WORDS: James Weaver
Instrumental projects within the realm of heavy metal are always a peculiar thing. With no vocal contributions at all, these projects boast impressive instrumentation but often lack the killer punch to really hook the listener. POMEGRANATE TIGER is the brainchild of Martin Andres and the project explores an interesting blend of progressive metal and djent whilst laced together with experimental quirks. Building on the success of his debut, 2013’s Entities, Boundless seeks to continue the project . Is this new offering a unique serving of progressive metal or does it fail to hit the target?
One thing is certain about Boundless, the record is absolutely jam-packed with musical excellence. There is so much intricacy, slick riffs and djent toned breakdowns to tick all the boxes of what makes this sub-genre of metal so enjoyable. The Masked Ball features mesmerising solo play backed with a subtle use of symphonic sounds to make the track really stand out where as opening track Manifesto ebbs and flows in fine rhythm to keep the head bobbing from start to finish. The record certainly holds testament to Martin Andres‘ ability and skill as a guitarist as his riffs, solos and lead play is as mesmerising as it is intoxicating. The intertwining riff leading into the enormous solo on title track, Boundless, is a clear example of this and really boasts the technical edge POMEGRANATE TIGER have over their competitors.
The biggest problem with instrumental projects however is the lack of vocals which often divide the metal community. With the entirety of the listener’s attention focused on the musical performance, the pressure to deliver a stellar performance is absolutely monumental. Unfortunately for Boundless, there are moments throughout the record that slog and leave the album limping at the finish line. Whilst the lead licks on Color Theory are slick resembling musical beauty, the intricacy of the performance can overstay it’s welcome. It’s not that the performance isn’t technically outstanding, it really is, however the record tires alarmingly quick.
For a instrumental record, Boundless almost does everything right. There is enough musical show-boating fused with subtle drumming and atmospheric sound that leave moments of real beauty however repetition quickly becomes an underlying tone and it leaves Boundless falling short of the mark of true excellence. There is no questioning Martin Andres talent as a musician, and yet you get the feeling that Boundless doesn’t truly reflect this. As musically brilliant as the record is, it unfortunately lacks that addictive factor for repeated listening.
Boundless is available now via the band’s official Bandcamp.