MEMENTO WALTZ – Division By Zero
19 years into their recording careers and with a series of demos and EP’s under their belts, the time is right for this Italian progressive metal band to release their debut album "Division By Zero". It’s not as if the quartet struggled with numerous lineup changes: 3 of the four members have been involved since the inception in 1994 (bassist Giuseppe Deiana, guitarist Livio Poier, and drummer Gabriele Maciocco) with newest edition on vocals Lord Goblin coming in 7 years ago. What I always worry about when taking in Italian progressive metal is their penchant for liberally borrowing too heavily from their influences.
Fortunate for my ears (and you as the listener), Memento Waltz has worked very hard at establishing their own version of intricate and technically brilliant metal while also remembering to write steady melodic hooks both musically and lyrically- and as such these 7 songs keep me coming back for more intense, headphone-type sessions again and again. Elements of blitzkrieg bass lines go toe to toe with point/ counterpoint guitar harmonies and layers of clean melodic lines – in such a way that haven’t been heard since the days of early Sieges Even, Watchtower, Zero Hour, and a little bit of Spiral Architect. The rhythms within "Europa (Jupiter II)" for instance have that dark adventurous, circular movement and Giuseppe can free flow with some of the best slap/ technical low end work this side of Les Claypool or Troy Tipton.
The album opens with a familiar computer error message sound on "Omicron", but the four musicians quickly converge with this off tempo technically sharp riff and Lord Goblin smoothly glides over the progressive proceedings with multi-octave confidence (think Watchtower meets Fates Warning with a little James Rivera for good measure) and occasionally whispered parts for even more atmospheric effect. Gabriele and Giuseppe throw down an unbelievable fusion opening to "Mechdreamer" – as more exotic / Arabic oriented chord choices fuel this 8:03 epic arrangement, again changing dynamics on a dime from heavier chaos to tranquil serenity and back again. High quality production values and a reasonable playing time at a mere 41 minutes means that this is an album that you can take in without brain overload- but understand that Memento Waltz is not an easy progressive metal listen.
Supplementing the sound with brilliant guest guitar work from Pharaoh’s Matt Johnsen, know that "Division by Zero" is one of the best progressive metal releases of 2013, and I’m shocked that Memento Waltz hasn’t been signed by the Inside Out or Sensory Records’ of the world.