I’ve been typing stuff for my thesis all day, so I’m all typed-out. I’ll keep this brief. Right at the beginning of last year we had the fantastic T.R.A.M. release a great metal-jazz fusion album. Well … mostly jazz with some metal influence. I somehow missed the release of Cthulhu Rise’s 42 mid last year.
I feel like there was a time back in the mid 90’s when bands really nailed a great mesh of jazz and metal. There was Naked City, Iceburn, etc and a small wave in the 2000’s with The Mass, Exivious, and such. I’ve been in constant search for anything from the past few years that will satisfy my craving for this style which was essentially my gateway to metal.
Cthulhu Rise have done it! They get that balance perfect. Despite listing a bunch of bands that “do this style,” it really is quite a difficult feat in my mind. You have to be heavy enough and include enough metal to really get that edge. But the bands that do this usually go too far and don’t have the right jazz sensibilities. The jazz-style solos usually fall flat in mere imitation of great jazz solo artists.
On the other side you have bands that really have the jazz idiom down. But these fall flat on the metal side. This album is totally fascinating and engaging start to finish. It is true that some songs fall more on the metal side and some on the jazz side, but as an overall album it hits a great balance. There is a lot of great, creative writing on here.
As you’d guess with a band named Cthulhu Rise they have some weird synth sounds that create an eerie atmosphere which works perfectly with their fusion style. There are mixed meters and extended chromatic tonalities everywhere. They even sometimes have some jazz minimalist influences which sound like they could be from Nik Bärtsch’s Ronin.
If you’ve been like me and looking for great jazz-metal fusion, then look no further. I don’t even hesitate to give this a 9.5/10. I love it!
Here’s a sample: