Epoch of Chirality – Nucleosynthesis

2021 has seen it’s share of terrible band names. Epoch of Chirality does very little to up the ante in this regard. The name is bulky and awkward, and even trying to imagine it with an English accent—seeing as how the one-man instrumental project is based in England—doesn’t improve its sonic aesthetics. But as we’ve also seen quite a few times this year, a bad name a bad album does not make. With an open mind, I dove into this synth heavy dose of instrumental metal. Unfortunately, very little of what debut album Nucleosynthesis offered connected with me on any level beyond the superficial. Allow me to explain.

Epoch of Chirality’s overall sound is difficult to pin down, to an extent. In most ways, this is fairly straightforward metal music, structured with riffs and guitar leads, varied drumming techniques and twinkly synths. You could say that it falls into standard heavy metal the most, though for my money I’d more readily lump it into the prog umbrella. Nucleosynthesis builds itself around aural aesthetics that closely match it’s space-themed artwork, and in that sense the album is an unqualified success. Scenery impeccably matches mood on a consistent basis, providing ample environmental stimuli to the parts of my brain that apply visuals to sound in my imagination, and the result is a highly detailed and enjoyable landscape that I can easily sit back and admire.

The second half of this record offers the most bang for the buck. Starting with “Pyramid Cybergod” onward, every song gives me big Banjo-Kazooie meets Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel vibes, and I’m 100% on board with that combination. The riffs may be entirely forgettable sometimes, and fluffy noodling sometimes bloats these tracks beyond my tolerance threshold, but in providing good background music for me to enjoy for casual listening or for a backdrop during tabletop gaming sessions, Nucleosynthesis can do no wrong. There’s just enough song development to keep the album moving forward, and I have no difficulty letting it replay several times in a row.

On the other hand, nothing sticks. The songwriting across the record’s runtime is not interesting enough to hold my interest beyond, “this will work for now.” “Maiden Voyage” is the one song most worth praising because it feels like a real adventure. A chill, relaxing adventure, mind you, but an adventure nevertheless, with plenty of really cool effects and instrumental combinations supported by lots of fun twists and turns in musical style. In effect, this song is the only point of strong connection I had with the record, and it remains the only song I actually remember when it’s all over. That’s a big problem, because I am not inclined whatsoever to recommend a record wherein only seven out of fifty minutes are worth my attention. Thankfully, the mix and master of this album, so far as I’m qualified to attest, makes the most out of the modern production philosophy. The album is clean and crisp, but not overwhelmingly loud nor flat. It’s a nicely balanced album to hear, and that gives listeners lots of extra space to find details they like and successfully ignore details they don’t.

Sadly, this all amounts to an album that is good as a soundtrack to more fun activities, but not much else. Epoch of Chirality has plenty of potential, as “Maiden Voyage” makes plainly clear. However, so much more of the material is uninteresting and unsatisfying, providing very little to hold on to or appreciate in any meaningful way. Everything up to “Pyramid Cybergod” is disposable, and everything past it is much better but still not quite compelling enough to earn my full recommendation. With that in mind, I suggest looking elsewhere for your instrumental metal fix.

Rating: 2.0/5.0
DR: 7 | Format Reviewed: 320 kb/s mp3
Label: Self-Released
Websites: epochofchirality.com | facebook.com/EpochOfChirality
Releases Worldwide: July 23rd, 2021

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