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Canvas Solaris - Penumbra Diffuse

Label: Sensory
Format: CD
Released: 2006
Reviewed By: Kevin Alba

Break out your technical umbrella because some of the genre's Gods like Cynic, Voivod, and Spiral Architect are about to unleash a storm that only a few can handle known as Canvas Solaris. Drawing influence from the above mentioned bands among others, Canvas Solaris offers up an interesting platter of instrumental technical metal unlike anything I have ever heard before.


"Penumbra Diffuse" is the second full length release from the U.S. trio. The album opens up with the fast paced ‘Panormaic Long-Rage Vertigo’ which to me sounds like a massive ball of confusion. This song runs in alot of directions and reminds me of something from the Dillinger Escape Plan which is not too appetizing. Things get better with the second track ‘Horizontal Radiant’ clocking in at 11 plus minutes. This song has more structure and direction, it is also a lot more calmer than the previous one with a lot of jazz influence breaks. Nice passages had me in a relaxed state of mind, I could close my eyes and imagine floating around in outer space. Very cool stuff.

‘Accidents in Mutual Silence’ is a faster track featuring some really sharp lead guitar work. Crunchier than a Nestle bar I am digging what I am hearing here. ‘Vaihayasa’ goes back to calm territory and draws a major Middle Eastern influence as I imagine migrating across an Egyptian desert. ‘To Fracture’ is thrashy in a jazzy state of mind, a very unique sounding track. If you take away the Jazz early on in the song and listen to the metal being played you can most def hear some old school metal with Metal Church “Blessing in Disguise” era. Halfway through the track a smooth progressive passage is incorporated before the heaviness picks up again. ‘Psychotropic Resonance’ is an interesting track is it is very calm with frantic moments in between. During the calm odd sounds are present making me feel like I was just abducted by aliens and they are doing experiments on me, this is some really out there stuff. ‘Luminescence’ closes out the album at 12 minutes on the button and it is another track like the second one in which you can close your eyes and let the song take you away. The guitars kick in a bit around the 5:20 mark and shortly after the keyboard and guitar structures remind me of something off the latest album from the awesome Pagan's Mind. The song stays calm until around the 10 minute mark in which it starts to pick up again. The last 40 seconds of the song close out with an Iron Maiden like guitar harmony bringing the journey to an end.

Overall this album was an experience, definitely for the more intellectual listener. If your musical tastes include Spiral Architect, Cynic, Don Caballero, Dillinger Escape Plan, Zero Hour, Voivod, and King Crimson than chances are this album offers something for you. Some of this is hard to understand so listen to it with an open mind and see where it takes you.

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