This is the first completely instrumental metal act that Iâ€™ve got my hands on. The tracks work really well for someone that is doing household chores, but there are only a few tracks that shine with any sort of intensity. Intensity does come during a track like â€œAccidents in Mutual Silenceâ€, but there still seems to be a few cobwebs present in Canvas Solarisâ€™ music. If one is looking for eclectic uses of styles and stop-start arrangements that will make one gasp in wonder, Canvas Solaris is the band to look for. There are quite a few interesting arrangements during â€œAccidentsâ€, but these are not the time when the bandâ€™s guitars get all noodly on us, but with the most simple and deadpan arrangements the band can muster.
With these arrangements, Canvas Solaris still comes up with enough new material to keep the album fresh. There seems to be some problem here even in the shortest tracks (for Canvas Solaris, this is about four minutes), where the band goes back to the same well one too many times on a track like â€œAccidentsâ€. I can understand the band going and changing things up a little bit if they do repeat, but far from just linking the track together, these repetitious pieces fail to lend much to the track after the fifth or sixth time heard. Canvas Solaris may just be the only metal band that easily comes to mind to actually use a bongo on their track, using it in a major way with â€œVaihayasaâ€. While I have no clue where the term comes from, â€œVaihayasaâ€ is nonetheless a fitting title for the track, which has an African/Middle Eastern sound to it that recalls Reza or Cheb I Sabbah.
By far, the most interesting of the tracks on â€œPenumbra Diffuseâ€ has to be â€œTo Fractureâ€, which has a certain heaviness to it that does not only come through a brutal set of arrangements, but through an emotional investment on the track that is shown through the soulful playing. The band seems to work better when they are not constrained by time; both the eleven-minute â€œHorizontal Radiantâ€ and the 7-minute â€œTo Fractureâ€ are some of the most memorable tracks that the band cuts on â€œPenumbra Diffuseâ€. Canvas Solaris is not a cheese-puff metal band with easily telegraphed guitar riffs and drums, but one actually has to listen in a number of times before taking in all that the band has to offer.
Top Track: To Fracture
Canvas Solaris â€“ Penumbra Diffuse / 2006 The Laserâ€™s Edge / 7 Tracks / http://www.canvassolaris.net / http://www.lasercd.com / Reviewed 24 January 2006