Although Far East Myth have allegedly been together since 2012, there is very little information readily available about them. Until the release of this debut EP late last month, they didn’t have so much as a demo for us to listen to. Their label, Sun Chariot Records, was only officially founded earlier this year. Nonetheless, I think the past three years have been put to good use by this Californian extreme metal group. While Horizons doesn’t demonstrate that the band has properly consolidated an independent voice of their own, the skill and form they’ve injected into this hodgepodge of progressive, thrash, and death metal is more than enough to suggest these guys may be going somewhere interesting.
The bonus track notwithstanding, Far East Myth have offered two original songs, a cover of Nocturnus‘ ‘Neolithic’, as well as of Vektor‘s instant classic ‘Black Future’. Although four songs are precious little to draw lasting conclusions from, each of these songs takes a noteworthy direction of their own. Although the stylistic distinction between the originals is already fairly wide, the covers should be proof even to as-of-yet newcomers that Far East Myth are conjuring multiple disciplines on Horizons. Nocturnus and Vektor have common ground in their progressive leanings and love of science fiction pulp, but the two bands are ultimately diving into different ends of the pool. Perhaps not coincidentally, Far East Myth’s apparent style falls somewhere in between death metal and progressive thrash, so neither choice of cover feels outlandish.
If Far East Myth are great at anything, it is the performance and execution of their material. It is common to take mere proficiency for granted in technical death metal, but Horizons nonetheless impresses in that regard, if but for the variety of ground they’re able to cover successfully on the album. They make a point of demonstrating their versatility in the choice of their covers, and this versatility carries over to their original offerings. While ‘Reverie’ and ‘Kujaku Ou’ don’t quite match the high standards that Far East Myth have set later on with the ‘Neolithic’ cover, I am hearing a lot of potential in the ingredients they’re working with. ‘Reverie’ almost sounds like a space-age variation on Gorguts‘ masterful Obscura, complete with the howling vocals and mid-warping dissonance. In contrast, ‘Kujaku Ou’ almost sounds like it could have been penned by another band altogether. While still reasonably sophisticated in scope, this second original is more upbeat, melodic, and traditional. Even comparisons to latter-era Death wouldn’t be unreasonable. Listening to this track, I am consistently reminded of the way Arghoslent merges traditional heavy metal’s use of melody with death metal riffage and firepower. ‘Kujaku Ou’ is a very different kind of tune than ‘Reverie’, and with that, it offers another potential sound that Far East Myth might choose to pursue once they’ve settled down with a more defined style.
I think the most natural thing for a musician is to fashion art that will ultimately appeal most to people whose tastes are similar to their own. If the bands I’ve mentioned above were any influence on Far East Myth in addition to the two bands they’ve covered, I’d fathom a guess and say we’ve got a lot of taste in common. This band has the technical expertise to reflect all of these influences without the inevitable comparisons weighing negatively against them. Even so, I would much rather hear Far East Myth come unto a sound of their own than retread the styles of bands I already know and love. The ‘Neolithic’ cover is admittedly great, but while I think the cover of ‘Black Future’ (and the bonus track, covering an excerpt of Vektor’s ‘Forests of Legend’) is impressively done, it doesn’t shift my view that no one can do Vektor better than themselves. Far East Myth have offered hints of great things with Horizons, but the same diversity that keeps each song distinct is proof that the band are still in the process of finding the right style.
02) Kujaku Ou
03) Neolithic (Nocturnus Cover)
04) Black Future (Vektor Cover)