May 28th, 2013
Release length: 30:56
“Return to the Point of Departure” has a minute long introduction of audio samples (which appear throughout the song), roaring bass and synth effects that establishes an ominous Science Fiction vibe. What follows is some catchy Progressive Metal riffs that go at a typical mid-tempo pace. The earlier audio clips, as well as the deep bass guitar helps fill the gaps the many hook-driven riffs would normally leave behind in the simpler passages, but there are spots where it slowly picks up some additional complexity. “Etude War Machine” has a similar oppressive introduction, though no audio samples, and only lasts about twenty-five seconds. The shorter start really helps the upbeat performance sound a lot more fluid. This is one of the few that really has some complexity to it, in turn making it a far richer and memorable experience.
“Trouble for Trouble” is a slower track that pushes the bass more than the other songs thanks to the subtle, possibly coincidental regional atmosphere of the cleaner riffs used, and how it relies on that instrument for support. The performance itself is tight though, and for nearly seven minutes it has enough going on that it won’t lose the listener. Sadly, “Vinedresser” is rather forgettable. While not a bad performance, there’s just very little that makes it stand out. The slower pace mixes astral effects in for a soothing experience that bares its fangs once in a while, but that’s about it. Aside the space themes, much of the same goes for “Venetian Bricks,” the shortest of the five, and also the heaviest. The problem here is that there’s plenty of unexplored growth. Instead of pushing what exists, the limited amount of time and lack of exploration really holds it back.
While Return to the Point of Departure is a pretty good album overall, there are times it just feels like the band doesn’t want to explore the musical dimensions they weave. Instead, they play it safe, restricting the effort to more of a traditional Progressive Metal approach. Hopefully Mahogany Head Grenade will continue to push themselves into making future songs more of an experience like the oppressive “Return to the Point of Departure” or the upbeat “Etude War Machine.” Return to the Point of Departure isn’t a waste of time though, nor is it a regretable puchase. With a fantastic crisp production among five songs that prove you don’t need to show off to be a solid a Progressive Metal instrumental act to write material that you won’t soon be tired of, Mahogany Head Grenade‘s debut is well worth picking up.
01. Return to the Point of Departure – 6:50
02. Trouble for Trouble – 6:56
03. Vinedresser – 7:08
04. Etude War Machine – 6:04
05. Venetian Bricks – 3:58
|Initial Pressing Score: 8/10