I've always had a soft spot for Canvas Solaris, their instrumental mix of prog, metal, and fusion really fills many needs for me, much like the way the music of Behold...the Arctopus, Blotted Science, and Planet X also hits home on many levels. Their latest release on Sensory is titled The Atomized Dream, and if you've dug their take on instrumental 'mindscrew' in the past, then this one is surely going to indulge your progressive metal hungers. Some have said over the years that the band doesn't go all out metal as much anymore, while for some, the heavier aspects of the band overshadow the more progressive and gentle nuances that the band touches on. All I can say is that both elements are fully on display here, bone-crunching metal guitars battling with spacey synths, raging organ, and tricky rhythms on "Photovoltaic", crushing & technical intensity (let's talk about a head first collision of Cynic, King Crimson, Death, The Dillinger Escape Plan, Spastik Ink, Zero Hour, and Blotted Science) on the killer "Solar Droid", charming, melodic fusion on "The Binaural Beat", and quirky, textured prog on the closing epic "The Unknowable and Defeating Glow". Though The Atomized Dream is a great sounding CD, I would have liked the rhythm guitar riffs to be a tad beefier-case in point, "Patterns Spiral into Swarm", a blistering metal/fusion number, which could have benefitted from the heavy sections having more guitar crunch to them to provide even more of a contrast to the softer passages. Overall, this is a sonic feast, guitars slashing and crashing, rhythms keeping you guessing, turning a song like "Heat Distortion Manifest" into an overwhelming technical prog-metal marvel.
The band is comprised of Nathan Sapp (guitar), Chris Rushing (guitar), Hunter Ginn (drums), Donnie Smith (keyboards), and Gael Pirlot (bass) this time around, and really, Canvas Solaris sounds like a real BAND for the first time, a full- fledged fire breathing monster ready to take on the world. Though the band now has a regular keyboard player in Smith, these songs are still guitar heavy, though synths & acoustic guitar take up a lot of space in the calmer passages. Bassist Pirlot adds in plenty of sinewy grooves alongside the tricky fills of drummer Ginn, and the two provide the 'fusion' to Sapp & Rushing's 'metal' and Smith's 'prog'. It's a great formula, and a great CD.
1. The Binaural Beat (5:09)
2. Reflections Carried to Mirror (4:20)
3. Chromatic Dusk (3:53)
4. Patterns Spiral into Swarm (4:54)
5. Heat Distortion Manifest (5:41)
6. Photovoltaic (8:32)
7. Solar Droid (4:33)
8. The Unknowable and Defeating Glow (10:19)