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Mandroid Echostar - "Coral Throne" (CD)

Mandroid Echostar - "Coral Throne" CD cover image

"Coral Throne" track listing:

1. Hypnos
2. The Lotus
3. Matoax
4. Sacred Fire
5. Melatron
6. Violet Skies
7. Paladin
8. Midnight Sun
9. Iron Hands
10. Zelos

Reviewed by on February 26, 2016

"Mandroid Echostar sits squarely at a musical crossroads where several different styles cleanly intersect, piecing together different sounds that don't always get along well together."

Mandroid Echostar sits squarely at a musical crossroads where several different styles cleanly intersect, piecing together different sounds that don't always get along well together. One part is absolutely metal (and very much of the progressive variety), with the other rock of the Coheed And Cambria variety. Fleshing it all out is an upbeat and energetic feel that brings to mind less heavy genres like pop punk or melodic hardcore. That's what will make or break “Coral Throne” for many metal fans: how much saccharine melody can you stand in your prog metal?

“Hypnos” opens the album strongly and has got it all going on, covering each of the bases mentioned above and then even a few more for good measure. If you like the more adventurous elements of Haken or To-Mera or anything on the avant-garde side, this is a song that's very much for you, showcasing a good balance but letting the metal elements out more strongly than later tracks.

Songs like “The Lotus” and “Zelos” feature some classic metal guitar soling, but for the most part the remainder of the disc is more prog rock focused, throwing in a few extra elements every now and again to shake up the formula as necessary. “Matoax” for instance shows the band flirting with the L.A. hard rock style in places, while “Sacred Fire” brings out funky bass groove and quick cymbal taps. “Metatron” has a bit of a heavier sound on the guitar side, but otherwise heads straight into pop punk territory.

“Paladin” features an interesting tech edge for much of its run time, but then switches gears and slides into an atmospheric and gloomy sound about halfway through for a really engaging rollercoaster ride of sound. Follow-up “Midnight Sun” goes full steam ahead into bubbly, upbeat post-hardcore, and that's essentially the pattern you can expect (for an album that tends to throw out patterns). If you like both sides of the coin, “Coral Throne” will be a serious winner for you. If you prefer your prog metal to be focused on the metal, then this one is worth hearing but probably won't get stuck on your regular rotation.

Highs: Excellent prog metal with a solid grasp on songwriting and maintaining interest over long song lengths

Lows: The focus on bubbly rock isn't going to work for you if you prefer your prog metal to actually stay metal for extended periods

Bottom line: Prog fans should take note, but only if you can enjoy poppy rock as much as extreme metal.

Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls
3.5 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)