22 – Flux
Two bio pages that appear to be thorough on the history and concept behind this Norwegian quartet. Only problem is: my understanding of the Norwegian language appears to be quite lax. No matter – if you want honest opinions, sometimes it’s best to let the music do the talking (as the old Joe Perry tune once proclaimed). I waited a little while before popping this disc in the laptop as the cover art while certainly sure to stir debate didn’t give me initial hopes for a professional, polished sound.
How much more wrong could I be?
The brainchild of guitarist Magnus Bormark (who also handles the production), 22 are one of those left of center acts who know how to play progressive, tripped-out music with the wildest poly-rhythms from not just a drumming standpoint, but also in the bass and guitar departments – creating some interesting sonic counterpoints and contrasts. I can’t say everything in terms of style would fit in the ‘metal’ category – the four piece have a love for Meshuggah when you hear the heavier portions of “Disconnecting From The Grid” and “Plastik”, but during the calmer, more melodic sections of verse/ chorus work they also display appreciation for Radiohead, Queen, and Primus. Lead voice Fox gains the task of keeping a melodic/ hook aspect to his alternative-friendly vocals – and there’s much to grasp with his multi-layered approach in songs like “Gotodo”, “I Am That I Am” and “Susurrus”. Bassist Mats Paulsen has as much of a lead riff presence as Magnus – circling and diving around the arrangements with as much care for sustaining the bottom end as well as entertaining the masses.
I’m sure some will question their quirkiness and debate whether their mish-mash alternative meets heavy/ progressive fusion sound can blossom into something career sustaining or will they merely be relegated to a cult following because of their off the cuff approach? In the end, 22 shake up the music world for the better – and one can only hope more musicians willingly take their cue to create original music in today’s cookie cutter clone marketplace.