UK tech prog­gers blos­som and shine on al­bum two.

Prog - - The Musical Box - DL

De­spite its debts to tech­no­log­i­cal progress and mu­si­cal com­plex­ity, post-djent prog metal doesn’t need to be a com­pli­cated busi­ness. Valis Ablaze showed a ton of prom­ise on their Bound­less de­but last year, but with pre­cious few wor­thy con­tem­po­raries and only a hand­ful of bands dar­ing to tin­ker with djent’s for­mula, the genre’s prospects have looked iffy for a while. To keep it simple, Valis Ablaze have fo­cused on what really mat­ters: songs. Ren­der is a joy from start to fin­ish, not just be­cause it throws up a few new ways to gen­er­ate ex­cite­ment from a bendy post

Meshug­gah riff, but also be­cause these songs are so mem­o­rable and el­e­gantly crafted. Only oc­ca­sion­ally redo­lent of Tesser­acT’s more stream­lined mo­ments, the wildly dy­namic opener neon Dream­ing and the suc­cinct, surg­ing Hol­low Heart never quite do the ex­pected. In­stead, you will hear the band’s iden­tity grow­ing stronger in real time, as front­man Phil Owen’s gritty tenor soars across some of the sharpest tech metal tunes in re­cent mem­ory. Tellingly, only the clos­ing el­e­va­tion strides into more brutish ter­ri­tory, but Valis Ablaze still man­age to make it sound fresh and for­ward-think­ing.

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