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Matterhorn - "Vol 1: The World Began Without Man…" (CD)

Matterhorn - "Vol 1: The World Began Without Man…" CD cover image

"Vol 1: The World Began Without Man…" track listing:

1. Stage One: Long Valley Caldera, 8:32 a.m.
2. Stage Two: Armada Storm
3. Stage Three: The Currents
4. Stage Four: The South Atlantic Anomaly
5. Stage Five: 99942 Apophis

Reviewed by on February 24, 2011

"It’s hard to settle on any one stand-out track since everything works together so well. From the first 'stage' to the final cut every song is a pummeling affair that contains some of the heaviest riffs imaginable."

The difficulties of writing a 5 track, 30 minute instrumental concept album must be immense. I know what you're thinking; "an instrumental concept album?" And that's what I first thought too. But while reading the packaging of Matterhorn's debut "Vol 1: The world began without man..." it was ever apparent that these guys took its music seriously. Although the album is an entirely instrumental affair, each track comes with a paragraphs worth of back-story which works perfectly in setting the mood and tone of the record.

The story itself is one that many bands have told before, but instead of telling the story through words Matterhorn shares its apocalyptic tale through massive heaviness. The idea of the Earth being destroyed by the forces of nature is nothing new, but Matterhorn is somehow able to capture all of the devastation and havoc into its instrumental jams. What's great about this record is the fact that it never gets boring, not once. You never know what to expect next, where the all mighty riff will end up going.

It’s hard to settle on any one stand-out track since everything works together so well. From the first "stage" to the final cut every song is a pummeling affair that contains some of the heaviest riffs imaginable. The band also manages to keep things fresh with enough moments of progression and ambiance. The closing moments of "Stage Five" are especially worthy of praise, although the entire album keeps the pulses racing at insane speeds.

The band make it apparent that this is, in the very least, a two part adventure that promises even more sludgy heaviness to be dished out in the future. The truth is, it’s going to take a near godly performance from Matterhorn to be able to top this album. With the exception of one shrill, annoying sample that ends "Stage Two," the album is fantastic and provides a 30 minute instrumental that's both memorable and enjoyable; even requiring repeated listens to pick up on all of its masterful subtleties.

Not only is the music incredible, but "Vol 1" is also a cliff-hanger album that builds anticipation towards "Vol 2;" seeing as the world was completely destroyed in part one. With "Vol 1" already being an early contender for album of the year, all that's left to say is - bring on the sequel!

Highs: Every moment is interesting and it never feels like you're listening to a 30 minute instrumental.

Lows: One incredibly annoying sample puts a temporary halt on the album's flow.

Bottom line: The new text book for instrumental metal, written by pure heaviness and godly riffs.

Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls
4.5 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)