Review by Jason Guest
Self-released (name your price here)
The genre tag “mathcore”, perhaps more than most, is a problematic one. It’s that word “math” that does it little favours. It implies that the music will be cold and calculated, technical and precise, and written and delivered with a mathematical precision favouring intelligence and eschewing feeling. Add “core” to it and the risk of being lumped in with a whole host of substandard deathcore and metalcore bands that turn everything up to eleven and franticly wank their instruments off till their manicured fingers bleed and shout bloody murder till their delicate throats are raw. Bless ‘em. So with Oxford’s Masiro’s bio on their Facebook page bearing that very tag, it can mean one of two things: either they are blind to the connotations that adopting such a genre tag brings, or they are fully aware of them and are prepared to stand their ground and back it up with some seriously good music. Fortunately for Masiro, it’s the latter.
After the one-minute ‘Intro’ that neither adds nor detracts from the EP’s overall quality, the calculating couple of drummer Chris Fethers and guitarist Mike Bannard deliver four tracks that are as rich in technical precision as they are in textures and dynamics. While ‘Tong Warrior’ and ‘Decayer’ lean more towards the intense and meticulous, ‘Sky Burial’ lets the duo breathe as they slow the tempo down and let the atmospherics develop amid the track’s broad vista. And with closer ‘K Panda’ unifying and expanding the two approaches, Masiro further demonstrate their ability to intertwine feeling with intellect. With the instruments tightly wound and playing with and off of each other, they soon blur into one, each instrument’s sonic nods moving each track in unexpected and always-interesting directions. The result is an accomplished debut EP that defies the cold expectation that the genre tag “mathcore” is loaded with and marks Masiro out as a band worth keeping an eye on, particularly now that they’re a trio (bassist Chris Hutchinson has recently joined the band).
7 out of 10
- Tong Warrior
- Sky Burial
- K Panda