Bloody hell. This is without a doubt a seriously good attempt at a melodic metal EP! This little band from London have taken a bloody fist and thrown it against steel….resulting in a cacophony of prog metal/prog rock that has no mercy!
To begin with, this is a convulsively fantastic piece of work by Jackknife Seizure. Their name compliments their sound; bending, throwing and ricocheting around your ears. The first three tracks lay out a heart-pounding prog rock feel with the vocal work proving most admirable, an uneasy, absurdist layering of sound that flips between high and then even higher pitched vocals; highly redolent of S.O.A.Ds Serj Tankian.
The musical ability of these chaps is admirable. They clearly have skill and passion and within this one 30 minute EP, you are blessed with soaring riffs, grungy guitars and ear twisting vocals. However, there’s always a danger of throwing together too many elements, too many different melodies and rhythms with varying degrees of hard and soft, just to try and make an impression.
Fortunately, the fourth track, the EPs eponymous title Starfisher, is a sweet detour. Two minutes of a calm, ambient mixture of electronics, morse code(!) and bells segueing into a tasteful bassy, bluesy melody that is very “Planet Caravan” in style. It’s a beautifully pronounced moment on the EP. If the morse code used is meant to mean something, we would love to know….because it would be brilliantly wicked if there were lyrics hidden within . How wonderfully, thoughtfully layered would that make it? We wouldn’t have the first clue where to start with morse code solving, so that’s a nice easter egg if anybody does find out that it means something!
And then, as if you yourself are jackknifed back into action, “Tappy Tapperson” rounds the entire thing off with a gut wrenching catharsis that is frankly exhilarating. There’s simply no other way to put it. You get a feel for Jackknife’s character with the first half of the EP, and when you’re thrown off the scent with “Starfisher”, you long for that dissonant, tenacious hardcore sound again…..and Jackknife deliver it.
Overall, it does feels like Jackknife have tried to do too much in too little time. That doesn’t mean Starfisher is bad – quite the contrary, it’s a really brilliantly put together and well recorded EP – rather, if made into a full album, there would be room to flesh out all the little inconsistent beats and melodies into new tracks, or extended solo parts within the tracks themselves.
Still, we’ve been ‘jackknifed’ after this. A valiant effort! 6/10.
If this stokes your interest, you can download Jackknife Seizure’s debut EP for free at jackknifeseizure.bandcamp.com. Get on it!