Echidna – Escape From Civilization
The guitar work is the most prominent thing on the album. The whole ‘stop and go’ riffing on ‘It Came From The Blue Sky’ with the catchy, straightforward rhythms is pretty much one’s basic thrash appeal, but there is a ton of groove in there too such as on the catchy chorus in ‘Age Of Plastic,’ which also features moments such as what sounds like ‘riff chirps’ which is odd, but helps add to the prog elements. ‘OrganiX’ is where things really turn into a roller coaster as it starts out slow and symphonic and then explodes into the harsher, faster mix of death/thrash riffs. Vocally, the group expands their range from the rather monotone thrash bark mixed with death metal snarls to clean, alien vocoder singing, which is completely out of left field but only makes the group more interesting and unique. This vocoder effect isn’t used too often (once can hear it again on ‘Empire Of Crime’) but it definitely will remind fans of what The Faceless did on their album “Planetary Duality.” Weird and yet exciting at the same time.
Echidna’s strongest track is also their most ‘all over the place.’ ‘Escape’ uses echoing shouts, vocoder cleans, death snarls, and the usual thrashy vocal assault to demonstrate a whole multitude to vocal uses while being backed by an almost doomy/death metal simple riffing. The change from making the instruments the ever-changing force to the vocals may throw listeners for a loop, but the group continues with the surprises by adding in violin/ cello solos too amongst the heavier riffing. For those who feel this might be ‘too much,’ a track like ‘Remains Of A Journey’ is more straightforward and grounded with the mix of death/thrash involved and some vocoder use. By this point, those who have journeyed this far are either in love with the album or just completely unsure what to think of it because it is so involved.
Thankfully, ‘Streams’ is a quiet interlude to let one gather their thoughts and have a break from the madness before closing on ‘Cordydceps.’ The band surprisingly doesn’t go all out here, but the track is rather leaning more towards the prog side with clean vocals, some heavy riffing, and percussive lullabies that showcase the band’s better drumming moments that was heard on a track like ‘Streams.’
It is rare that an album comes along that really makes one want to delve into every single track due to the dense complexity and creativity present, but “Escape From Civilization” is certainly one of those albums. While certainly not conventional thrash or death metal, one looking for something that is ‘really out there’ compared to the dime a dozen sounding groups will find Echidna a new and exciting adventure. While the band sometimes may go too much in a maze-like formation, the whole album is worth listening to if one likes metal thoughtful, provoking, and sometimes overwhelming. Along with an interesting theme and message, the album should thunder Echidna’s presence into the spotlight for one of the more prominent metal bands of 2020.
4.5 / 5 STARS