Published Mar 13, 2020It's always funny when a prog band drop an EP with about the same runtime as some full-length albums. Aletheia, from Montreal band Sutrah (featuring members of Chthe'ilist and Benighted) clocks in at about 30 minutes, and is their first new music since 2017's full-length debut, Dunes.
There are some stylistic deviations from their debut to note. The acrobatic, fretboard-mapping technical riffs from Dunes are dialled back for a more direct tech death approach. It makes room for some Gorguts influence to flow in, which you can hear in the jagged upper register guitar work and exotic clean passages.
Alethia opens with its first instrumental, "Umwelt," beginning with a blend of swelling synths and meditative clean guitars. Pounding drums and some truly beefy distorted guitars enter and the song takes on a very galvanizing feel, like a deep breath of incense before a vision quest. This leads into the intervallic and syncopated guitar line of "Lethe." Again, the riffs are perfectly balanced and effective, like a one-inch punch to the soul. Stylistically it's tech death in the vein of Lykathea Aflame as well as Gorguts, with its janky guitar accents.
The latter two-thirds of this EP is dominated by its second movement. The instrumental "Dwell" features guitars soaking wet with delay and reverb accompanied by lush synthesiser. It's a rich soundscape that sets the scene for the 15-minute "Genèse," opening with more synth sounding like a sad cyborg accordion, before building to some vibrant chord work showcasing that phenomenal guitar tone. Laurent Bellemare (Basalte, Serocs) keeps it groovy with his vocal pattern as the song opens up instrumentally into clean passages, a ripping Masvidal-ian solo and Eastern instruments.
Alethia is almost everything you could ask for from an EP. More than a placeholder, it presents a complete musical idea that stands on its own while heralding good things to come. (Artisan Era)