Again I was browsing r/progmetal, looking for more good music. Sometimes I need a break from Haken and Ihlo, despite my continuing obsession with both. Luckily for me, someone had posted another song with cool album cover art: “Attack of the Great Worm”. Descriptions claimed the band had a sound similar to Haken’s, specifically The Mountain (which I lubbsss) but with less soulful bits and more delightful musical chaos! Intrigued, I hit play… and it really delivered. “Attack of the Great Worm” is a weird and endlessly creative song with plenty of heavy-bass and funky guitar riffs, sudden crescendos of sound, as well as sci-fi synths and a singer who puts a lot of drama into his clean, clear vocals. Everything I love. So I pulled up the album on Google. And oh joy to me!
Edge of Reality..? Who?
Edge of Reality does really cool “eclectic art metal”, essentially prog metal with even more bits of other musics tucked in, like jazz or folk chips in your prog-metal cookie. Delicious. It’s also just a huge cauldron of various sounds and styles, from super-heavy chugging to manic carnival-esque portions. It’s another band that seems determined to never get wedged into a specific sound, unless “all the sounds” is a classification. I guess “art (genre)” is the working catch-all for these, similar to Bent Knees being “art rock”.
From their Bandcamp, they describe themselves as follows: “Edge of Reality is an eclectic art metal band based in Nashville, TN that embodies a wide variety of influences and expresses both light-hearted narrative and thought-provoking concepts. They aim to inspire, to entertain, and to confuse through said influences, narrative, and concepts.”
You guys certainly nailed it. Like being turned on by a clown reciting the best prose you’ve ever heard.
And the album..?
This is a concept album, but the concept is pretty loose. Sci-fi ideas abound, but there’s also a number of songs on being human and emotions and problems with being a “hoomun” and stuff. You see, this album touches everything like a madly-capable kleptomaniac let loose in a music store. “Attack of the Great Worm” is very prog metal. “A Consultation” goes from electronica to rock to… other stuff. “Puzzle Man” gets that carnival surrealism going at a tempo that makes you feel a little antsy. “Bed of Lies” makes me think that “Cockroach King” and rap or hip-hop had a misbegotten love-child, and “Bohemian Rhapsody” might have been watching through the window. “Lovestruck” is part heavy saxophone jazz, gentle 50’s crooner background, and heavy metal goodness that is both dark and still romantic..?
Every song is like this – strange, surreal, hilarious, good. Clean vocals over ultimately heavy music makes me happy. It’s an hour twelve minutes of being joyfully slapped around. The kind of slapping you might actually like.
What’s the best about it?
So, the lyrics are a big highlight here. They’re a total trip. For example, the first song “Attack of the Great Worm” is, as you find out at the very end, all about a video game level. The very clear, “What the F*** am I supposed to do, they only gave me two?!” you hear partway through makes more sense in this context, in a way. They never give you everything you need to take down a boss in a good game!:
“Radiant cascade shine devour me
The beast is gone
I finished the campaign on normal difficulty”
This is by far the most “normal” prog-metal track on the album, and that’s saying something. I can’t believe how much I love it.
The vocals are also absolutely perfect. Jesse Brock gives great feeling and pacing to weird lyrics, really evoking the strange and heavy feeling that holds all the songs together. He is a master of adding little nuances to his singing; slight pauses, sliding slightly off-key on a held note to really up the tension, doing these strange little assents and descents, jamming 15 syllables into two seconds all of a sudden. He tends to a higher register, like Haken, Thank You Scientist and Ihlo, though not nearly as high as Leprous. His tone is warm and almost almost fuzzy. You want to hug him. Maybe that’s just me.
Beyond that, the sound quality is nice and high, and like most of my favorite bands’ albums, there’s an enormous amount of layering of instruments and effects that keeps things very interesting. It’s another album you’ll always be able to hear something new. The drums and bass are the music’s main thread, working well together to bring you back to the metal roots. Every other instrument seems determined to explore how many different sounds can be produced in a single album.
And despite changing back and forth between musical style at least once a minute, Edge of Reality still keeps their music together and it works. It’s a patchwork masterpiece that creates a whole better than any individual part. A really, really weird masterpiece. With a whole boatload of musical patches. Seriously. The scope is worth the listen alone.
I think the band deserves a medal for sheer ingenuity in putting so many things into an album that I still want to listen to for more than the sheer wtf-factor. It’s a really good album. I’ll listen because I enjoy the whole, not for lulz like Weird Al or even Alestorm (sorry guys!). This is real music with a catchy idea, not an idea shoved mercilessly into music.
So, it’s perfect..?
I DO wish the vocals were a little easier to hear at times; I had to look up 90% of the lyrics even when I paid attention. There’s just always so much going on. And this is another album where YOU NEED TO PAY ATTENTION BECAUSE SOUNDSSSSSS EVERYWHERRRRRREEE. So make sure you set aside an hour and twelve minutes where you’ll have the concentration to really give this your attention.
Unless you hate variety, try this!
If you like really, really consistent sound in an album, or if you have musical epilepsy triggered by too much stuff going on at any one time, maybe don’t pick this up. If you enjoy novelty (nay, genius!), multiple genres of music, enjoyed “The Mountain”, or just like hearing a lot of cool shit in one place, definitely take In Static for a spin. It’s both heavy and dense and lighthearted all at once and they earned a place in my musical heart. Thank you, Edge of Reality, for helping keep prog weird.