CD Reviews Methexis - Suiciety

Published on 3rd May 2015

Methexis – Suiciety


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Methexis is the brainchild of Greek multi-instrumentalist, composer and arranger Nikitas Kissonas, a former member of Greek bands Verbal Delirium and Yianneis, and Suiciety is the second album from the project. The debut, entitled Fall Of Bliss was released in 2011 and was largely a solo work, with Nikitas playing almost everything, but on this one he is joined by an international cast of helpers, among whose number is The Enid’s Joe Payne. In actual fact, seeing Joe Payne listed as guest vocalist on this album is what made me pick it out of bottomless pit of releases that come our way. Joining Nikitas we have members of Änglagård, Agents of Mercy, Birds and Buildings, and Mother’n’Son, a veritable who’s-who of modern prog. In addition there are brass and string quintets, and all of that gives the album a vast and grandiose soundstage within which Nikitas acts out his fantastical tale.

Nikitas tells me that the album is very much like a film script, with the “ending” at the beginning followed by the rest of the album playing out the story leading up to Chapter IV. The story loosely follows the struggle and growth of the individual from childhood, along the way attempting to throw off internal constraints – fear, the strictures of following the herd, over-intellectualising – and the external pressures of conformity, in order to truly live. Joe Payne acted as language consultant, helping Nikitas to translate his lyrics into English, and Joe was the only one who recorded his vocal parts with Nikitas present, at The Enid’s studio in Northampton, England. The other parts were zoomed across the internet superhighway from all over Europe.

Suiciety is mostly played in a true classical symphonic style that would indeed suit a film soundtrack, the exception being the charging disco-funk of Remember, fear’s a relic, which has a refrain very like Walk The Dinosaur by Was Not Was! There is a great organ break in this song as it transforms itself into an almost Zappa-like complex construct.

We are treated to abstraction via sweeping classical sections, along the way taking in chamber music and symphonic prog, making this densely packed album as unclassifiable as it gets. I suppose rock-operatic is as close as you could get to a description, within which Joe gets to sing the complex lyrics for the most part in an atypically understated style.

The brass section comes to fore on the glorious Who can it be?, a song that blends heavy guitar and horns to great effect. Elsewhere we have the Jacques Brel-like The origin of blame, where Joe camps it up in fine style, archly enunciating fine couplets like “You know, you can call me fame, and I will call you vain” and “You know, you can call me mate, and I will call you late” like a marionette high-stepping through the scenery. The accompanying music is suitably penny-operatic, and following this is the sweeping instrumental Prey’s Prayer, a soaring piece of cinematic derring-do, which features some great guitar work from Nikitas.

Leaving his cares and woes behind, our hero wakes with new hope and is ready to face the new day on the wistful Sunlight, the simplest and yet most emotive vocal performance from Joe on the record. Cello and piano add a layer of melancholy, but melancholy outshone by hope, the song unfurling like a new flower in the rising sun, a most romantic and effective musical image. The tune commenced with echoed surf guitar of all things, and this is reprised as a bridge to a skipping instrumental section that becomes ever more determined. This is a classy piece of arranging, and as it returns to Joe’s original call of hope it shows that Nikitas knows his way round a music score. Sunlight, as you may have guessed, is the album highlight for me as it all fits together in a most pleasing fashion. Some of the album feels a little disjointed and the first half of the following The relic is a case in point. The second half of this tune is another lovely neo-classical interlude that is completely and utterly filmic, thereby redeeming the whole.

Given the album title the conclusion was never going to be sweetness and light, and the concluding title track with its clattering rhythm and grinding bass is in total contrast to the two previous pieces. The anxious nature of the introduction to this skittering tune fits the later appearance of its grim lyric perfectly: “Oh my brothers, can’t you hear the groan? Can’t you see the mire? Can’t you scent decay? It’s all falling down…”. Ah well, yet another prog dystopian vision should not really surprise me.

Suiciety is an album that works best if listened to whole, and by investing just over three quarters of an hour of your time you will be rewarded with a fine suite of music accompanying a sometimes seemingly impenetrable but ultimately enjoyable and highly cinematic surreal parable. Pass the popcorn…

TRACK LISTING
Chapter IV
01. Under The Ruins (4:49)
Chapter I – exterior
02. Remember, fear’s a relic (6:12)
03. The windows’ cracking sound (1:46)
04. Who can it be? (6:34)
05. The origin of blame (3:27)
06. Prey’s Prayer (6:07)
Chapter II – interior
07. Sunlight (8:20)
08. The relic (8:28)
Chapter III
09. Suiciety (6:40)

Total time – 46:11

MUSICIANS
Nikitas Kissonas – Music, Lyrics, Guitars
Joe Payne – Vocals
Linus Kåse – Keyboards
Nikos Zades – Sound Design
Walle Wahlgren – Drums
Brett d’Anon – Bass
~with
Brass quintet:
Tom Heath – Trumpet
Catriona Christie – Trumpet
Nerys Russell – Horn
James Patrick – Trombone
Alistair Clements – Tuba
String quintet:
Lu Jeffery – Violins
Bernard Kane Jr. – Viola
Juliet McCarthy – Cello
Ron Phelan – Double Bass

ADDITIONAL INFO
Record Label: Independent
Catalogue#: N/A
Year Of Release: 2015

LINKS
Methexis: Website | Facebook | Bandcamp

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