The Crinn

Dreaming Saturn

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Like most math metal bands, the Crinn's greatest challenge on their 2010 album, Dreaming Saturn, is trying to deliver quality as well as quantity. Meaning that, although there's no denying the group's head-spinning musical chops and willful ambition to break down musical boundaries, the sheer barrage of flailing limbs and flashing digits contained within these songs doesn't necessarily equate to a master class in memorable song-sculpting -- certainly not in the eyes of regular folk (i.e., non-musos, for whom virtuosity alone will often do the trick). And so, it's rather worrisome that visual confirmation is actually required to discern where track one, "Incipience," ends, and track two, "Meat Eating Machines," begins (the aural evidence alone is inconclusive); not to mention subsequent descents into practice-like noodling indulgence (e.g., "Cathartic Insurrection," "Lucid Dream Field") that feel like mentally exhausting and emotionally void (unless you count anger) musical homework assignments. And yet, while most music fans will have little patience or understanding for the Crinn's Dadaist approach to songwriting, experienced math metal graduates will uncover any number of memorable passages, often rooted in traditional extreme metal styles and distant but recognizable styles like jazz and new age nestled within better cuts like "Anaphylactic Shock," "Voluptuous Eruptions," "Syzygy," and "Down, in Waves." At the end of the day, the Crinn certainly prove their mettle as metallic mathematicians on Dreaming Saturn, but they also remind us that straight-A students aren't always the most popular pupils in class for a reason.

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