(All Album Reviews by jlneudorf)
Greg Massi, founder of the eclectic bands Maudlin of the Well and Kayo Dot, is back with his new project Baliset. Their first album, A Time For Rust, was released in March, 2009. Massi, who provides guitars, keyboards and vocals, is a superb musician and wrote all eight songs. Joining Massi are Adam Letourneau (drums, percussion, vocals), Lauren Flaherty (vocals), T.L. Conrad (bass), John Battema (keyboards), Forbes Graham (trumpet) and Jim Fogarty (piano, keyboards).
I found this to be a really interesting album, and for those of you searching for something a bit different, it would be well worth checking out. This is another one of those discs that is difficult to categorize as the music draws from a variety of genres including rock, metal, pop, jazz and art rock. While Massi's music has an eccentric quality it is also very melodic. The compositions are richly varied, often exhibiting quieter passages and metallic guitar riffs, which should keep listeners engaged throughout the course of the CD. One of the highlights for me is the guitar work of Massi. He is an excellent player, showcasing heavy metal riffage, shred-like leads and melodic acoustic rhythms.
"These Moments Are…" opens the disc with melodic guitar passages before crashing drums and heavy guitar riffs take the listener by surprise. "A Time For Rust" has a mellow beginning but quickly breaks into metallic riffs creating a dense wall of sound which unfortunately buries the lead vocals, a problem that occurs occasionally during the course of the CD. "Machinery Listens To Love" is a short instrumental of moody keyboards creating a dream-like atmosphere. Perhaps the album's best song is "Black Light Moon", where languid lead guitar and dreamy atmospherics intermingle with quiet passages of acoustic guitar and nice background harmonies. Another highlight is the progressive "Dreamflesh", a masterful slice of art rock featuring layers of edgy guitar creating an aural assault on the senses. A ripping guitar solo completes the picture. "The Echo Box" is the album's last song and also the longest at over fifteen minutes. The first five minutes are absolutely stunning as Massi's guitar work is a highlight reel of chugging riffs, textured rhythms and dynamic leads. Acoustic guitar and softer keys add quieter moments, and the lead vocals of Flaherty are excellent. My only complaint is the five minutes of droning noise that make up the middle portion of the song. I suppose it demonstrates Massi has not lost touch with his avant-garde roots.
Aside from the fact the lead vocals were hard to hear at times and the slight mishap with the last track, this is an excellent album and one I enjoyed very much. A Time For Rust has a certain eclectic charm and is an album I think many fans of progressive music will appreciate.