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Lye By Mistake - "Fea Jur" (CD)

Lye By Mistake - "Fea Jur" CD cover image

"Fea Jur" track listing:

1. Big Red Button (4:04)
2. The Condition (6:08)
3. Invincible Bad Ass (5:45)
4. Vanguard To Nowhere (8:52)
5. Stag (5:25)
6. Fea Jur (7:12)
7. Missouri Tomater (1:26)
8. Money Eating Mary (Karaoke Remix) (11:04)

Reviewed by on October 28, 2009

"The progressive nature of the music would seem to draw in many different metal genres, but 'Fea Jur' doesn’t as much surpass those articles as much as it takes the long way around."

St. Louis-based Lye By Mistake is a Cheshire cat. At once metal and jazz, jazz and metal, nothing is as it seems. Named after the horse in the movie “The Black Stallion,” the album provides a jumble of notes, like a thoroughbred on acid. Is it any good? Let’s explore…

The disc has many and varied influences. Metal and jazz stand out, but digging deeper there is free form, noise, power metal, prog, fusion, classic metal, and good ‘ole rock ‘n’ roll. The key to Lye By Mistake’s formula, however, is that all of these elements are merely tools in the box, pulled out at a whimsy and then thrown across the room. Whether it is the jazz-fusion crescendo of the opening “Big Red Button,” the repeated descent into fret board madness on “The Condition,” or the blues-country base on “Vanguard to Nowhere,” nothing sticks much longer than a few instants. Each element is used and cast aside almost immediately like a single sock looking for a partner.

The progressive nature of the music would seem to draw in many different metal genres, but “Fea Jur” doesn’t as much surpass those articles as much as it takes the long way around. Dream Theater’s pyrotechnics make repeated, if short, visits, as do Opeth’s neo-metal wanderings. Porcupine Tree’s soft edges pop in and out, and Pain of Salvation’s mild-veneer-covering-dissonant-underbelly is merely waved at. Fans of any of those bands should bring a helmet.

Sometimes the music is a straight jazz tune that is distorted to hell and played at double speed, and other times it is a deconstructed metal riff slowed to quarter time, filling the space with seemingly unrelated notes. As with most music of this type the moments of lucidity are shining beacons, but they also make infrequent appearances. There is a fantastic path to heaven on “Invincible Bad Ass” but the song abruptly ends before we reach the clouds.

After listening to this album at least a couple dozen times maybe half of it makes any sense, and that is a best-case scenario. But after another couple dozen listens a few more pieces of songs will start to gel in the brain, and then “Fea Jur” will really start to get good.

Highs: “Vanguard to Nowhere” builds from free-form nonsense into a lyrical jazz-metal romp.

Lows: It takes significant brainpower to get through this one all in one piece.

Bottom line: If you like spending lots of time and really getting inside the music, then this album is for you.

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)