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Crashing Icons

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Album Review

First self-released in 2000, then given a wider release by ReR Megacorp in late 2003, Crashing Icons is Absolute Zero's first full-length album. The four extended tracks it presents have gone through many years of writing before reaching their final form. The extreme complexity of the music, the level of intricacy between bass, keyboard, and drums parts, the various outgrowths of the score and experimental/textural outbursts all account for the level of artistry that went into its creation. Not for the faint of heart, Crashing Icons requires several listens before one can start to make out recurring passages, and a few more for melodies to become familiar. The writing is so dense that it takes a while before you can actually decide whether you like it or not. But it is worth the effort. Enrique Jardines' bass playing is all over the place, from jazz walking to thunderous fuzz riffs and various strange effects that may or may not be bass-related. A legend of the Canterbury prog rock scene, drummer Pip Pyle waltzes through the difficult scores with apparent ease. Sandwiched between these two rapid-fire musicians, keyboardist Aislinn Quinn appears almost discreet. More chord-based and textural, her contribution is nevertheless riveting, although her singing lacks in power and feeling (and the generalized use of effects in her voice doesn't really supplement for that). The sound palette remains rather static throughout the album, and that may be the only criticism to make (beside the level of complexity, but that's a love-it-or-hate-it issue). In that regard, Keith Hedger's trumpet solo at the beginning of "Stutter Rock/You Said" is much welcome. Highlights abound but strangely, the opener "Bared Cross," states most of the band's musical message in the course of its 14 minutes. Everything else is just icing on the cake (although the closer "Suenos Sobre un Espejo" reveals a slightly harder side to the band). Recommended, but only to serious avant-progressive rock fans willing to commit. ~ François Couture, Rovi

Crashing Icons, Absolute Zero
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