Method of Breathing

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On 2002's Method of Breathing, Philippine rap-metal band Chicosci mixes dissonance, melody, harshness, and tenderness to come up with a potent brew of music. The band's musical intelligence and adventurousness shine throughout, spearheaded by imaginative, blistering guitar work and topped by vocals that encompass harsh growls, rough raps, and melodic singing. The opening, "Solution Cairo," may be too harsh for most people, though, as the ultra-dissonant singing and guitar sound like a musical nightmare. In fact, the song is more of an exaggeration than a real song, but Chicosci makes known its thirst for musical exploration. The album proper starts with "Rolento," with blistering guitar riffs that give way to tender singing and a strong, melodic chorus, and then more riffs that lead to harsh growls. These parts are repeated in sequence, which gives the song a basic structure, a process repeated throughout the album. There are additional guitar adornments further on, but the basic structure remains intact, and this helps the listener absorb the music. The most significant ingredient that makes the album more accessible, however, is the prominent use of melody. "Glass Is Broken," for example, contains a strong melodic figure that is the song's focal point, and this, combined with the strong, inventive guitar work, makes for a good song. Aside from the opening (intentionally bad) cut, there isn't a bad track on the album. Highlights include, among others, "Rolento," "The Dance of Ones and Zeros" (with its fiery chord sequence), "Drift/The Ugly Side of Things," and "Paris" (with its imaginative guitar work as well as the juxtaposition of dissonance and melody in the vocals). Listeners should be prepared for a heavy dose of harsh growling on the album, but the growls don't overwhelm and they mix in well with everything else. Some of the melodic singing isn't as strong technically as it could be, but the overall power of the songs overshadows this. Method of Breathing is an excellent, enjoyable album.