 1’

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Often you have more fun with reviews from bands you know little to nothing about, mainly because you go into the listening experience with no expectations or preconceived ideas about how the album should or shouldn’t sound.

So it is as I settle in to listen to Aussie progressive metal outfit Age Of Emergence and their latest EP The All Seeing Eye Part 1.

Kicking off with the title track, we are introduced to the EP by way of restrained and subtle tidings of ambience, creating an almost ethereal feel that is as much about mood as it is music.

A beautifully soaring guitar interlude from Matt Neilson seems set to take AGE further down the rabbit hole of dreaminess before things take a turn in a heavier direction that ushers in vocalist and bass player Dean Holmes whose clean delivery amid an up-tempo and more urgent guitar run provides an interesting sonic bridge from the previous ambient nature to more that of oppression.

This track is very guitar-driven and sounds great because of it. For a trio, these guys put out a full and vibrant sound, playing well with and within each other to create a darkly dense sonic plateau from which they could go almost anywhere. Instead, they continue down more of a hard rock trajectory, eased back somewhat by the reassuring vocals that provide comfort amid the potential mayhem.

As the track gets further into things new drummer Adam Clayton seems to find his feet more and more, snapping in with some vicious double kicks and tempo changes which allow his rhythm section the opportunity to flesh their own pieces out further before bringing everything back together almost in full circle.

Futility rears its musical head next, a fast-paced drum and guitar duel setting the tone for a more frenetic track. They ease off gradually before Neilson lets off a well-placed guitar run that once more brings Holmes to the fore. As he wrestles with his own demons, Neilson takes centre stage once more with a wicked solo that shows off just enough of his chops without overdoing things.

A tasty breakdown divides things about halfway through, in turn carrying us into a more deliberate and concise passage of music that is delivered with plenty more intent. Futility soon settles back into a more even flow before fading into itself, introducing the second last track, Gods Can’t Allow.

A wicked bass line fires this track up nicely before a chunky as fuck guitar lick adds spice and anger to things briefly before upping the tempo even more and leading us into a hard rock number that is kept in check beautifully by Holmes’ edgy vocals. He has a great voice that is perfectly suited to this type of music, dictating the sonic direction of each track after opening salvos that leave plenty to the imagination.

An awesome guitar riff provides the backbone of this track as Holmes uses his vocal range to soar majestically into a higher plane with tempered frequency. Neilson once more lends his chops with a well-placed guitar solo, using his whammy bar to great effect to create a sense of uneasiness in the face of adversity.

Mind Game emerges on the back of a stuttering guitar and drum intro that is beautifully all over the shop until a small but authoritative bass run pulls things into line. This song takes on an almost regal feel as harmonies and sighs pierce the darkness to provide a calming entrance from Holmes that soon gathers intensity as the bass, drums and guitar refuse to allow him any solace.

Instead, they sweep him into more dangerous territory that ebbs and flows with well-crafted finesse and delivery. His vocals take on a completely different form on this track, in keeping with the descent into purgatory inflicted from his bandmates.

The timing and tempo in this song alter markedly to great effect, all the while Holmes keeps things in check with a fluctuating vocal presence that seems to have a calming effect on his surroundings in brief interjections.

This is a well-constructed and eclectic piece of music that highlights the musical disparity at AGE’s disposal, hitting its stride beautifully around the four-and-a-half minute mark as it ups the anti considerably in terms of aggression.

A twisting guitar solo towards the end only adds to the sonic confusion, with all three band members almost jamming on their own before coming together in one final moment of beauty.

Very nice effort, kids.

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