Tactus are a Canadian progressive metal band riding on the back of their debut album Bending Light. Following a series of EPs, the bands first full length record serves to further establish them and consolidate on their impressive style.
Ranging from blisteringly technical sections to anthemic choruses and some curve-ball additions of jazz, Bending Light has a lot on offer. Opening song Anamnesis is an instrumental introduction to the album, beginning with minimalist keyboard notes and building to a climax in a positive demonstration of the band’s structural awareness.
Aurora leads into the rest of the album, starting with clean vocals juxtaposed to harsh growls in the backing. Full of heavy riffs and carefully placed drum fills, Tactus show that they know what they’re doing. The record feels confident, and secure.
Another highlight is Feast or Famine, beginning with distorted guitars before a scream launches the song into full throttle with blast-beats raining. Some of the guitar work here embellishes an excellent sense of rhythm, proving impressive instrumental proficiency. It’s one of the heaviest tracks the band have to offer, and it’s a scorcher. The song strips back in the middle for some intricate riff-work before building back in.
Bending Light, whilst enjoyable, does not offer enormous amounts of variation. Whilst the song structure the band favour is professional and interesting, they do not deviate from their standard a great deal. This is not particularly damaging for the record, but some more flair would go a long way.
Album closer King of the Sky is a monstrous track, rocking in just under fifteen minutes long, and it’s an ambitious piece of music. Safe to say, the band pull it off in style. Opening up with a Disturbed-esque snare, the other instruments build into an intricate medley, like a pattern being weaved together. It’s impressive to hear. Tactus add a subtle layer of synth which brings on the song nicely, but it doesn’t lose its heavy edge. In a stripped back middle section the band’s jazz influences really come to light, and whilst it’s not audibly poor, it does lead the listener to question why it has been included. It feels like King of the Sky tries too hard to incorporate every element Bending Light has to offer, and whilst some sections are truly stellar, others are lacking.
In all, Bending Light is a solid debut album from Tactus. You cannot fault the band for being ambitious, and though some elements of the album suffer somewhat from feeling forced, the majority of the record is an unwavering demonstration of exquisite progressive-metal.