Maid Myriad - With Haste on Its Breath
Nefarious Industries
Alternative Rock
12 songs (59' 6")
Release year: 2014
Reviewed by Andy

Ohio-based Maid Myriad's first LP is hard to classify; the sound would have been perfectly at home on any alternative radio station after 1999, but their songs are just progressive enough to resist airplay, and to potentially interest metalheads. Despite their label's claim of the music being "a bunch of big, dumb, noise", don't be fooled: With Haste on Its Breath's jazz-inflected alternative is much cleverer than it wants to let on.

The production is clean and smooth -- it has a sense of space to it. Guitarist/vocalist Jeff Klemm sings softly quite a bit, putting a shy hush into his voice, but has no problem turning up the volume when he wants to; Encircled starts like it's going to be a ballad, but quickly moves up to screams and a heavier guitar, while Azure Planes continues the clipped, echoing guitar style Klemm started on its predecessor, but includes a psychedelic-rock-influenced riff that wouldn't have been out of place on an early Pentagram album. That metal influence continues on Be Careful What You Wish For, with its screams and harmonized guitar solo, and Dance by the Moonlight, a tune with a big, echoing chorus that reminded me of the first couple albums of van Giersbergen-era The Gathering. The difference is that Maid Myriad doesn't ever slow their pace till the end -- sure, they have slow portions to their songs, but it definitely feels like it's on a schedule. Everything's tight and crisp, from drummer Greg Meisenberg's slightly muted drumming to the structure of the songs; Skye's Eye View, even with Klemm at his most breathy and the music at its most dreamy, is always under rigid control with little patience for meandering. In this case, I rather like that; it's easy for bands with a progressive bent to wander off into a little world of their own, leaving the listener behind, and Klemm and Meisenberg refuse to let that happen -- or for any song to last more than six minutes.

One thing that their abruptness gives the songs is an automatic segue into the next; Camera Eye, despite being possibly the heaviest song on the album, seemed like a later portion of its softer predecessor until I realized that it was on a different track. Maid Myriad, however, shines the most when they are neither at their loudest nor their softest. Chardonnay, which imperceptibly changes keys in the manner of a jazz song (combining an excellent chorus melody with some wicked guitar riffing), is followed by another fantastic track, Forget You (And I Will), which has even more light and dark to it. Klemm croons, he shouts, he sings through a filter, and his guitar puts in an equally versatile performance, flipping from slow and thoughtful to fast and harsh without warning. Hey There Kid, somewhat less nimble but still crushing on the chorus, is followed by a couple of soft ballads, less interesting from my perspective, as if the duo got tired out.

Maid Myriad calls this concoction of theirs "kaleidoscope rock", and I suppose there's some truth to that, as one can get a glimpse of a lot of different genres of pop music, all mixed up in their songs but still forming creations of beauty. This is a work that will likely interest those who would balk at a regular metal album, while still being an album made by -- and for -- metal fans.

Killing Songs :
Dance by the Moonlight, Chardonnay, Forget You (And I Will)
Andy quoted 83 / 100
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