The Fold is Montreal based Karcius’ fifth release, their current sound forming in the previous album, 2012’s The First Day when they added vocalist and bass player Sylvain Auclair to the band that was previously mainly an instrumental outfit that has been on the scene since 2001.
The band have described The Fold as a concept album. Founder member and guitarist Simon L’Espérance explains, “each musical section depicts an image, a scene, a soundscape – we wanted to build new bases, create a new sound for the band, that’s why we made the album like a soundtrack. From one thing to another, the story took shape and the scene was animated, clarifying the role of the characters in this universe. A unique concept was emerging before our eyes, a concept that we refined and modelled in every detail as time progressed.” The band have said that the album, “plays around the idea that what if our perception of reality could be interpreted as a form of dementia”.
The album’s six tracks, all composed by the trio of Auclair, L’Espérance and his fellow founder member, drummer Thomas Brodeur (with Sebastien Cloutier on keyboards completing the line up) certainly contain a cinematic quality, and with a couple of the songs touching the ten minute mark there’s plenty of music to go on a journey with.
The standout for me is Goodbye, nine minutes of prog goodness with a middle section containing traditional Moog type sounds that give way to a soaring modern processed guitar solo, which is ended by a fretless bass part before a mandolin leads us to the crescendo. The whole section had me imagining how great it would sound as a live track. If you like guitar solos then L’Esperance will delight, as he certainly knows his way around the instrument and shows it on most of the tracks.
Auclair does a fine job with the vocals, moving from soft melody to a growl, often in the same song. For a self released album, the production and general sound quality is excellent, some of the tracks have a beautiful layering of instruments, from the acoustic power of Absence of Light, the mystic, eastern sounding Hardwired and Burning My Dreams, to the more traditional prog metal sounding title track – which ends with the clunk of what sounds like a cinema projector being turned off. The band must have been pleased with the production as they have promised to produce a 5.1 surround version.
Karcius have found their niche here, having earlier in their career been tagged as jazz fusion, perhaps due to the high standard of musicianship and earlier instrumental albums, or art-rock as the band describe themselves on their website. I would say The Fold is more in a prog metal style of Dream Theater, Muse or even Steven Wilson, and it’s not a pale imitation of those artists either. The musicianship is flawless, the songwriting of a consistent high standard, The Fold is highly recommended.
Catch them live in Montreal supporting Gong on 22 November 2018.
01. Absence Of Light (10:04)
02. Something (6:18)
03. Hardwired (5:54)
04. Goodbye (9:27)
05. Burning My Dreams (7:01)
06. The Fold (6:58)
Total Time – 45:42
Simon L’Espérance – Guitar
Sebastien Cloutier – Keyboards
Sylvain Auclair – Bass, Voсals
Thomas Brodeur – Drums
Record Label: Independent
Country of Origin: Canada
Date of Release: 18th August 2018