I’ve always been a big fan of instrumental music. Long before bowed my knee at the altar of metal, I used to sneak home from school early – mainly because it was quicker to walk the quarter of a mile in a straight line through the park than take the school bus which went halfway ‘round the town to go the same distance (and, besides, you could spend the few pennies you saved on lollies!) – to grab a wee listen of my dad’s ancient Jet Harris singles before he got home from work… unfortunately, he never quite got the hang of the Sixties blues revolution, so I had to wait (quite a few) years to catch up in that regard…
Unfortunately, in more recent years…. Maybe it was all the fault of the progressive rock movement – no, scratch that, it IS Rick Wakeman’s fault – but I have found that the terms ‘instrumental’ and ‘rock’ have not been comfortable bedfellows, with the results tending to veer from the outright boring to the needlessly pretentious, with narry the pair meeting.
However, in recent years, an increasing number of bands have made it almost impossible to ignore the power of purely instrumental performances: acts such ASIWYFA and Russian Circles, who have made them interesting again, bringing a combination of musical excellence and well-crafted songwriting ability to the genre. Now you can add the name of Limerick’s excellent young guns Dark Matter to the lengthening short list of bands proving that ‘instrumental’ and ‘exciting’ can be conjoined in the same sentence.
Like a storm than crashes from the majesty of the Atlantic Ocean onto the foreboding cliffs of western Ireland, ‘The Persistence Of Memory’ is suitably dark and introspective, yet with moments of clarity piercing through the density of the forbidding cloudbase like Spartan spears massed before the might of the advancing Persian hordes (yes, I know I’m mixing my geographical and historical metaphors…).
The most obvious reference point is Dream Theater, especially in the aforementioned combination of light and dark and the use of layered guitars and keyboards, but influences as diverse as Pink Floyd, Opeth, Mastodon and Rush are also present in an album that, while built on basic harmonies that capture your attention right way, is entrancing and complex, and is rewarded by multiple listens to explore its depths.
1. Abstract State Machine
2. Compression Syndrome
3. The Persistence Of Memory
4. Gates Of Salvation
5. Broken Mirrors
6. 9 Circles
7. Reversion Therapy
9. Planetary Collapse
‘A Place Of Memories And Ghosts’ is out now and available from the band’s website: http://darkmatter.bigcartel.com/