One of my earliest review assignments here at Angry Metal Guy was for the sophomore album from unsigned Orange County thrashers Madrost. With the benefit of hindsight I was a tad generous with the scoring, however, Into the Aquatic Sector proved a highly competent and ripping affair of sci-fi themed retro thrash, bolstered by death and prog elements. Fast forward to 2017 and Madrost is back for another round of thrashing fun, but this time the musical quotient has been flipped. The wordy The Essence of Time Matches No Flesh rings in some carefully calculated stylistic changes. Vektor similarities and old school thrash vibes still remain but are now more evenly balanced with raw and ambitious progressive death. So with the band choosing a pathway of reinvention, how successful is this makeover and can The Essence of Time cash in on Madrost’s obvious potential?

While I miss some of the more straightforward and meaty thrash songs from their previous album, there’s still plenty to like about the direction Madrost have embarked on here. Lead-off track “Eyes of Deceit” paints a good picture of Madrost’s change in tact. Pushing forward with dense, muscular rhythms, otherworldly melodies and proggy injections, these elements are complimented by the song’s aggressive backbone and the raw-throated barks and screams from vocalist/guitarist Tanner Poppitt, who dispenses with his high-pitched shrieks from the previous album. There’s a slickness and confidence emanating from these less conventional and challenging structures, without forsaking the band’s rugged riffcraft and caffeinated energy. “The Silence in Ruins” kicks into thrash mode effortlessly, featuring tasty bass, rapid fire axework and excellent pacing, coming across a bit like a slightly cruder, less sophisticated Vektor and mostly hitting the mark.

Overall, Madrost have crafted a far denser, more complex beast that requires deeper dissection to isolate the nuances and wrap your head around the knotty structures, although the bulk of the album’s lengthy seven tracks offer a semblance of headbanging immediacy and rip-roaring thrash explosions. Accomplished musicianship and generally solid song construction leads the way and the proggy elements and softer passages don’t detract from Madrost’s overriding aggression and oodles of speed on display. While I admire the band’s willingness to push the boundaries of their sound into exciting dimensions, like many modern metal albums there’s a serious lack of self-editing that bloats the album, despite its relatively concise 37-minute duration. Most songs could have benefited from some astute trimming. For instance, the relentlessly pummeling progressive thrash of “Abstractions” feels overlong at nearly six minutes and is brought down slightly by ill-advised processed vocals that sound rather silly and out-of-place. Similarly, “No Future” and closer “Dimensions” are filled with some great ideas and outstanding musicianship, but feel a tad long in the tooth.

However, when Madrost get the balance just right the results are quite impressive. “From Sand to Dust” is a reasonably efficient ripper, deftly coalescing death, prog and ’80s thrash into a technical, blasting juggernaut, featuring taut drumming, searing guitar work and playful experimentation. The aforementioned “The Silence in Ruins” is another strong example of Madrost firing on all cylinders and keeping things nice and direct while maintaining their progressive edge. Sonically, this shit screams for a dynamic, high fidelity production to lend these ambitious arrangements the breathing space required, but it’s dynamically stunted and loud, although I approve of the stripped back sound and tones of the instruments.

Quality-wise, The Essence of Time Matches No Flesh occupies a similar level to Into the Aquatic Sector and is an enjoyable and adventurous ride. And what the album lacks in the instant gratification of its predecessor it makes up for with a far more ambitious brand of progressive death-thrash that rewards detailed and extended listening sessions. Madrost’s stylistic rethink may require some ironing out and refinement, but there’s more than enough evidence here that the band is on an intriguing pathway to greater things. Also, it probably doesn’t help that Terminal Redux made such a whopping impact within a similar musical context. So while guilty of overreaching at times, Madrost remain an entertaining and underrated act worth keeping an eye on and The Essence of Time Matches No Flesh is well worth checking out for fans of quality sci-fi progressive death-thrash.


Rating: 3.0/5.0
DR: 5  |  Format Reviewed: 320 kbps MP3
Label: Self-Released
Websites: madrost.bandcamp.com | Facebook.com/madrost
Releases Worldwide: June 27th, 2017

Share →
  • Brutalist_Receptacle

    I DIG THIS

    • Name’s Dalton

      And we dig you, Brutalist_Receptacle.

      • Drew Music

        I like to assume that they yell during all of their day to day conversations.

        • GardensTale

          I just realized I’m imagining the Floating Head’s voice from Rick & Morty when he comments.

          • Drew Music

            Holy Hell I think I was too haha

  • welyyt

    As a self-proclaimed connoisseur of prog-death, I enjoyed this despite the bloat, but they should work on their visual marketing, as both the album cover and the video kinda suck.

    • DIMENSIONAL BLEEDTHROUGH

      Lyric videos do no one any favors.

    • Thatguy

      The band photo sucks too. They look like smug bastards. The music is better than the photo.

      • Name’s Dalton

        I’m liking this for the “smug bastards” comment. Not because I agree, but because I love the pejorative “smug bastards.”

        • Thatguy

          I have a well honed repertoire of insults.

          I actually rather like the music though. I just don’t care for the cut of their jib.

    • Martin L

      It was the other way around for me. The artwork is the only redeeeming value here. I was hoping for an original blend of prog death mixed with old school heavy prog in the Fates Warning mold. Instead, this is the usual by-the-number Vektor inanities with the usual bad vocals.

  • Nag Dammit

    Get such a ‘This Love’ vibe from the opening of the video.

    • Me

      I got Eerie Inhabitants from Testament.

    • DIMENSIONAL BLEEDTHROUGH

      Haha, I can’t ever see that video without thinking about Beavis and Butthead.

      “Dammit, Pantera. I told you to get out there and mow that lawn! Oh, what’s this? Is that a tear, Pantera? Is Daddy’s little girl upset? I’m going to kick your ass into next Tuesday! Now get out of here! And quit acting like a damn little girl!”

  • Solid to see these guys get a bit of coverage here. I really dug their first album (less progressive, but Tanner sounds like a dead-ringer for Chuck Schuldiner vocally the whole time), but the last one didn’t grab me as much. Maybe this new one will do the trick.

  • Me

    Horrendous vocals like Vektor. Sorry.

    • Name’s Dalton

      Vektor vocals like Horrendous. Sorry, not sorry?

      • You wot m8?

        The metal puns!

        • Name’s Dalton

          I’m a punning linguist.

      • John Mosley

        You beat me to it.

    • Planex

      Horrendous doesn’t really have similar vocals to Vektor though.

    • herrschobel

      what are you sorry for in the first place ? the people that like Vektor don´t care about your particular opinion about the vocals anyhow … and the others have no taste :-)) … and please don´t be offended… i am just a fool !

      • Me

        You know, I used to come to this site because it wasn’t Metalsucks…..

        • herrschobel

          just don´t be sorry

  • Name’s Dalton

    Really dig this album. If it weren’t for Vektor (and suffice it to say, Madrost wouldn’t sound quite like they do if it weren’t for Vektor), Madrost would be my favorite modern thrash band.

    • Drew Music

      Ever heard of Seismic Breach? I only recently discovered them, and they’re definitely not 100% straight thrash, but they’re like a Revocation/Behemoth hybrid and they do their thing pretty fuckin well.

  • yobazsavar

    where the fuck Hanter Savet review?

    • Name’s Dalton

      Where the fuck, indeed.

    • Diego Molero

      You realize that was a 2016 release, and we are, you know, in 2017…

    • Nukenado

      The more important question, where the fuck DSO review?
      I think the entire AMG staff is waiting for that record to drop (it’s been 5 fucking years since last album and 3 years from the first single).
      It would be such a massive tragedy if AMG doesn’t get a promo…

  • Planex

    I claim that prog death/thrash is the greatest style of music.

    • Name’s Dalton

      It’s a good’, that’s for sure.

  • Kyle Griffin

    Reminds me a bit of Black Fast. Pretty cool listen so far.

  • Carlos Marrickvillian

    arrggg that album art!!!
    It reminds me of one from last year that had a giant weeping sky anus. This one is like a giant bleeding anus ball or something… I need a lie down.

    • Strapping Old Fart

      I don’t want to know what a giant anusball is. Please don’t tell me.

      • Carlos Marrickvillian

        It’s right there! They’re coming!!

        • Strapping Old Fart

          Mommy, noooooo!

    • Matt McMadden

      Zealotry?

      • Carlos Marrickvillian

        Thats the one! damn that weeping sky anus haunted my dreams.

  • herrschobel

    bleeding anus and pretty hair

  • WhamBamSam

    It’s like Vektor crash landed on a world populated by the aliens from every tech death cover ever, and rapidly adapted to breathe the atmosphere.

    Both these guys and Euphoria are great and yet unsigned. Is there no one looking to get in on the ground floor of the burgeoning Vektor-core trend?

  • Planex

    After listening to this one, I’ve decided that’s its totally and officially awesome and cool.

  • jersey devil

    “progressive death thrash”, yes. I was searching for the right label for this awesome record, ans that is it. I never heard of Madrost before and came across this and thought it was awesome. Great review and great album.