Paul Ortiz, a.k.a. Chimp Spanner, may be one of the most respected names in the djent community. And thanks to the recent rise in popularity of this genre, his work is reaching a wider audience with every passing moment. And it’s no wonder why. After all, by mixing djent-riffage with atmospheric electronic synth pads and technically fascinating guitar work, it’s music well worth checking out. But is that the case with his upcoming six track EP, All Roads Lead Here? Does this mixture work in creating a sonic landscape or does the final product come off as a cheesy mess?
The album opens with Dark Age Of Technology, which beings by fading in thick guitars and syncopated drums before tightening everything under a cloud-like synth pad and delicate guitar phrasing. The song almost sways between heavy and atmospheric, the only image that seems to convey this image is of a hammock in a tropical setting. Strange, yes, but this is what I saw during the majority of this song and, oddly enough, for the rest of the album. Something about this EP is very sunny and cheery in my mind.
The second track, Engrams, for me had the most atmosphere and mood. Slightly creepy, yet oddly comforting, this track, though not indicative of the rest of the album, was my personal favorite. It reminded me of the feelings I get while playing the Silent Hill games.
The production of the album is nearly spot on, although it can get just a tad bassy here and there. Overall though, this EP sounds fantastic and has enough tones and variations going on to make it a very enjoyable experience.
The main draw of the album is the three parter, Möbius. Beginning with a delayed tapping lick and angelic synth pads, the first part brings on crushing riffs followed by a very cool synth dissonant descending chord progression that only lasts a few seconds but is still worth noting. The second part has a slightly more sinister approach in the music while the third part mixes the best of both previous parts.
The final track, Cloud City, is nothing short of djent jazz, full of bluesy pentatonic licks and thumping slap and pop bass. It would be the perfect track to play to your jazz/blues inclined friends who don’t understand how the metal genre and the jazz genre have a vast amount of intersection.
The Final Word: All Roads Lead Here is a very enjoyable EP, though it’s very easy for it to feel like one unending track with no discernable separation. I can’t wait to hear what the next full length from Chimp Spanner is going to sound like.