Sunday, March 29, 2015
Ketha - #!%16.7 (Ep) 
I've not ventured as far deep into this Ep as to understand the meaning behind its affably ungrammatical title, or the artistic nihilism behind the geometric anomaly of the cover art, a full-fledged banner of abstruse, almost kaleidoscopic triangles painted chrome-metal black, but judging by the nightmarish and unique penumbra offered by the music itself, I imagine there is some sort of vague, even philosophical statement about the conceptual preferences of these unfrazed Poles which have come to produce the second most inventive metal experience I've heard thus far in 2015 (first place goes to Solefald's latest). Certainly when you thought you couldn't devote another second to anything Meshuggah-related, these Poles come to seize the day with music more irrationally addictive than the title itself, a masterful performance straddling the straits of death, progressive, avatgarde, jazz, groove and 'math' metal for a price that's cheaper than a pack of cigarettes (€2, yo!) and a run-time that'll be over before you've even had your third fag.
Grooves. With a capital fucking 'G'. Ketha's got 'em, and they're not afraid to use the methodical precision of surgical math metal impetus is certainly immensely riveting, as they're played with spectacular staccato grooves during some of the more percussive moments of the Ep, something of a progressive metal fixation, or just on a more atmospheric basis when they're hoovering above the vocals. Songs like ''Multiverse'' or ''K-boom'' explode with such incendiary tempo patterns and hooking chords and mutes that they make comparisons to Meshuggah at once irresistible and equally difficult because the momentum here is something far more avantgarde in nature. The slugfest of rhythm guitars and bedecked with spiraling, dizzying segments of queer melody and effect-laden lead guitars, but there is an even more compelling feast of sounds and atmospherics manifested through the saxophones which blare vociferously throughout the Ep. The command of the sax over the groundwork is just huge; there is more to them than just arbitrary appearances like on a lot records as they display clear pungency for the majority of the disk, providing some of the best jazzy dissonance you'll hear anytime.
Guitar effects are certainly high in supply, with anything from the convulsive wah-wahs of ''Airdag'' to the fading, algebraic lead riff of the 36 second track ''3C 273'', but pianos, electronic influences, sheer industrialized punishment, saxes, rowdy radio voice-overs and trumpets are exerted at such rates of variety and unabashed playfulness that the Ep reaches Mr. Bungle levels of eccentricity, or CSSABA levels of tension, and that's no easy feat. The tracks are ridiculously short, the longest one being some two and a half minutes and the others ranging typically below the 1-minute mark, and they flow into each other like a meticulously adjoined potpourri of musical freakishness. And yet what a well-rounded offering it is... vocalist Maciej Janas appears occasionally, and harnesses the power of both deep death metal growls and some more distinguished, individual inflections that disperse themselves across the record at his will. And if you're asking about the drums; they're equally impressive, with enough fills and tenacity as any high-brow jazz performance.
12 tracks, each unique, and it's only fucking fault that it's too damn short. And like all other beautiful things, ''#!%16.7'' ends up biting its tail much too prematurely. Forget any other musical reservation you've made in recent times and purchase this, since your planned purchases are likely to be dross anyway. Tension. Trauma. Unprecedented, wallowing Lovecraftian evil in the form of the architectural aberrations witnessed by Arctic explorers in At The Mountains of Madness. Ketha don't care if you like Meshuggah or not, and they care less about your lighthearted opinions. There is evil abound; our only reconciliation is to fight evil with evil.