Mapping the Void is out now. The album was released independently by the band. More information can be found here.
I've been mulling this review for over a week now. Let me start by stating two facts:
Musically, the 5 piece from nearby (to me) Hastings, MI is modern metal with a lot of other influences thrown in. There are some similarities with Tool. There are some progressive influences. There is some thrash. There is a touch of metalcore. I could go on. There is not much in the way of extreme metal going on, but that's ok too.
In terms of message, this album holds much more with the world of punk and hardcore than most of metal. The album is aggressively political, an attribute I quite enjoy. To me, 6 Prong Paw is most comparable to System of Down. Both are highly political bands from a base of modern metal with a variety of other influences worked in. With that said, they don't actually sound like System of a Down. The sound is actually quite hard to define. Generally speaking, this is a good thing. They are innovators in the genre.
Well, let's get into the actual album. There are eight tracks on Mapping the Void. The first track, The Movement, and the last track, Broken Structure Eulogy represent an introduction and conclusion to the album, and are essentially samples to hammer the anti-corporate, anti-government home. In terms of message, they are necessary parts of the whole, but they bring nothing musically innovative to the table.
The 1% is the first true song on the album. The song starts with aggressive guitars and drums. When the vocals first hit, they have an Eastern music feel to them for a brief period before Nick Williams kicks in with his signature vocal stylings. His attack is a diverse blend of near clean, but harsh edged singing to barks to screams. By the middle of the song, the tonalities of the guitars are jumping back and forth between aggressive but musical riffing to a very discomfiting high pitched attack.
Monarchy and the Crowspiders is next. The angry build up picks up where the prior track left off. Nick channels some Maynard James Keegan in the flow of his vocals through the cleaner parts. As is par for the course throughout the album, the Josh Moore on drums gives an aggressive attack rooted in bedrock solidity. "I declare war on myself and humanity. Shame on you for your ignorant concepts." yells Williams about three minutes in. These guys are not holding back.
My favorite track is up next. Seth Earl and Dustin Cook on guitar, along with Chad Rabideau on bass, create a buzzing wall on which the message of Terrorist of Consciousness to hang. "I reject the useless politicians!" We are being called up to rise up with the band to battle our own consciousness from being force fed lies by media and society.
Computer God Frankenstein throws in some industrial influences. Why not? So far the experimenting has been going well. This track is slower pace, but continues to blend concordant and discordant sounds to keep the listener both uncomfortable and engaged.
Sign-Feld is another great track, this time dedicated to damage the television is doing to us. We are sheep, mindlessly consuming what the box tells us to consume. The Tool influence is very clear in this track as well, as is a keen sense of satire.
I Met the Devil wraps up the true songs on the album. Here again, the pace is slower. We are given more of a controlled simmer than a boiling rage, and left to wonder when the dish will boil over. I will leave it to you to determine the identity of the devil the band refers to.
Overall, this is a solid album with lots to like both musically and in their message. Its refreshing to see a metal band take such a straightforward approach to the issues in society. So much of the scene has moved onto other things.
Final call - 3.5/5 (Very Good)
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