Matt Chanway’s eponymous release showcases a wide array of styles. Flavors of shred, thrash, progressive, power, and tech metal permeate the instrumental sound. This release came to fruition while Chanway was also devoting his time to respected Vancouver based thrash band Asimilation. Chanway’s background studying guitar at the London College of Music has seemingly paid dividends as this release is indicative of a very highly skilled player
Lead off track “Evidence of the Arcane” is bursting at the seems with technical guitar savvy but wisely intertwines these ideas with memorable songwriting. If you’re keen on rapid fire tempo shifts and slash and burn guitar virtuosity, consider “Evidence of the Arcane” your new jam. Track 2 “The Receiver of Wisdom” begins with what I consider to be the most memorable motif on the album which is quickly juxtaposed with Chaney’s jaw dropping soloing.
Album centerpiece “Harbinger 2.1” features an ascending guitar theme which reminded me of prog/tech legends Behold the Arctopus. Aside from a hint of Arctopus, I can also hear dashes of tech metal act Conquering Dystopia and death metal kingpins Revocation. Chanway certainly leaves his own stamp on “Harbinger 2.1” with a wide range of composition twists and turns. “Eye in the Sky” blends Dokken esque guitar theatrics with a thrash chug which sounds not unlike mid period Voivod.
Chanway’s six song release concludes with the absolutely epic “Lucidity.” This track marries shred with a beautiful melody culminating in an absolutely entrancing 6 and a half minute listen. The main motif in “Lucidity” will likely snap the neck of any seasoned headbanger up to the challenge.
Matt Chanway’s vision seems to be equal parts outstanding skill, astute songwriting chops, and flawless execution. My sole criticism of Chanway’s debut would be that I would’ve liked to hear a bit more breaks for cleans or acoustic sections. I’d be curious to hear what he could do with that. This is a subjective matter with me as a I find that many bands of this ilk could allow for just a tiny bit of breathing room with acoustic breaks, rests, and clean sections. Though the progressive metal playing field may be crowded to say the least, Matt Chanway’s game plan is a clearly a winner.
Release Date: December 25th, 2016
Favorite Tracks: “Lucidity”, “Evidence of the Arcane”, and “Harbinger 2.1”
For Fans Of: Revocation, Conquering Dystopia, George Lynch, Voivod.