Step In Fluid - One Step BeyondNow here’s something you don’t hear every day. Step In Fluid’s bio suggests “Mutant jazz-core” as a possible description, but that seems both incorrect and unfair to the band—there’s no “core” here. Rather, these guys are a nearly straight-up jazz-funk band… but with djent-y guitar parts that appear from time to time to add intensity without obtrusiveness or anything like a forced feel. And that’s a much cooler combination than most of the whatevercore hybrids you’ll find today.

It doesn’t sound to me at all like these guys started out as a metal band and merely decided on a gimmick to differentiate them from all the other young djentlemen crowding the metal community lately. I used to be a little bit into jazz-funk stuff—Liquid Soul was one of my favorite bands for a while—and the grooves on this release are hip and authentic. 8 instrumental songs in just under half an hour, sincere and fun; the way instrumental music of this type should be.

Considerable chops help. Guitarist Harun Demiraslan takes the first solo on “Vicious Connection” and it’s a ripper! Drummer Florent Marcadet is impressive throughout; his funk grooves are dynamically appropriate but his rock smashes like it should, and his solo on “Beat Hunter” (probably the album’s best track) is just killer.

Further in, “The Bridge” begins with a very King Crimson-esque syncopated melody that progresses into a Dream Theater prog-metal jam under which Marcadet conjures some serious Vinnie Colaiuta vibes. “Smooth” is so completely contemporary jazz-funk that it could appear on a smooth jazz station. Its saxophone licks and turntable scratches are totally suitable for lighting some candles with that special someone and getting freaky (to something other than the usual, like Nasum!). “As We Dance”? Yes we do—swinging, funkin’, moshing!

Is this the future of fusion? Ghost of Jaco help us!—I think it might be.

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