Epoch of Chirality – Nucleosynthesis

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Artist: Epoch of Chirality

Release: Nucleosynthesis

Label: Independent

Release Date: 23 July 2021

Location: England

Digital Price: 9 GBP (12 USD)

Length: 50min

Something I have really come to appreciate in the past two years are these musical projects driven by multi-instrumentalist composers with a vision. There have been some brilliant works of this nature in that time, such as The Oubliette from The Reticent, or Fo’s Room from Alfonso Corace. Nucleosynthesis is one such release by Epoch of Chirality, a project built around the work of Richard How. The sole instrumentalist on this album, How played guitars, bass, keys, synths, drums, arranged samples and created futuristic noises. He’s even credited for exasperated sighs. The only others involved creatively with this album were Brett Caldas-Lima who mixed and mastered the music at Tower Studio, and the artwork & visual design by Stan W-Decker.

The album is entirely instrumental, without any vocals in sight beyond the aforementioned sighs. With that in mind, Richard How’s vision is a creative blend of traditional metal, with a a progressive song structure, and heavy use of experimental synth. This is all built around the theme of science fiction and space opera, and to a lesser extent fantasy. Throughout Nucleosynthesis, How blends tradition with experimentation by blending acoustic and synth instrumentation. How’s vision and theme is never lost amid the array of sounds and styles at play here. Maintaining that aesthetic consistency, sounding unique while achieving instrumental goals isn’t always easy to do, but Richard How shows us the way to do just that.

One of the best kinds of progressive music is the kind that, when you listen to it, you can’t help but wonder how you would even classify it if someone asked. From track to track, Nucleosynthesis blends instrumentals so well that it becomes difficult to conceive of this album neatly fitting in to any specific place. Part of that is the different types of songs from track to track, like Undercity Rising which starts off sounding like something from KMFDM, with driving synth and drums, made intense by their simplicity. The other aspect is the way How harmonises guitars, synths, and drums with one another in such a way that they blend, in some tracks so much so that it can be hard to tell where the keyboard ends and the guitar begins.

Then there are tracks like Boreal where the wacky synth and elevator music breakdown, complete with lengthy keyboard-driven sections are reminiscent of something Dream Theater tracks often do with their keyboardist Jordan Rudess leading the way. Caravan to the Midnight Mountain has an Arabic sort of sound with synths that sound like old medieval brass instruments, and that Phrygian dominant sort of scale that really carries that old middle eastern flavor so well. Caravan to the Midnight Mountain is such a pleasure to listen to, and little details like the tambourines and other percussion really bring this track together.

Boreal has an ominous feeling that builds over the course of the track, that foreboding sort of atmosphere that Metallica’s Lovecraftian tracks are so good at evoking, that never quite goes away. We have landed on a mysterious, icy planet inhabited by unknown horrors of ancient technology in the far reaches of unknown space, and unfortunately our ship is out of service, and there is a long, hard road home. At least that’s the sort of thing my imagination conjures up listening to Boreal. I could go on at length about other tracks like Maiden Voyage and Labyrinth, but suffice to say there is a great variety of sounds on Nucleosynthesis.

Of course, there are more traditional aspects of Epoch of Chirality’s music as well that are subtle but awesome. For instance, Undercity Rising has some great bass guitarwork throughout, an addictive sort of groove to it that has me really listening into the track to hear it. Two minutes in or so there is also a brilliant marching sort of sound that gives the track a brief militaristic sort of sound reminiscent of Hell March, the main theme from Command & Conquer: Red Alert. The final track Paradox is a bit more drum-forward and has some more complex drumwork and fills than elsewhere on the album which is also welcome.

Overall, Epoch of Chirality’s Nucleosynthesis is a fun, imaginative release jam-packed with futuristic, science fiction ideas. Rarely does a release evoke the concept of a soundscape as well as this one does. Nucleosynthesis is a well-crafted work put together by a man with a great imagination.

I hope you enjoy Nucleosynthesis.

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