I really wish I could describe Argentinian three-piece Random's sound to you. Their Facebook page lists their genre as 'extreme prog metal,' but that label could cover any band from Meshuggah to early Anacrusis. I could describe them as 'avant-garde' metal, but that label gets used to describe every band from Ved Buens Ende to maudlin of the Well to the freaking Diablo Swing Orchestra, so that's not exactly helpful, either. I guess the best way to describe their sound is...chaotic? Confusing? Unfettered? Ran—oh, wait. I see what you did there, lads. Well played.
In all seriousness, their sound on their first full-length album Todo.s los colores del is all over the board. With merely the opener, "Cachafaz," Random go from atonal grinding and beeping to an unabashedly happy, melodic chorus of 'la la la's,' and then right back to filtered, incomprehensible shouting, all without skipping a beat. It's as if the band sat down, looked at an itemized list of things that are never supposed to go together in a single piece of music, and then said 'here's what we want this album to be like.' It sounds like the band took every single idea they had ever written, tossed them together, and then threw up their arms and said "fuck it, we'll fix it in post."
And you know what? The result is absolutely glorious.
For all of the crap I'm giving the band for making it hard to describe their sound, these guys are an amazing example of what happens when musical experimentation goes right. This album is unlike anything you are likely to have heard before. Sure, you can pick out traces of other artists here and there, but Random have crafted a musical niche so wholly unto themselves that they are literally peerless. The closest comparison I could draw is to Between the Buried and Me's opus Colors, as both bands exhibit traits of what I can only call ‘genrefuck.’ And yet, even that comparison is somewhat misleading—Random execute what on paper is a very similar idea in a radically different manner. On second thought, a better comparison could be made with Disillusion's sophomore album Gloria. Like Gloria, Todo.s los colores del takes what should be a tried and true formula and then bends it in such a simple, yet obtuse and unpredictable, way that not only will you be scratching your head wondering why no one has done it before, you'll be in awe of the new and confusing ways this band has forced you to listen to music.
I grant you, the core of the album is focused around death metal chugging. But even given that, Random don't stay in the same place for very long. Almost nowhere on this album do Random stick with a single musical idea for longer than a cursory sojourn. "Tururú" starts out with an incredibly heavy buildup, but it soon diverts into a chorus of ghostly 'oohs' and watery guitar textures—and that's not even halfway into the song. "Tarzan's Void" goes through explosive bouts of heavy thrash metal, only to be counteracted by the soft, soothing, folk-inspired string and vocal duet of the next track, "Cuando el blanco no es color." In fact, the only time Random seem to stay in any one place for a long period of time is on the transitional track "As Far As Impossible." Even then, it's still an unorthodox stylistic choice. It feels like an unusually heavy and uncomfortable post-rock buildup, repeating the same phrase with increasing intensity for the course of two and a half minutes.
If there's any complaint to be had against this album, it has to be with the clean vocals. They generally don't hold up well at all alongside the growling—you can hear the strain in places like the vocal solo in "Tururú" and the falsetto in "Elchi, John." They're not terrible on the album as a whole, mind you. The mellower pieces "As Far As Impossible" and “Cuando el blanco no es color” have some respectable vocal work. But the best moments undeniably come when the band focus on the harsher aspect of their vocals.
That's really a shame, because the band's instrumental capabilities otherwise are absolutely superb. No length was spared writing the instrumental parts on the album, and it really shows off the band's gifted musicianship. Everything from the guttural ambient screaming on "Tarzan's Void" to the dynamicism in "Tururú" to the tasty bass in “Meeting at Jabol” to the delicate, pastoral nature of "Cuando el blanco no es color" feels purposeful and fulfilling. The subtlety of reprising of "As Far As Impossible" during "Qualm" is my favourite part of the album; it feels incredibly well done, and it leads into one of the most cathartic moments on the album.
This is one of the most rewarding experimental metal albums I have ever heard; in fact, everything about it makes me absolutely happy to have heard it. These guys deserve more credit than I can give for creating an album so vastly different and engaging from anything I’ve heard before. It's only once in a blue moon that an a band who releases their music for free creates an album that can be legitimately considered an opus alongside the mainstream greats of a genre. I honestly see this album standing alongside other great progressive death metal albums like Death’s Symbolic or Gojira’s The Way of All Flesh. You absolutely must hear this album.
9.5 / 10
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