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Native Construct - "Quiet World" (CD)

Native Construct - "Quiet World" CD cover image

"Quiet World" track listing:

1. Mute 06:21
2. The Spark of the Archon 08:50
3. Passage 08:07
4. Your Familiar Face 04:11
5. Come Hell or High Water 05:54
6. Chromatic Lights 02:14
7. Chromatic Aberration 12:28

Reviewed by on May 14, 2015

"From stage play scores to death metal, pretty much any style of music that ever has or will exist gets its time to shine during the course of the album."

Easily the most eclectic project Metal Blade Records has on the roster at the moment, Native Construct's “Quiet World” arrives to scratch that experimental itch, moving through genre after genre in any given song – and many of them not even in the realm of metal. From stage play scores to death metal, pretty much any style of music that ever has or will exist gets its time to shine during the course of the album.

It should go without saying that if you only dig harsh vocals and heavy riffs, this is not the album for you. For those with broader musical horizons, these seven tracks are a study in the diversity possible in heavy metal and how the various styles and genres intersect with each other. Throw a dart at a wall chart containing names of instruments or musical ideas and you'll hit something that appears on the album: saxophone, those zip noisemakers kids play with, plucked harp strings, lounge-style piano, chorus lines, department store background tunes, on-stage musicals, big band, doo-wop, technical/extreme metal, and of course prog.

Like a more extreme version of the first Haken album, “Quiet World” starts with a base of sounds that have nothing to do with underground metal. There are moments that will strangely evoke the ambient nature soundtracks sold at Walmart layered over rapid fire blast beasts, while tracks like “Passage” and “Your Familiar Face” feature segments sounding like they belong on a Broadway musical. “The Spark of the Archon” starts off with an '80s TV show beat that then transfers into a drum and electric guitar version of the same tune, showing how one kind of sound can be drastically different if produced through a slightly different medium.

Overall, the bizarre juxtaposition is well worth experiencing, but as with anything that sees opposing forces collide, there are going to be some bumps along the way. Some of the vocals scattered across the disc are intentionally tongue-in-cheek to the point of being unintentionally silly, and that issue also occurs with some of the odder sound effects on “Come Hell Or High Water.” At their best, these elements bring to mind the over-the-top nature of bands like Freak Kitchen. At their worst they feel like goofy oddities thrown in because that's what weird avant-garde albums are supposed to do, rather than because they actually improve the music.

Getting past the handful of misses, most of “Quiet World” hits strongly, whether its a two minute track or a twelve minute song that crosses the musical universe. There's a powerful dichotomy of harsh/soft present that will work for fans of Scar Symmetry and Ne Obliviscaris, as well as anyone who digs the odder, more genre-bending sides of metal from the less heavy Thomas Giles solo material to the ultra-heavy avant-garde craziness of Sigh.

Highs: Name a style, genre, or instrument and you can rest assured it appears on the album.

Lows: The avant-garde nature does get out of control a handful of times, getting too over the top and silly for its own good.

Bottom line: The "Quiet World" is a place for lovers of all music, not just fans of extreme or underground metal.

Rated 4 out of 5 skulls
4 out of 5 skulls

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)