Sometimes, artists land on a title that absolutely nails what the album is about. With ‘Powerclashing Maximalism’ Autocatalytica really have got it spot on.
Guitarist/vocalist Eric Thorfinnson’s vehicle for ‘scatter-brained prog-metal insanity’ slams in full juggernaut-with-brakes-cut monster riffing from the outset, and it’s a case of everything going of all at once, full-tilt and cranked up in terms of pace and volume, seemingly taking the principle of ‘everything louder than everything else’ (a song title by Meatloaf, and referenced by Mötörhead, but a line that originated from Deep Purple’s ‘Made in Japan’ live album, where Ritchie asks the sound engineer of his monitor mix, “Can I have everything louder than everything else?”) as its maxim for composition and production.
There’s plenty of room for some anthemic mid-tempo choruses – ‘Zippler’ is exemplary, with a hooky-as-you-like chorus and some quiet, almost folky/prog breakdowns in between the monster riffs ad guttural vocal snarls, while ‘Cheggler’ goes full jazzy math-rock / prog hybrid technical muso. Well, the title did surely forewarn, so I can’t beef however hard it makes me wince. But most impressively, ‘Autocatalytica’ packs all this in between expansive breaks ad monumental riffery while condensing and collapsing entire sonic worlds into three-an-a-half minute distillations of ‘the epic’.
If ‘Powerclashing Maximalism’ feels like something of a calamitous hybrid of all things, then that’s because even by the artist’s own admission it is, Thorfinnson describing it as is ‘an expression of the many different facets of progressive and heavy music I am engaging at this point in my life, with little to no regard for thematic consistency between tracks’.
But such divergence works when united by a sense of objective unity – namely to crank shit up and simply revel in the act of making music. There are passages of light, trippy psych and 60s pop and all kinds of proggy experimentalism, and the songs don’t necessarily flow in any way, shape, or form, the end result coming across like a cut ‘n’ splice effort along the lines of Mansuns’s ‘Six’ only mega metal.
However you view it, it’s one heck of a rollercoaster, and as Marmite as it may be, there isn’t a dull moment.