"some music was meant to stay underground..."

Theater of the Absurd - "The Myth of Sisyphus" (CD)

Theater of the Absurd - "The Myth of Sisyphus" CD cover image

"The Myth of Sisyphus" track listing:

1. False Idols (6:11)
2. The Lesser Gods (8:35)
3. Trade Winds (8:15)
4. Rising Tides in Still Water (7:41)
5. For Nostalgia's Burden, Part I: Our Quiet Fears (7:01)
6. For Nostalgia's Burden, Part II: In My Time of Solace (6:43)
7. Black Wind (1:27)
8. Changing Direction (06:36)

Reviewed by on February 21, 2014

"Theater of the Absurd puts itself out there on a limb, and while sometimes the band loses its footing, it always grabs back on and tries again with just as much effort."

An example of interesting music coming out of the underground without the restraints of established genre boundaries, Theater of the Absurd works the prog and avant-garde angles with “The Myth of Sisyphus.” Although lacking the slick polish of bands with bigger names and budgets, the album is incredibly creative and covers a wide range of ground, offering a little something for everyone.

Despite the band’s name and the fact that the music leans towards the experimental side, “The Myth of Sisyphus” is definitely more accessible and less absurd than many other avant-garde bands. There’s nothing remotely as weird as Sigh or Oblomov, although songs like “Trade Winds” and “For Nostalgia’s Burden II” pull out non-standard song arrangements a bit like you might hear from To-Mera. Closing track “Changing Directions” is also more funky and psychedelic than the preceding music. The “theater” part of the band name is spot-on though, as the music is frequently theatric and grandiose.

A range of vocals are found throughout the album, but the main focus is on full-bodied clean vocals in the prog/power vein. Operatic female vocals come out on “The Lesser Gods” and “Rising Tides on Still Water” for a counterbalance, and there are even a few growls and rasps here and there, although the less polished production leaves them sounding muted and out of place. On the other hand, the placement of the bass in the mix creates a clearly audible low-end, which is frequently not in the case in metal.

While the song constructions could be smoother and the production needs a boost, the album has to be commended for always being adventurous, bold, and never boring. Theater of the Absurd puts itself out there on a limb, and while sometimes the band loses its footing, it always grabs back on and tries again with just as much effort.

Highs: The album is constantly creative and innovative, with a nice range of vocals and musical styles.

Lows: The production sounds off, leaving the harsh vocals sounding out of place, and there are times when the songs could use some re-structuring.

Bottom line: Less crazy than the name would have you believe, Theater of the Absurd offers up an underground take on prog and avant-garde music.

Rated 3.0 out of 5 skulls
3.0 out of 5 skulls


Key
Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)