I’m sure I’ve mentioned this before but technical metal has long been a genre largely composed of copy cats. New ideas are eschewed in favour of playing faster, or in a more difficult timing. It can be exciting for the instrumental nerd and it can be boring for the casual listener. Koralis are definitely still looking for their unique selling point, but the potential for them to stand out from their peers is pretty obvious.
Koralis can certainly play and thankfully they’ve chosen to display their instrumental abilities within arrangements that are pretty exciting for the most part. There are lots of sharp stops and starts and stuttering grooves here and they’re well augmented by a powerful and percussive vocal approach. It’s easy to see how engaging these tracks could be live, on record its sometimes a bit hit and miss.
Some of the riffs are pretty catchy, some don’t even try to stick in your head. But the band make up for this with tasty little melodic flourishes and dashes over the fretboard that stop their songs resembling a chug happy low-end obsession . Their electronic influences are also pretty well interspersed within the recordings, providing an element of tasteful contrast to a release that is for the most part unrelenting in its aggression. Though it’s a trait that’s likely to draw obvious and lazy comparisons to Periphery.
Which is a shame because Koralis don’t write music half as bloated or self-indulgent as that band. It’d be an injustice to see them cast off as Periphery without the singing. Certainly the piano lead moments of this EP trump anything of the same on any Periphery release so far.
Koralis do lack the finesse and sense of texture that’s seen bands like The Contortionist push the technical and experimental envelope so far in 2014. But the potential is there, the likes of “Drifting” and “It’s Alive” display a commendable sense of melody that doesn’t feel as cold or cheesy as a lot of modern metal.
If you’re into the technical approach to metal then Koralis are certainly worth keeping an eye on. Chances are they’re on the way to producing something great.