I was amazed by Ahleuchatistas when I first was lucky enough to see them at AMC 2004, but their album goes just as far showcasing their Primus-like spurning of traditional chord and time structures. Allowing for a high amount of continuity between “Cracked Teeth” and “Ecstasy Combat Boots”, Ahleuchatistas are impressive any way one sees the band, whether it be the Neil Peart like bass lines of Derek or the drums of Sean. The force inherent in each of these tracks is reminiscent of the “And Justice For All” instrumental interludes; Ahleuchatistas may not be a “metal” band but the fury and emotional intensity of their music is equivalent to the average metal band. Many bands attempt the instrumental thing and fail completely; Ahleuchatistas can successfully incorporate influences as diverse as the Minutemen, Husker Du, Deep Purple, and MIRV without vocals and still keep listeners enthralled with their offbeat, quirky brand of music.
The brooding nature of a track like “Lee Kyang Hae” shows a continually changing viewpoint held by Ahleuchatistas, never allowing their audience to get bored with their music. The bombastic, machine-gun like drumming of Sean provides the perfect pick-me-up to those moments when the tempo of the disc begins to flag. “The Day the Earth Stood Still” uses some more-traditional arrangements and tempos to keep the disc strong in its later stages. The only foreseeable complaint with “The Same and the Other” is the fact that each of the disc’s 12 tracks end abruptly – there may be an overall feel to the entire disc but each track is entirely new, traversing a lot of the same ground. What may be something for the band to look into, even if they feel as if “the beauty of this record is that the absence of lyrics allows the listener to do it all on their own” would be to insert some sound clips, some speeches, hell even some facts in the space in-between songs.
Ahleuchatistas are able to expertly transfer the energy and soul that they exhibit on the stage, even if they have left out the random noises and grunts of Sean (to be honest, I actually think they should allow those to stay on the disc). They are probably the only band currently creating music that could pull off doing a totally instrumental disc, and this is not only because they are virtuosos with their instruments – it has more to do with their purpose in creating an instrumental CD than anything. They don’t strut and show off during “The Same and the Other”; rather, they put the impetus on the listener.
Top Tracks: The Day the Earth Stood Still, Ecstasy Combat Boots
Ahleuchatistas – The Same and the Other / 2004 NFI / http://www.ahleuchatistas.com / http://www.nfilabel.com / Reviewed 19 January 2005