I’m not a fan of cut and paste music by numbers or tick-box. Just because something has scorching vocals, powerful songwriting, great musicianship etc. etc. doesn’t automatically mean it’s great. However, with the debut EP from Talanas, I’m going to make an exception. Not because this is cut and paste music by numbers but because I need a damn tick list to keep up with the sheer volume of ideas, thoughts and creative processes that they’ve crammed into their 18 minutes of aural delight.
Whilst listening to their superlative three track EP it would be easy, if just a bit lazy, to list all the bands that they sound like. The influences are numerous and varied but there’s a fierce intelligence at work here that should not go unnoted. The three songs here, as an aperitif to a more substantial main course album due in early 2011, are simply excellent. Opening track ‘Diaphora’ has an opening death growl to end all death growls before bounding into a Meshuggah-like riff that sets a relentless pace before an unexpectedly harmonious bridge that echoes Opeth at their very best invades your ear drums. I don’t know how you classify this stuff- I just know I like it. A lot.
‘Pray Speed the Fever’ is six minutes of brutal death metal with a ton of structured melody and reflection; it’s pretty exceptional. Final track ‘Aorta’ is hugely atmospheric, setting layer upon layer of brutal riffing, guttural death roars and unflinching guitar work lined up with phenomenal rhythms and fabulous harmonies.
EPs should be a showcase for a band that, ideally, flits across all their talents. If the forthcoming album is anything like this then we have a significant treat in store. Talanas have delivered a striking debut: It’s dense, complicated and needs patience. Don’t get me wrong: this is not a straightforward, happy go lucky EP to listen but, by God, it’s a splendid one.