When progressive music is at it’s very best, it explores interesting textural, melodic, harmonic and rhythmic ideas, while managing to string it all together into a cohesive journey. This can be truly exhilarating. On the other side of the coin it can devolved into pointless, self-indulgent twaddle that never really goes anywhere. It’s all about knowing where restraint should come in to form an interesting, memorable song rather than an endless string of technically accomplished notes. Masiro have chosen to enter into this tricky balancing act, let’s see whether they’ve succeeded.
It should be instantly obvious that all members of Masiro are incredibly talented instrumentalists. The guitars and drum are all fantastic but it’s the bass that steals the show here, really becoming a lead instrument in its own right. It bounces around and shifts through dexterous patterns. In fact it’s the bass that justifies the instrumental nature of the record for me, it’s far too busy and complex to fit a vocal line over and it’s better that they not try and fail, even if it leaves a bit to be desired in the hooks department. Add to this an excellent saxophone performance on second track, K-Ursa, and Masiro have demonstrated incredible ability.
Sadly, despite their clear instrumental chops the song writing leaves a lot to be desired. There is very little in terms of hooks, or experimentation in terms of texture, melody, harmony or rhythm. In fact, all the songs have a very similar tempo. This means that all the songs become very, very similar, and almost indistinguishable. If you were to play me a random song from this album I doubt I’d be able to tell you which one it was, other than K-Ursa due to the use of saxophone. This means that despite the run time of half an hour, this EP feels really, really long. The introduction of mathcore elements to this formula could really have improved this album, but sadly the staccato, discordant guitar stabs don’t convey the sense of chaos that really come from their home genre. It sounds very calculated and as such it loses the impact it has the potential to have.
The concept here is far better than the execution. It really pains me to be so negative on a record that could have been great, unfortunately it leaves me no recourse than to do otherwise. That said if Masiro can refine the concept then they could be excellent. Until then, I’d give this a miss.