Cambion are one of those bands whose name should be much bigger and profoundly more recognisable than it currently is. They formed in Devon, circa 2009 with the goal of pushing the boundaries of Progressive Metal very much in the centre of their collective mind. Several line-up changes did not diminish their Trojan approach to playing live and collecting new adherents, but despite their status as veterans within the UK Tech/Progressive Metal scene, they still did not have an album with which to push their brand and enhance the thrall (not Thall, be patient my pretties, be patient!).
With that album very much on the horizon (it is touted for a release sometime this year.) I thought it an apposite moment to revisit their debut EP Virus, especially as they have also done so; extending it, bulking it out and generally sending it down the Gym for gainz.
If Virus was a man, it would be a huge fella; muscular and sinuous, but with a secret passion for collecting silk flowers. For Cambion lead very much with the strident and powerful side of their music, leaving the flourishes to flow naturally along in its wake. As with anything, there are moments when the effectiveness of this wanes, but most of the time it waxes with the most most jubilant and nylon melting glee.
Imagine Monuments deep in the throes of a Fear Factory addiction; where the influence of Burton. C and chums had penetrated so deep that their music had been infiltrated by a never-ending store of quasi-digital momentum. Right, have you envisaged that fully? You have? Oh good, because now you are pretty close to synthesising Cambion in your cerebellum. Lucky old you! Add a dash of Meshuggan rigidity and tonal brutal-ism and you’re 99% there.
The remaining 1%, however is miasmic and vital. What it consists of is almost indefinable, but which I attribute to an almost vapid sense of British eagerness. Which has motivated musicians from these shores since the world became a single marketplace and stylistic traits leapt borders rather than slunk across them. It is this pervading aura of needy vigour which marks this EP out as one of the sequestered gems of the UK Tech scene.
They blend song-craft and prerequisite technicality in just the right measures to maintain fascination. But, having said that, Cambion are not yet the replete and finished article. Despite their significant tenure there is still the flushed cheek of the excitable youth about them. This is not an exclusively bad thing either, as it displays a distinct and impassioned enthusiasm for making music still extant within them.
Only, perhaps more compellingly, it bodes seriously well for their incipient album. That they will be taking the lessons gleaned from friction burns in the studio and grazed knees on the road, into the live room for the construction of their next and perhaps their most important release.
I for one am waiting with neatly baited breath for this record. It promises to be worth the wait, and there is no finer feeling in life than that.
– John Whitmore