Hesitant to really stretch out creatively

Progressive metal has definitely gained in popularity over recent years in Australia to the point where the form’s best known local exponents score regular slots at the high end of the sales charts, something that some of us would not have believed possible less than a decade ago.

With commercial acceptance of course comes a greater number of artists dipping their toes into the water and Carthasy is a band from Perth with one EP already behind them.

Unsurprisingly given their origin, Carthasy’s The Gyre invites immediate comparisons to Karnivool, and this is not unwarranted in the overall delivery and style and there are times when the vocals come hauntingly close to those of Ian Kenny. Nonetheless, this is perhaps a more coherent and focused album than Asymmetry, though in the end also a less interesting and diverse one. For while Carthasy weave in the occasional Isis-inspired post-rock sonicscape and the merest glimpse of Porcupine Tree, they seem hesitant to really stretch out creatively and a level of repetition begins to creep in to the song structure – something that a progressive band should really try to avoid. ‘Walls’ breaks this spell at first with the thundering chords of the opening riff but again the band seems to pull back at the exact moment they should do something bolder. To make things slightly more frustrating, a cover of the Sneaker Pimps’ ‘6 Underground’ is tossed in three quarters of the way through the tracklist. It’s not bad either, as such things go, but it doesn’t seem to serve much purpose other than to interrupt the flow of the album, which is long enough even without it.

Carthasy have a solid grasp of prog and The Gyre would certainly be a good starting point for those beginning to explore this type of music. Their influences still over-shadow them, however, and more ardent prog listeners would probably find this to be, overall, a little unsatisfying.

1. Ascent
2. Descent
3. Roche
4. Dresden
5. Endorphin
6. The Gyre
7. Walls
8. 6 Underground
9. Garnet
10. Echoburst
11. Filters