Sometimes you just find a band that changes things. It’s not that I wish to claim that jazz metal hasn’t been done before, or that other bands such as avant-garde masters like Sigh or Blotted Science aren’t challenging the musical realms of metal. No, it’s really not that at all. I would, however, like to claim that some bands just write particular material that meshes so well with an outer influence that you can hardly believe what your ears are hearing. This is surely the case with the jazz metal, instrumentally driven outfit, Conflux.
Self-proclaimed as Chicago’s premiere jazz metal band, Conflux have only one release entitled Spark. It’s an EP, to boot. That might be for the better, because this stuff is incredibly complex. It may be that the brevity of their sole release is what makes it so damn good. I think it has something to do with the textures created by the tenor sax that dominate each and every song. I’ve heard it done by other bands, just not in such a pervasive fashion. Of course, I do think that this is an album requiring a fair amount of focus. It’s one of those that’s absolutely distracting, but in the best way possible. I guess you’ll need to find something a little more straight forward for that Sunday chore list.
Admittedly, while I can analyze music decently, this is one of those times where I very much feel out of my element. It’s not so much that I couldn’t, but there’s some really advanced stuff going on, here. In fact, I’m not even sure that a full breakdown does it much justice. At the end of the day, I think it suffices for me to convey that this is just something you need to hear. I’d love to learn that this group plans on putting out more music, but for now we’re riding solely on a release that is already five years old. Be that as it may, check this out. If you’re at all a musician or a fan of intricate compositions, this is the release for you; not to mention, this also might prove great fodder for showing metal naysayers the strength of musical intelligence in the genre.
If you want to hear more from Conflux, or other similar artists, please check out the Malicious Intent metal show hosted by myself every Saturday night from 10 p.m. – 12 p.m. Tune in at KJHK 90.7 FM or listen online at www.kjhk.org!