Crossing The Rubicon… Who did it better? This band from Ohio (and Leeds) or Julius Caesar?
Crossing The Rubicon turns out to be more than starting Roman civil war. It also happens to be the name of a highly talented Progressive Metal band with one essential twist to make them stand out amongst the pack – they have a full-time saxophone player in their ranks. It’s a scientific fact that the presence of a saxophone will enhance just about anything. It would turn out that Progressive music is no exception!
It hasn’t always been that way. This band has been hard at work for years now, putting out a number of releases since first setting sail in 2012 (thank god the world didn’t end that year). It’s all built up to the focus of this album review today! Crossing The Rubicon’s latest and greatest goes by the name of “Matter”.
This is a tank of a record composed of 11 tracks spanning roughly an hour’s run-time. They all weave a basket of sound to hold the listener through sections both smooth and abrasive. There’s a good bit to discover around the corners of a LP such as this!
You can either read on or give a listen for yourself right now. The full album and some singles are available through the video streams provided on this page! You can also enjoy the album through your chosen music platform as it’s available through just about all online music retailers. This includes the likes of Spotify, Amazon Music, Apple Music, Pandora, and YouTube.
Now, let’s see what’s the “Matter” with this album… ba dum tsk… I’ll see myself out after this review.
“Animation” begins the album with beautiful soundscapes that are almost reminiscent of something like the Blade Runner soundtrack. This is all before the full band crashes in through a tasteful wave of sound, really kick starting the album experience.
As mentioned, the tracks across this record work wonderfully together. Many have elements that cause them to stand out but they ultimately all work hand in hand to create the overall experience that amounts to the “Matter” LP. It’s clear that Crossing The Rubicon have put a good bit of time and effort into stamping out their sound with this one. The band is incredibly tight and it shows.
Speaking of the band, Crossing The Rubicon is composed of four members currently. They are Alejandro Licano and Deven Jahnke handling guitars, Dave Woehrle with the rumbling bass, and Josh Durke with the woodwinds on top. One would presume they’re currently seeking a full-time drummer… more on that later…
For now, back to the album… While I think every track put forth is high quality, there are some that really stood out to me. The aforementioned intro “Animation” serves as an amazing introduction. “Time Lapse” is a single with powerful hooks and passages that consistently get stuck in my head after listening. “Divide The Sky” had some of the heaviest / sharpest moments on the record. Tracks like “Vesuvius” and both installments of “Matter” are just straight up ear adventures (in fact, most of these tracks are!). Finally, “The Die Is Cast” closes things out admirably through combining several of the elements from across the album with some added surrealism. I could really go into more detail across the board but I’ll leave those twists and turns up to you, the listener, to discover firsthand!
The album also makes use of a few voice over samples and dramatized segments. This is most notable towards the end of “Divide The Sky” and “Astraeus”. I won’t explain further as not to ruin any surprises or concepts put forth.
From a strictly personal standpoint, I found the drive and overall approach of this record great for listening in certain situations. It makes for a great driving soundtrack and serves admirably as background music for work. I also found it was good for relaxing and household chores. The driving nature of the music supports activity and the smooth side of the music is good for relaxation. Kind of a win – win situation here.
The production backing this LP is phenomenally executed across the board. This isn’t too surprising when you take time to look at the credits. “Matter” was recorded and produced at The SONARC Production Co and mastered by none other than Jamie King (The Contortionist, Between The Buried And Me, Scale The Summit, etc). It really just sounds phenomenal from front to back!
I don’t have too many complaints coming to mind when it comes to “Matter”. So to spin that awful joke from earlier, there’s not much of anything the “Matter” with this album. If anything, the lack of real drums may affect the outlook of some listeners. In all honesty through, the programmed drums and other synthetic elements come across quite naturally with a sheen of professionalism. I’ve also come across some feedback from TCP followers that the music is too calm at times (I didn’t personally lose any sleep over this). That being said, the album won’t be everyone’s cup of tea. However, it’s certainly worth a go for all the prog heads of this world!
Now the time has come for the final word… To put it simply, I think this album is great… superb even. It hits on a number of levels, has plenty of replay value, and is even ideal for a number of different listening situations. Crossing The Rubicon have truly upped the ante with their recent work and people should be paying attention. To sum up the experience, my gut has been hovering around a 9 out of 10 for “Matter”. Very well done.
Just to reiterate, if you’d like to give this music a listen – now is your lucky chance! Streaming links can be found up above. You can also pop over to music platforms like Spotify, Amazon Music, Apple Music, Pandora, and YouTube.
If you’d like to cross over into this band’s fanbase and see what they’re up to next, Crossing The Rubicon can be followed through a number of social networks! This includes the likes of Facebook, Twitter, and Soundcloud.
Now, go forth and enjoy the Saxophone Metal!