Review: Kilter ‘Sys’ EP

A new development is happening in the world of music, and specifically in the realms of metal and jazz. Until recently, there have been the occasional band that experiments by incorporating elements from jazz and metal into their sound. Now though, it’s happening more often, there are scenes forming, multiple bands devoting their entire style and careers to this type of creation as a main focus. It’s becoming something very real as a new sound and the number of possibilities in what can be composed is fascinating. Music has its effects on culture and there will be interesting changes in the inner-workings of each of the scenes involved, both fans and artists alike.

Kilter ‘Sys’

At the forefront of this genre is a heavy, very impressive and seriously interesting trio who truly are paving the way to take a firm and lasting hold. Their name is Kilter. A class act and the ideal group for what they’re doing as the scene unfolds. They bring a mammoth amount of elements from both the metal and jazz worlds, using the prime examples of what makes metal very like-able to its fans and skilfully making it new and thrilling by mixing many properties of jazz for an entirely fresh sound that listeners, from many different walks of life, will find themselves eventually obsessed with.

Based in Brooklyn, Kilter is composed of Ed Rosenberg III on baritone sax, Laurent David on bass and then Kenny Grohowski on drums. Kilter are not your average group of musicians. Each member is a top-notch player and have a new EP scheduled for release June 25th named Sys that’s a three song, instrumental work of magnificent proportions.

Beginning the record is a track that is a slightly new venture for the band delving into a prog-metal territory by way of melodic patterning, and it is named Sentient Robotics. The instrumentation on the song is pure listening euphoria in its arrangement with highly technical rhythmical parts. Think of the magnitude of guitar players like the great Ron Jarzombek, or a darker, heavier Alan Holdsworth. Then imagine either of these two prog legends piecing together parts for the band Tool with the technical virtuosity of the jazzier parts of Zorn’s Naked City group. Then instead of guitars or alto saxophone, you’ve got the choice inclusion of a bass sax with its powerful low register and you’re getting the idea of the magnitude in splendorous sound these musicians are creating.

Any fan of potent metal and jazz will find the music of Kilter utterly absorbing and engrossing…

For the next song, The Turing Test, the band change intensity from fast paced to a slower delivery but keeping the song within the framework of complexity by adding a tasteful mix of jazz to this slab of musical brilliance. Brought to mind here is what many of the greats in traditional jazz do giving instruments moments of focused energy. It definitely holds its weight in appeal. The sound is a moody, grimly dark piece that has a kind of feel of what others in this genre are doing with dark jazz, giving it a doom jazz vibe.

The third song Mind-Body Problem is a track that gives one the impression that a lot of improvisation was involved in its creation. It really tests the listeners attention span as a lot is happening. Rapid bass work can be heard with baritone sax playing with great conception, elaborately passing through well placed progressions, and then drumming that sounds very much like it could have been inspired by the overwhelmingly, and brutally difficult drumming of the band Sleep at their heaviest.

Kilter‘s Sys is startlingly addictive to say the least. The band is treading new ground, literally being one of the lone wolves creating an entirely new sound blending two very distant worlds together. Any fan of potent metal and jazz will find the music of Kilter utterly absorbing and engrossing. For those searching for excellent upcoming metal releases and want to hear something that is far above the average release in exceptional quality, Kilter‘s Sys is sure to satisfy any, and all, expectations of what you’ve been hoping to find.

Label: Alter-Nativ
Band Links: Facebook | Bandcamp | Instagram

Scribed by: Maxwell Seeman