After releasing their debut alpha-beta last year, a single 45-minute track and accompanying video of unadulterated technical death metal ferocity, Montréalers krokmitën decided that the only way they could one-up themselves would be to do something completely different. The result is the only slightly more modest 10-minute EP, BWV565 Redux.
The EP consists (again) of exactly one track, the band's take on the classical organ piece Toccata & Fugue in D minor, BWV565. Though the authorship of this piece is in question, it is generally attributed to one of the most celebrated composers and organists ever, Johann Sebastian Bach. Even if you don't know the piece by name, the first few bars are immediately recognizable as that one really haunting and creepy organ piece you're probably thinking of right now.
And for the most part, krokmitën's interpretation of the piece is successful; they remain faithful to the original piece while still bringing in some fresh elements of their own, and I don't mean just the metal. Alternating between solo guitar cadenzas and full-on metal paces the piece quite well; their selective emphasis of certain sections actually does a good job of keeping the listener's focus throughout the still-lengthy piece. In addition, the technical proficiency of all of the band members is quite clear, though the lead guitarist of course stands out for the ridiculous ability required to play the organ parts in the first place. Bach wasn't an organist known for his simplicity, nor his brevity.
The only real issue with this track is that it sounds a bit forced at times. Allow me to explain: because the piece was originally a solo work, there are some moments in krokmitën's take where the other instruments feel a bit tacked-on. The guitar is really the only instrument carrying the original solo line, so the embellishment from the other instruments, especially the drums, can feel like they were put in as afterthoughts, or shoehorned in to make sure the whole piece wasn't just one instrument. To a degree, it is a necessary side effect resulting from the nature of the piece, but it does have a noticeably detrimental effect at some points. Of course, this is a very minor complaint; the whole of the piece is still fantastic.
This is an absolutely wonderful piece of music and one of the few successful classical crossovers I've had the joy to hear. It's also free to download from the band's website, so all fans of tech death or progressive metal should give this piece a listen.
8.5 / 10
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