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(20:19, ‘Sumo Elevator’)
TRACK LIST: 1. Time Management 6:40 2. Additional Weight 4:43 3. Mark’s Nightmare 4:33 4. Fusion 4:23 LINEUP: Alex Furman – synthesizers Yevgeny Kushnir – guitar Mark Lekhovitser – bass Oleg Szumski – drums
Prolusion. Formed in 2007, Israel’s SUMO ELEVATOR has two outings to date, “Ho Muwa-ku” from 2008 and “Breakfast”, which was issued this year. The names of all four of the band members indicate that they (rather their parents perhaps) hail from the former USSR.
Analysis. According to the band itself, it is “an all-instrumental group of ex-metalheads, mixing prog-rock, metal, jazz, electronica and break-beat into intense atmospheric electro-fusion pop rock”, which is in many ways seen just as a set of terms, a pretty meaningless as well as misleading one. I’m not sure about break-beat or pop, but there are certainly no elements of jazz on this four-track output – perhaps the musicians confused those with synth effects that they produce randomly at times, such as on Mark’s Nightmare, a mono-dimensional piece of e-music, serene in mood, in spite of what its title suggests, unless it has a figurative meaning, hinting at the quality of the piece :-). The other tracks are all full-fledged compositions, albeit one of them has, to my mind, a misleading title too, namely Fusion, whose basic style is unmistakably Doom Metal, of a progressive variety. While almost equally depending on guitars and keyboards, the sound, with distorted riffs at its focal point, is very heavy, finding home in moderately-paced dark chord progressions that might bring to mind classic Threshold. Sans a very brief drum solo somewhere in the middle of the piece, the heaviness only disappears not long before its coda, replaced by what comes across as e-music with a real rhythm section instead of a programmed one. All in all, this is quite a remarkable composition, the best track here, I must add. Time Management alternates doom metallish arrangements with, well, much softer ones, those often combining art-rock and electronic devices, so the closest reference points would probably be Tool, Radiohead and Ozric Tentacles. The musicianship is pretty good, with slow yet at times quirky guitar stabs, warm bass playing and varied synthesizers and samplers, all embedded in simple yet still quite refined arrangements. What is more, the piece is, at least seems to be, very contrasting in nature due to changes in mood and structure. On the minus side, most of the following themes represent light variations on the preceding ones. Additional Weight has a lot in common with the previously described track, although it contains much fewer moves with heavy riffs as their basis, plus there are also some catchy melodies courtesy of Neo Progressive.
Conclusion. Overall, the band’s debut EP is hardly weightier than an okayish outing, considering its length, as well as the fact that one of its four tracks is a makeweight.
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