Drummer/composer Vicken Hovsepian is fresh from the release from his jubilant debut, Seek The Sun. This new EP sees Hovsepian demonstrating a certain kind of musical prowess that is often absent in first releases. Nevertheless, he and his wildly talented hired guns have crafted a refreshing and energetic assembly of vibrant tunes. Seek The Sun aims high with a spectrum of instruments and melodies and nails the mark.
Given my general uneasiness towards prog music I was hesitant about what might unfold… However even in the first song I was immediately dazzled and reassured by the docile lows and powerful highs. The tone in “Consumed By Sky” is ebullient and lively, effectively removing the musical arrogance that normally turns me off from the genre.
The beautiful decrescendo of “Consumed By Sky” makes for a perfect transition into the following track, “Engulfed By Sea.” This arrangement oozes Cynic worship, which is only further accentuated by the harmonious, Paul Masvidal-esque vocals. Additionally, the guitar’s oscillating string harmonics add to the song’s hypnotizing and inventive traits. Mirroring the ocean waves described in the lyrics, “Engulfed By Sea” swells to an astonishing, shore-crashing finale.
Almost as if Hovsepian intentionally arranged the tunes to follow a sequence, the geography of the EP plunges even deeper with, “The Abyss.” In its beginning measures, the dynamic bass lines provide mesmerizing grooves that gorgeously pair with the lively hi-hat use. Soon after, we’re introduced to a different vocalist, instead with baritone chops that utilize an almost breathy, crooning tone; they provide a perfect parallel for the song’s solemn and spectral timbre. Between all this, however, Hovsepian still finds space to sneak in some fleeting blast beats!
Finally, the title track lunges forward with razor-sharp modern metal riffs and speedy drum patterns. While the material on the first minute alone has enough flair for an entire song, monotony doesn’t seem to be in Vicken’s wheelhouse! Instead the music then opens up space for a stunning, elegant piano passage. The isolated keys make for an enthralling contrast as the previous song’s vocalist makes a resurgence to longingly beckon listeners to “Seek The Sun.”
This EP is the exact opposite of repetitive. Because each passage is so tastefully short-lived, you’re guaranteed to return for more listens as I compulsively have. Each song is outfitted with mature, clean guitar work, dazzling bass expertise, and truly outstanding percussion. Vicken Hovsepian seizes the maximum amount of range in a tight, 20-minute runtime that is as adventurous as it is ambitious.
Album artwork by Sevag Mehterian
Photography by Ashley Maietta