Saturday, 20 October 2018

FRONTIERER

BandFRONTIERER
GenresPunk / Chaotic Hardcore / Metalcore / Tech-Metal / Math-Metal / Noise / Experimental
Related artistsSectioned, We, A Dark Orbit, When Knives Go Skyward, Mountains Under Oceans and Godhole.
CountrySCOTLAND
Years Active2011-present
Song: "Tumoric"
Album: "Unloved"
Year: 2018
For fans ofTony Danza Tap Dance Extravaganza, Ion Dissonance, Psyopus, Coarse, The Chariot, Meshugga, Acacia Strain, Ed Gein, The Sawtooth Grin, Destroyer Destroyer, Botch, Deadguy, The End, Into The Moat, Between The Buried And Me, Cephalic Carnage, Engineer, The Red Chord, Unearth, .Crrust, Thumbscrew, Sectioned and The Dillinger Escape Plan.
Label(s): Self Released
This post's artist is from the October 2018 Mix. This is track #4.
You can download: the October 2018 Mix#10 right here or get the new November 2018 Mix#11 here.

FRONTIERER is a band from both Scotland and Missouri which looks as if it began as a project between multi-instrumentalist Pedram Valiani and vocalist Chad Kepper that eventually expanded and absorbed more members from another band called Sectioned. They have released thrice since their 2011 inception with their most recent 'Unloved' garnering a lot of attention and for just reason. I think describing their sound isn't all that hard, although duplicating it would be nearly impossible. I have been telling my friends, "Do you like Psyopus and the ridiculous lazer guitars of Tony Danza Tap Dance Extravaganza? Yes? Well then, fuck, you're gonna love FRONTIERER." It's a digital dystopia, and it is not something to bob your head to. This is high-level, unstable, experimental, sonically crippling, tech-metal shit right here.

The aforementioned debut release was digital EP titled 'The Collapse', which is the first of two releases created by only two people, which is fucking crippling for my brain to comprehend. This particular release is most heavy on the Psyopus influence, from what I can tell, as there are heaps more noodling and single notes mashed together in a riff frenzy. This is pretty noticeable on all tracks, but is especially obvious on the opener "The Collapse", a rip-roaring opener that literally has set the tone for the rest of their stellar catalogue, as well as that ridiculous midsection of "The Ascension". There are definitely indications early on that FRONTIERER was moving into the sci-fi sounds as a large makeup of their musical identity, but it is perhaps a little less obvious generally although jamming tracks such as "The Spiral" (my personal favourite), "The Override" and "The Swarm". One very helpful thing about this EP is that no song surpasses the three-minute mark, making it a short and concise listen, albeit not as mature in the production department as their later efforts. What am I trying to say? Sick debut.

'Orange Mathematics' followed two years later and still boasted but two members creating a swirling, cacaphonous concoction of poisonous, mathy, experimental metal/hardcore. The first thing I noticed here was the much deeper and honed recording and production on this release, as it sounds so much more full while still enabling the listener to pick out all of those mindboggling shifts. As per usual they open it with a straight-up banger in "Bunsen", laying waste to the speakers in just 2:08 thanks to an unraveling, violent close. The band's focus on peculiar/original guitar wankery becomes apparent on the second track, as "Cascading Dialects" includes a few examples of the music transforming into controlled noise, like the revving of an engine or the likely sound of intergalactic spaceships firing upon one another. This record truly pushes the envelope and is an obvious and telling precursor to their fantastic 2018 effort, taking those weird sounds and deliberating forcing them to their absolute extremes. Tracks such as "The Digital Tarpit", "Helium Vat", "Bleak", "Delorean Trails", "Exposure & Aperture", "Mt. Swath" and "Crystal Turbine" are perplexing in scope and delivery, but it is that mental stimulation that opens the mind to some truly unique and enthralling tunes. You've even got your electronic dance jam in "IALCCA" and a revamped version of "The Collapse" but my personal favourite is the absolutely bananas "Evil Dermis" and the utter insanity that spews forth from a minute and a half onward.  Listening to all 16 tracks in a row may put you into a coma, but at least you can't say that they shortchanged you.

It wasn't until this year when 'Unloved' was released that I heard about FRONTIERER, which stood out to me immediately due to the sick art. I then saw "for fans of Psyopus" so I immediately checked it out as that comparison isn't made often and I love me some Psyopus. I was blown away, as right away FRONTIERER goes right for the jugular with "Tumoric", a song boasting that any hopes of the band "chilling out" are flat out not happening. The relation in sound to bands such as Ion Dissonance, Psyopus and most obviously Tony Danza Tap Dance Extravaganza are blatantly apparent, but incorporated in a way that is both complimentary as well as evolutionary. "Gower St." is a riot and even includes one of the only repetitive vocal lines in any FRONTIERER song, making it the closest thing to "catchy" that I can pin. That being said, there are also a plethora of instrumental system shocks that will stun you not just on the first listen, but on every listen, which is a hell of a feat. Most tracks are like a honed lazer beam capable of leveling entire cities, utilizing a myriad of unorthodox but very effective methods to engage the listener whilst simultaneously annihilating them. A prime example is "Bombgnasher", which sounds like a car losing control and the subsequent destruction of a multi-car collision during its final minute, making it once of the most experimental but also accessible listens as it is, like a carcrash, mesmerizing in a haunting kind of way. I wouldn't exactly call any of the songs soft, but there are "lighter" moments, such as the opening of "Heartless 101", the guitars early on in "The Sound Of The Dredge In Deathcount Woods" (although directly after Dr. Manhattan shows up and rips the song apart from a subatomic level) and the electronic second-half of "Neon Barnacle" are the closest things you're going to find.

So I have but one issue with FRONTIERER, and that is overstimulation. This music is intense to say the least, and listening to a song usually makes me smarter but also destroys a small section of my brain. If the more recent records were, say 8-10 tracks I would be able to probably run through it and experience it as a complete album, but when I'm trying to absorb 14-16 tracks that generally run almost five minutes in length my brain overloads and has to shut down. I think it'd be sick to see a 10-song LP every three years with a split or two in between, sharing the tracks amongst more than a single release and giving the listener something a tad more digestable. But I mean, considering the musical style this probably isn't something they're going for. Plus, I'm not in the band so they probably shouldn't listen to me.

Regardless of my album length qualms, FRONTIERER is fucking sick and I expect the next release to propel me into the future via the true sound of lightspeed.

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DISCOGRAPHY

2013 - The Collapse digitalLP (stream/donate/download here)

2015 - Orange Mathematics cd/2x12"LP (stream/donate/download here)

2018 - Unloved cd/12"LP (stream/donate/download here)

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(2018) FRONTIERER - "Gower Street" (from 'Unloved')

(2018) FRONTIERER - "Bombgnasher" (from 'Unloved')

(2018) FRONTIERER - "Darkside Moonstroll" (from 'Unloved')

(2015) FRONTIERER - "Evil Dermis" (from 'Orange Mathematics')

(2015) FRONTIERER - "Tunnel Jumper" (from 'Orange Mathematics')

(2013) FRONTIERER - "The Spiral" (from 'The Collapse')

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FRONTIERER additional links
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