Sunday, 31 May 2015

Linus - Linus, album review

Whilst 'Stealth' album releases are amongst the latest fads to be realised by a record industry that is still pondering how to be relevant in a digital age, as utilised by Beyoncé, Thom Yorke and Drake, it is altogether less newsworthy but certainly a massively interesting concept to behold when even the birthing of a new creative identity flies under everybody's radar.

When a facebook acquaintance made during my time covering Enfield's music scene, nonchalantly posts 'I did a thing' with a link to a 9 track album it was perhaps fortunate that it neatly coincided with some rare downtime and a need to drown out the sounds of the polish builder working on next door.

I'll admit that I know little of Josef Kirby, I know of him as the lead singer of local Djent-Metal rockers UNX and I gave the band a glowing review for their debut EP a little over two years ago, and much like that EP, it is the developing progression of sound and style that creates a truly listenable body of work.

The age old contrasting of light and dark, quiet and loud, are characteristic of the eponymous nine track instrumental album released under the guise of LinuS, and it is the thoughtful crafting of these nine tracks that is wonderfully realised, with the absense of an intimidating vocal presence the entire focus is solely on the music, and whilst there are a handful of whirling maelstroms these are few and far enough between with far more time spent on the building of clearly defined roles for the instruments involved, the instrumentation certainly is not sparse, but simply has had all but the most essential elements stripped away and each detail is given appropriate room to breathe, relying as much on what is not included as what is.

My knowledge of metal's musical touchstones is woefully lacking, I can recognise the required moshpit baiting and neck breaking guitar riffs and driven drum rhythms even if I cannot match them to the tide of bands that have served as inspiration, but I can hear the sci-fi epic nature of Muse's output that has launched them into a stadium filling stratosphere upon ... And Here They Come, In There Thousands, at near 7 minutes long it is buoyed by a lightness and woozy atmospheric that serves it well and it is telling that this has been chosen as the showcasing track when the album loads in the bandcamp player, it is not merely a midway point on the album chronologically but also thematically as it heralds some lengthy movements that retool the albums already accessible take on metal with an added ambience.

It is from this point forward that the debut long-player emboldens itself with magnificent opuses that are wonderfully crafted and bely the fact that they were uploaded on a whim.  

Self-produced using Cubase and with all guitar parts and bass played solely by Josef himself alongside programmed drums, the arrival of Linus in the world, as a musical identity and as an album, may go unnoticed by many but it has certainly not gone unnoticed by me, and I hope future musical endeavours are announced to a wider audience with more than just a four word facebook status.

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