[Sumerian Records, 2018]
Intro: Giannis Voulgaris
29 / 12 / 2018
Mestis is the solo project of Javier Reyes, the second guitarist of Animals as Leaders, and this is their second full-length release after Polysemy in 2015. I wasn’t aware of their existence until I got their album in my hands and I was very curious to hear their music, simply because Reyes is a great guitar player. The band was founded in 2012 and has released an EP and a full-length, where the drums were played by Matt Gartska, also member of Animals as Leaders. Family affair, that is. In Eikasia, however, there is a change in line-up this time. Here, bass is played by Joe Lester and drums by the guitarist (?!?!?) Dave Timnick, both members of Intronaut.
A solid, modern jazz-meets-progressive release
Many side projects act as the means of releasing songs and ideas that were not good enough to be part of the core discography of main bands. I had this fear when I started listening to Eikasia. Fortunately, however, I was proven wrong.
Reyes has the cleverness to completely differentiate from the style of Animals as Leaders and consequently from the comparison with Abasi. From the very first track of the album, El Mestizo, you understand that the overall sound will be more relaxed and allegro. Mestis play this modern blend of jazz / fusion music with eight-string guitars and a latin mood spread across all songs. Here it is obvious that Reyes has the absolute freedom to lead the songs with his melodies, without the rhythmic frenzy of Animals as Leaders and, of course, the guitarist wall he builds along with Abasi. Even though fusion is indeed the key element and the technique is at a very high level, almost all of the tracks have a smoothness that makes the album a must listening experience with headphones. It is most likely that guitar music in the future will be like this, with the guitar leading, but also the others co-starring as the rhythmic variations are a basic element of this style of instrumental music.
The tracks are all short in duration and the record flows smoothly, with Media Noche being my personal favorite. Sedoza and Eikasia are also great, kinda more straightforward and progressive rock in places, reminding me of King Crimson. What I did not understand is the outro (Plato), where for about 6 minutes an electronic voice narrates something that incomprehensible. It really does not add anything to the record.
A very good release from Sumerian Records, especially for those who love guitar music, as well as those who find the music of modern jazz-meets-progressive rock / metal bands particularly interesting.
8 / 10