Reflux Illusion of Democracy
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1. Above The Pyramid and The Eye MP3
2. Thoughts Dictate Reality
3. An Ode To The Evolution of Human Consciousness
4. The Sudden Realization...
5. ...Of What You Were Missing
6. -==- [*]
7. Single File To Bliss
8. There's No Sunlight In My Cubicle
9. The Keats Persona
The Illusion of Democracy is a record where short attention spans need not apply. Over the course of about an hour and eleven tracks total, Washington D.C. act Reflux play at length and in depth, with lyrics that are as volatile as their musical output.
Bolting out of the gate with the supercharged thrust of "Above the Pyramid and The Eye," the song is a strong, but somewhat straight forward metalcore tune that thankfully avoids predictability by taking noisy, yet spirited breaks and dipping into extended trippy jams, the latter of which dominate the record. That freeform element is one of the main saving graces of The Illusion of Democracy and keeps Reflux from being lumped in with your average "melodic metal band with breakdowns" bunch. The following cut, "Thoughts Dictate Reality" is a dancefloor ready track through the bulk of its near eight minute girth, but is sandwiched between an almost indie rock intro and a closing display of six string prowess that had my jaw on the floor. "The Sudden Realization..." finds Reflux experimenting with electronics, while its companion, "...Of What You Were Missing" is prime post hardcore with jagged, metallic edges. "-==-[*]" is an avant-garde jazzy instrumental, before another couple mosh worthy tunes in "Single File to Bliss" and "There's No Sunlight in My Cubicle" kick in. A double dose of wordless audio weirdness follows, with the intense closer, "Modern Day Babylon" bringing things to a beautiful, bloody finish with a nice combo of interlaced piano, sing along opportunities galore and an epic breakdown.
A huge part of what makes Reflux not only good, but memorable, is that their immense technical talents do not undermine a dedication to cohesive and flat-out catchy numbers. They don't dumb things down, but Reflux do succeed in maintaining musical bravado, filled with awe-inspiring moments from each member of the band, but also harbor the desire to produce sounds that will have kids bouncing off the walls of their rooms and clubs for quite some time. Of course, I can't say enough good things about everyone's contribution to The Illusion of Democracy. From Ash Avildsens' fury filled vocal delivery, to Evan Brewers' remarkable bass playing, as well as the hurricane like drumming skills of Vincent Vinh and the absolutely incredible guitar work from Tosin Abasi.
In terms of sound quality, the production from Andreas Magnusson (of Scarlet fame) is stellar, while the layout, courtesy of Stephen Juliano, is worth a look, especially for the two pages of quotes from famous movers and shakers of this last century.
Bottom Line: As I stated in the beginning, The Illusion of Democracy is not for those challenged in the patience department, and that may be this records primary downfall at times. There were instances where I felt Reflux tried to cram a few too many styles, riffs, ideas into a minute and it didn't always work, at least for me. I slowly became more acclimated to the bands schizophrenic tendencies over time, with things flowing much better. Yet many listeners may find this obstacle to burdensome to bother with. I still believe Reflux needs to work on this, but if The Illusion of Democracy is any indication, their future is sure to be lined with success.
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