Australasia – Sin4tr4 EP – 90%

Sin4tr4 cover art

Over the course of my life I’ve been fortunate enough to journey through many different genres of music. As a teenager I found nu-metal just like everyone else did around 1998. From there I slowly moved onto the heavier styling of Melodic death, which led me down the dark path of death, doom and black metal. About this time I also discovered post-metal bands like Isis, followed by Pelican and Jesu. As my love for these bands grew and my tastes matured while I aged into my adult years, I began to drift away from death metal mostly due to my increased dislike of harsh vocals. As a younger man, the violently loud vocals were a beautiful thing. As an adult I realized that anger without purpose is petty and pointless and found much of the death metal I previously enjoyed lacking in emotion. Still there are times when I want nothing more than a double bass pedal and the sick riffage of a down-tuned guitar to blast through my headphones and invade my ear canals.

That is how we arrive at Australasia. The one particular thing that truly captures 100% of my attention these days are bands that are able to take uncommon or unlikely combinations of genres and make something truly beautiful with them. Well Australasia has done just that with their latest release ‘Sin4tr4‘, a 7-track 22 minute musical odyssey that combines ambient post-rock with harsh blast beats and melodic death metal. While there are elements that are definitely post-metal to be found here as well, the band has no problem stepping up a notch above that by pealing back the more textured heaviness to create a more straight forward melodic death sound. This is most evident in the intro track “Antenna“, which opens with about a minute of ambient post-rock until the double bass and down-tuned post-metal guitars come sweeping in. That is until something beautiful happens. The  guitars blossom into fullscale melodic death metal mode with absolute mind-bending riffs. This transformation is truly a beauty to behold.

Spine” follows the same formula and has an absolutely captivating ending where synths cascade down through powerful  guitars as the track comes to a close in a very electronic fashion. “Apnea” is next and is a stark departure from what we’ve seen so far on the album. In this ambient and spacious track that features electronic beats rather than drums, beautiful female harmonizing vocals completely change the mood. “Scenario” manages to do a good job transitioning the album back to the blast beats and post-metal before ending in an italian language sample. “Satellite” is a mind expanding ambient track that really wanders amongst the stars and shows that the band is more than capable of producing softer post-rock without their signature heavy side.

A curve ball is thrown in the mix with “Retina” which opens with these gawdy funeral parlor like organs and synthesizers. To be perfectly honest the intro to this song really caught me off guard  and rather than enjoying it I just keep pondering what it’s purpose is. luckily however the track eventually delves into the heavier side of the band and perhaps features their best work yet as guitars are on point and drumming is as technical as it is brutal. The EP comes to a close with “Fragile“, which slowly builds up by adding piece by piece to the mix as what I think are cars pass by in the background but I can’t be certain. This track is as straight forward post-rock as it gets and you can definitely tell there is a strong european vibe to it, particularly during the ending.

While I highly enjoy this EP there are a few nuances to be found that detract from the experience. At first listen the range in different sounds found on the EP will make it feel as though it’s more a collection of songs rather than a fluid and well-planned EP. This feeling vanishes after a few listens but I feel it’s still relevant to mention. Secondly, while I know it’s an EP, some of the tracks feel far too rushed and the fact that they managed to cram 7 songs into 22 minutes is still something that boggles my mind. Lastly, the intro to “Retina” is far too out there and just comes off feeling out-of-place.

To be perfectly blunt, I have yet to hear a single band that sounds remotely like Australasia and their debut EP has managed to capture my attention and has garnered a ridiculous amounts of plays in the week or so that I’ve had it. For uniqueness and creativity the band deserves an A+. For this EP however, it’s not the best I’ve heard this year, but it’s awfully close. An extremely solid debut from perhaps the next big Italian band. 10-24-12
Free streaming via bandcamp: http://australasia.bandcamp.com/

Album available for purchase via Itunes or amazon MP3: http://www.amazon.com/Sin4tr4/dp/B008IMXFYA

Band website: http://www.australasiamusic.com/