Hailing from the east coast of Australia, Serious Beak’s prog-laced, face melting brand of progressive metal will make you think, ponder and work towards a goal that’s not too far away. Serious Beak have worked hard for you and ‘Ankaa’ will make it easy for you to love the Beak. ‘Ankaa’ marks a certain bridging gap for the band from Sydney. After all this is but an EP, one that took a whole four years to write and record. I’ll put it out there now, it’s been four years worth the wait.
Now I know what you’re thinking; even though this has a total of four tracks (four tracks for four years wait, sounds fair right?) this entire EP still has the substance of a full-length record. Now before I get too in depth with the music I want to share a little time on the album art. Have you seen Serious Beak’s ‘Huxwhukw’? It’s abstract, meaningful, yet completely sharp and direct. It’s like an idea fell gracefully onto a piece of paper, rather than put onto paper by something as obtrusive as human hands. There’s credit to be given to an artist that can bring an idea, music and art all together within one motion. It’s also unreal that Serious Beak can bring this artistic element back to that singular idea and make every note match the next and work back into the artistic elements, making every note match. As for the music, ‘Ankaa’ makes waves for those who enjoy thinking man’s metal. There’s a reason why acts like Mastodon, Intronaut, Meshuggah and The Mars Volta all have the followings they do; they’re smart and make smart music. Serious Beak are no different. If you haven’t experienced Serious Beak’s music before imagine an instrumental Mastodon, the twists and turns of Intronaut and the bombastic poly-rhythmic riff work on Meshuggah and you’re not even close. Technically it’s fine, that’s a lot of name-dropping and not too much to work with (especially if you have been living under a rock and missed all of the bands above) you’ll just have to dive into the world of ‘Ankaa’.
Four decadent tracks, drenched top to bottom in prog-metal goodness crash into the listener. It’s like a tide is coming in and each wave hits you climbing higher and higher onto a sand bank. Each component is separate and then combines to create pure instrumental ecstasy. If you think about it, ‘Ankaa’ is a tease. Imagine if this was a full-length with eight to ten tracks, imagine what that would do to your average every day listener. Most wouldn’t handle the amount of talent being pushed into their eardrums. Serious Beak are a band constantly moving forward, but they’re definitely not about to rush their way through the process. I mean this EP took a whole four years. ‘Ankaa’ takes a logical step in the right direction from the band’s previous ‘Huxwhukw’ which was heavier in comparison by not in feeling. ‘Ankaa’ feels more spacey, laced with more prog elements, and yet is free of thought (to a certain extent). That’s not to say the boys are confused, rather it’s quite the opposite. Serious Beak are blessed with pure musical ingenuity. For what it’s worth Serious Beak just “work”, it’s what the band does. Everything is precise, a fusion of mind and instrument. ‘Ankaa’ is practiced yet remains “real” in the way it sounds. Just because they’re big names on the making of the EP doesn’t mean any part has lost touch with what ‘Ankaa’ needs to sound like. Some bands try to achieve this sound for decades and fail to get the right combination, Serious Beak mastered this years ago.
Right now I realize I’ve been gibbering on about this four-tracked EP for quite a while now. My love for home-grown music often allows my fingers to hit more keystrokes than what’s considered normal. As great as the music is, it’s actually easier for readers to listen to the album (when it’s released) than read this giant wall of text. I’m sure you’ve got the idea by now, the music is awesome. Take the EP’s opener “Proto (Menura novaehollandiae)” for example; static crashes through the speaker, coupled with tumultuous pounding. It’s also the shortest track on the recording, coming in at three and a half minutes. The instrumental prowess of Serious Beak is limited by the track times they write their music. The EP’s second track, and aptly titled “Main Sequence (Dacelo novaeguineae)” is a monster, monolithic in nature. At thirteen minutes, it only hints at the magnificence of what Serious Beak have to offer (Can I put in a request for a single tracked EP clocking in at forty minutes?). “Main Sequence (Dacelo novaeguineae)” blows the standards for progressive music out of the water so to speak. As it stands this EP is far from over.
Overall it’s a shame that I’m only listening to an EP, I love what Serious Beak do. For an EP that took four years to make, it was well worth the wait. We all know the guys from Serious Beak are hard workers, the band’s music matches their work ethic. Take what you will from this instrumental slab of progressive music, it’s not for everyone. Just know that it takes an immense talent to write music like this, all that is needed is for you to appreciate it.
1. Proto (Menura novaehollandiae) (3:28)
2. Main Sequence (Dacelo novaeguineae) (13:03)
3. Red (Laniocera hypopyrra) (10:15)
4. Heat Death (Teratornithidae) (7:34)
Recording: Tim Carr at Def Wolf Studios.
Mixing: Tim Carr at Theta Labs.
Mastering: Mell Dettmer (Earth, Sunn O)))
Artwork: Caitlin Hackett
Gene White – Drums // Tim Brown – Guitar // Lachlan R. Dale – Guitar // Andrew Mortensen – Bass