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Review: Pangaea – Roots

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The Wisconsin quintet Pangaea brings something new to the table. In modern music, especially most forms and sub-genres of metal, bands don’t stray too far from the tried and true metal sounds. They take from bands that have already made it big and keep the same formula while tweaking it to try and sound unique enough. Very few small-time bands have a truly break-through sound, or a defining factor that can be distinctly noted as theirs. Well Pangaea is well on their way to becoming one of those defining, genre blasting bands.

Though it’s only six tracks long, Roots can be broken down into two parts. The first that you hear, is a soothing ambiance and acoustic or clean guitar and bass and light drumming. Two of the six songs (“Gaia: Separation” and “Roots“) are completely instrumental, sounding like I had just written, with one song (“Old Soul“) sounding like that the first half and changing drastically to metal in the second half. These two and a half songs are beautifully and gracefully written. Personally, they strike a very calming chord in me that brings up images a natural landscape. I was blown away when first listening to Roots and how well it transitioned from such a calming instrumental into a full-blown metalcore sound.

The other three and a half songs are exactly, if not more than, what you’d expect from a metalcore band; they’re fast, jumpy, heavy and intense. The songs really move and never stick with one thing too long, they move quickly from a slew of uncomfortable sounding chords, to a quick bass solo, to a barrage of guitar chugs, then to even faster scales and harmonics, to a intense guitar solo, then finally to a catchy metalcore riff that I had stuck in my head longer than I’d care to admit. Instrumentally, these songs are so on point I had to listen to them a few times to let them sink in, and once they did I had to go back and listen again because once – even three or four times – wasn’t enough. Trae Titus (guitar), Evan Webster (guitar), Spencer Fox (bass), and Steve Meyer (drums), have all earned major props, and my recognition as great musicians.

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Vocally, Roots consists of mostly of high, mid and low-ish screams. Add in a few potent yells, and some equally potent singing (2:00 on “Gaia: Reconciliation“), and it’s safe to say that Michael Dionne is one of the better vocalist in the local and underground metal scene. Dionne lays down great vocals throughout the entire album, and while his high screams may not be eveyone’s cup of tea (they’re harsher and more extreme than your average metalcore vocalist), he delivers one of my favorite “blegh!”s (at 2:00 on “The Balance“) of 2015 so far.

Overall, Roots was an unexpected diamond. From the first seconds of “Old Soul” to the final track, “Aokigahara“, Pangaea will keep you on your toes, while simultaneously drifting you away to a place of unexpected peace and calmness, and this is what makes Roots truly unique. It’s a great album that I’d recommend to anyone who’s gotten tired of the same-old sound from the same-old bands.

9/10

Check out Pangaea on Facebook, Twitter, Bandcamp, and YouTube.

You can also buy a physical copy of Pangaea’s Roots here.

If you’re interested in reviewing music for Pig Squeals And Breakdowns, contact us now!

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