Ultra Selfish Revolution

This solo project by Polish artist Stanislaw Wolonciej mixes metal, prog, avant-garde and ambient, with some tonal parallels to the work of off-kilter acts like Frantic Bleep, Manes or Blake-era Ulver. Don’t get excited yet though – this is not as richly textured or as immersive as those bands, mostly due to the largely arrhythmic, amelodic compositional style.

Although Egoist ostensibly falls under the progressive heading, the songs here don’t really flow so much as lurch and stutter. Sonically, what’s here sounds fine, although it’s fairly limited – chunky, angular guitars, slappy bass, ratatat drums and the occasional electronic flitter – but I just didn’t enjoy the writing. This is mostly to do with the wandering, mopey vocal lines, which drive the songs forward, but don’t really take them in any particular direction.

Only two elements really stood out for me. One, the ambient interludes that Egoist frequently drops into, featuring shimmery, entrancing guitarwork that creates a nice melodic counterpoint to the more dominant fragmented bursts. One track on the album, “Near Warm Fireplace,” exclusively uses this softer approach, coming out somewhere between shoegazer and lighter-era Katatonia. Nice stuff, and I’d gladly listen to a whole album of it – mostly because it flows like a real song. The other notable element here is the guest solo work by ex-Pestilence guitarist Patrick Mameli, who brings a technical, jazzy sophistication to “These Strange Things” and “(Not) The End.”

While I have to give Wolonciej a lot of props for putting all of this – guitars, drumwork, bass and production – together on his own, the end result is less than its parts. This is mostly due to the songwriting approach, and not the general concept. With some more focus and discipline towards crafting tighter compositions, I think Egoist could one day be an experience worth holding your attention.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Jordan Itkowitz
April 10th, 2009


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