Tholus are an interesting band. Formed by drummer Dave Murray (Sculptured, Estradasphere) and some other relatively minor folks and friends as well as the involvement of Mars/NASA conspiracy theorist Richard Hogland (author of Monuments of Mars), they play a form of cosmic, celestial, mars based technical death metal rooted in Cynic, Disincarnate, Theory In Practice and certainly due to the cosmic elements, Nocturnus.

Though not as jarring as some modern technical death metal (i.e. Necrophagist, Martyr, Gorod, Odious Mortem, etc), the generally controlled, mid paced of Tholus is still complex and intricate, but comes with the usual trapping of technical death metal-memorability and accessibility.

Still, for fans of technical wizardry and guitar skill, Constant won’t disappoint, and to their credit, the guitar work is allowed to breathe within the generally slower tempos, so you have a little more time to appreciate the fret play. Vocalist Aaron Ortiz is the perfect unassuming choice for the vocals as his deep yet understandable growl reminded me of Disincarnate’s Bryan Cegon as it complements the music rather than dominates it.

The guitar duo of Wally Scharold and Rob Pumpelly, especially on tracks like “Protocultures”, “Staring Back” and the angular title track is impressive yet also unassuming, just fluid and almost effortlessly complex. The injections of Hogland’s voice for many of the tracks adds an air of authenticity to the subject matter and the production is solid.

That all being said, Constant may still bore some tech death metal fans wanting a bit more bite and tenacity, as to be honest at times the album is pretty lethargic in its complexity with little or no fervent blasting, but for me that ended up as a bit of a boon for me and an album well worth checking out for a little different take on technical death metal.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
August 1st, 2007


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