Tungsten: The Reservoir

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Tungsten: The Reservoir
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Tungsten: The Reservoir
Progressve Metal
Self-release
January 14th, 2014
Release length: 53:44
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If you search the web for a band named Tungsten, you’re going to come up with a good couple of results, three of which based in North America. There’s the defunct group from San Francisco, California, the active New Orleans, Louisiana based Sludge Metal act that formed in 1985 and has five full-length albums under their belt, as well as the six-piece female fronted Progressive Metal group from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The latter of those three formed in 2011 and has former members of various other bands like drummer JT Wieme from Reverence, bassist Mike Louis of Blueskiesfade, and current Kandela vocalist Titi Musick. This band also has a debut album that dropped in January of this year titled The Reservoir. But with a rather diverse musical background at play with some of the musicians, will Tungsten‘s first full-length album strike a chord with Progressive fans everywhere, or is it a cluttered mess of the genre’s most traditional foundations?

“Water Over Stone” introduces a very hazy start that nicely reflects the album’s artwork. The additional guitar leads against a trippy keyboard performance will immediately have fans of eighties drug-induced or back alley film scores wetting themselves with delight. It does give way to rather crisp mid-tempo riffs that carry that atmosphere momentarily, only to drop it for a slightly cold and haunting presence that sounds more like a modern Gothic Metal influence. From here on, the song moves between those two elements, as well as some Progressive riffs you might find on an album from The Sword that tread into the Rock territory. This track just refuses to stay remotely consistent outside the guitar solo that does throw things back to that hazy start that now feels incredibly out of place due to the haunting music and solid clean singing you just heard, and will hear again after, not to mention that there’s nothing really impressive to be found.

“Atmos (Masto) Stoma” does a good job at maintaining that haunting vibe, especially in the softer vocals. It’s an enjoyable performance even Evergrey would take notice of. This stays on track throughout, reaching a truly vibrant level that sticks out amid the darker musical landscape that dies down about four-and-a-half minutes in. Sadly, this is where it should have died. Instead the song continues in a music box fashion from the keyboards with simple drums and riffs behind it that build up, deceiving you into thinking some spectacular is on the way, but instead just shifts to what is meant to be an emotional guitar solo that is just too simple to be effective. The band lingers on this for a little more than a minute, adding some additional Space Rock-esque keyboards to the mix, but that eighty seconds just sounds like a lifetime of unimpressive padding that bleeds into “Night Wanders By,” a catchy track with some more Folk touches in the background and eccentric vocals that in no way work with the music being played. The song picks up some hostility as well in a heavier Opeth manner with some horrible shouting thanks to what seems like a bad layering job or effect. Thankfully the singing drops the shenanigans by the three minute mark and the snarling does get a little more on key to make the rest a lot more pleasing.

But, there some songs that do stick out. “Contamination” starts with a bit of a sixties analog effect to the keyboards that compliment the folksy acoustics and later clean piano notes that is forgotten a minute forty seconds in. The riffs change to have a deeper distortion that gives the performance a little more edge. This chunk of the track is pretty catchy with a good deal of energy, though the technical riffs toward the end that are meant to add some additional melody end up a bit thin before one final explosion with an impressive shout on par with some of the rougher singing from earlier. “El Dolor”takes on an upbeat Progressive Rock adventure akin to the likes of Scale the Summit that works in the shorter “Coda” perfectly. About half way through there is a bit of a deeper break that you can again refer to something from Opeth‘s Watershed album, but without violating the flow established at the start. Finally there’s the title track “The Reservoir,” which is a rather deep song that utilizes atmospheres responsibly, and features some of the most suiting and effective guitar and keyboard solos yet that lead to a very sad conclusion at the seven-and-a-half minute mark. While over twelve minutes, it ends here, giving about four minutes of silence before a hidden Spanish-influenced Progressive Rock instrumental kicks in.

The Reservoir isn’t a bad album, it’s just not that memorable, or even that original. There’s a good deal of power on display at times, but it seems the band just shrug off the truly impressive environments they create to throw some of the most generic Progressive music performances you’ve probably heard over and over, even on mainstream Classic Rock radio stations, to make up a huge majority of the content this album provides. Picture the toned down elements of modern Opeth laced with female fronted Gothic Metal atmospheres that throw diva-like tantrums as to whether they want to do anything or not and you’ll get the general idea of what this album has to offer but refuses to even acknowledge. Instead it’s the well executed Progressive Rock instrumentals that end up as vibrant and memorable as they are painfully underused as a foundation to coincide with the emotional passages and introductions the band just ignores fo some reason. If Tungsten could work those two together, or even weave more pieces like “The Reservoir” or “Atmos (Masto) Stoma” sans the padding, then there’s no telling what the band could accomplish. As for The Reservoir, it shows a group of musicians with potential, but also a lot of room to grow before establishing a sound all their own that will keep them from drowning in a sea of like-minded Progressive acts.

01. Water Over Stone – 6:01
02. Contamination – 6:14
03. Atmos (Masto) Stoma – 7:18
04. Night Wanders By – 8:26
05. Coda – 1:26
06. El Dolor – 5:54
07. The Opera House – 5:58
08. The Reservoir – 12:26
Initial Pressing Score: 4/10

Tungsten
Tungsten

Digital review copy of this release provided by Tungsten.