Genre: Technical Groove Metal
Number of Tracks: 12
Sounds Like: Meshuggah
Key Tracks: Static Motion, Obsolete Zero, Closer than Contact, Acres of Space, On Starless Nights
Favorite Track: Acres of Space
Overall Rating: 9.7/10
Kinetik are a 4-piece tech metal band hailing from California. They released their first full-length feature Heavier Elements earlier this year, and it is an uncompromising combination of complex rhythms, massive riffs and a sound that is guttural and yet spacious. The sheer rhythmic power of Heavier Elements grabs your attention, but it's a combination of the musicianship and that huge sound that really keeps you listening right till the end of the album.
The sound of this album is thick and tight and yet vast and spatial, like a tempest in space. It's diverse and dynamically variant, writhing and fluid, and it gives the impression that the music is almost alive, feral even. It incorporates a good mix of stylistic choices, the use of synthesiser sounds goes a long way to illicit that spatiality that was mentioned earlier, and there is a Jazzier hint within the structure which really sets off the rhythmic groove of the album.
Heavier Elements is not an easy album to listen to if you're looking for something light and frothy and to be honest I suspect this is rather the point, but if you give it the time and attention that it deserves then it is something really, face meltingly excellent.
Key tracks on this album are :
The opener for the album, it really sets you up for the experience and really comes out of the blue, starting off with essentially a huge dynamic shift, within the opening moments it punches you in the face with everything that is great about this album.
Arguably more technical than Static Motion, although that is debatable. This track lifts into a great section which highlights some of the more melodic side to Kinetik and it shows a little of the diversity that encompasses the whole album.
Closer than Contact:
This track is just brutal. It's like being beaten around the head by a giant metal fist, that is not to say that it is not excellent – It really is, and it is a really heavy moment on the album.
Acres of Space:
Honestly, this is my favourite track on the album. Opening with a killer bass riff, it shows a real tightness and technicality, even beyond what you would expect for a band like Kinetik. It just oozes groove and style. It provides a needed break from the heavier sections of the album, it does however beef up towards the end before falling back into that excellent bass groove.
On Starless Nights:
The closer, this track almost feels like a twin to Static Motion, albeit somewhat up-tempo, it's a genuine gem with which to top of the album, rounding everything good about the previous tracks and winding it to a satisfying and complete close.
In conclusion, Kinetik's Heavier Elements is a sublime mixture of brutish riffs and vast-open sounds woven together by some very technical and proficient playing, providing both complexity and excellence in abundence. As earlier said, it's not necessary the most easily accessible album, if you're looking for something light and bubbly, this is probably not your album, but if you appreciate the subtleties and complexities of music, I absolutely could not recommend Heavier Elements any more. If you happen to be from around San Francisco, I would also recommend trying to get to see Kinetik live.