Plateaus – “Crash Landing” EP [Peer Review 02]

Instrumental thrash/prog shredder Nate Flores aka Plateaus returns with a follow up to the “Annihilation” EP, bringing some expansive new sounds and flavors to his energetic brand of metal.

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Plateaus – “Crash Landing” EP

  1. Mayday
  2. Another Happy Landing (feat. Vanessa Flores)
  3. Avarice (feat. Chharath Chay)
  4. The Hermit (feat. Chris Tarver)
  5. Squiggle To Adventure (feat. Kyle Schaeffer/Archaeologist)

Impressions

Crash Landing covers a lot of sonic ground, much of it new stylistically to the Plateaus catalog. The album title, cover art, intro track Mayday, and track names suggest the concept of an alien arrival on Earth, which is a very fitting motif as Flores explores some new musical worlds of his own.

Another Happy Landing kicks off with a familiar thrash energy as heard on Annihilation, but has a, dare I say, “happier” vibe? Flores’ leads really shine on this track and his playing sounds smooth and effortless. The track features a tenor sax passage by Vanessa Flores, introducing a tasteful and unique texture into the mix.

A track like Avarice is a great example of the new continuum Flores is traversing, beginning with a waltz-like intro that shifts into upbeat, proggy goodness, and abruptly sucker-punches the listener with a slamming, death-core-esque breakdown. His guest on this track, Chharath Chay, is capable of searing leads as well as gorgeous ambient guitar atmospheres. Chay’s current band is The Ocean, The Beast, and his solo project is Color&Noise.

The Hermit is another standout track which incorporates piano echoed by harmonizing guitar parts. Flores trades sweeping leads with guest guitarist Chris Tarver for an interesting exchange of styles, transitioning seamlessly into one another. Tarver makes tasteful and creative use of whammy and sweep picking, and is a talented artist currently at work on a debut tech-metal EP under the name Kogetsu.

Squiggle to Adventure  features guitarist Kyle Schaeffer who works under the name Archaeologist, building a track around emotive alt-rock chords juxtaposed against singing leads to round off the album quite nicely. I would highly recommend Schaeffer’s Archaeologist to anyone into progressive, modern metal, he is one badass guitarist who makes brilliant music.

For Fans Of

Crash Landing would be right at home in any playlist with artists like Sithu Aye, Intervals, or Scale the Summit.

There’s also a ripening virtuoso element to Flores’ playing on this release, sharing some DNA with prog-guitar forefathers like Satriani or Petrucci.

Anyone enamored with skillful, tasteful, progressive metal guitar compositions would really dig this album.

The Element

Plateaus is a stage for Flores’ talents in guitar and in drum programming, and locking down those two major elements as tightly and as deftly as he has makes him an unstoppable self-propelled musician.

While he can shred effortlessly and pull off some impressive fretboard acrobatics, Flores always seems to consider every note and every drum hit in a very tasteful and musical sense. There’s really no guitar wanking or non-musical frill in the Plateaus catalog, which I feel sets Flores apart from many in the underground progressive scene.

The moods of the album are generally more playful and adventurous than the balls-to-the-wall pitch of Annihilation, which reflects the growth of a musician whose honing is style towards mastery.

Song arrangements charge straight ahead without any fluff or pretense, as per the Plateaus protocol, thrusting the listener into one excursion after the next.

This album is a successful collaboration between Flores and friends, showcasing the talent and unique character of each player.

A lot of heart has gone into these tracks, and Flores shows he’s a very disciplined and creative independent musician who won’t be denied.

Listen and enjoy!

Links/Purchase

Credits

All songs composed and performed by Nate Flores except guest solos:

  • “Another Happy Landing” – Vanessa Flores
  • “Avarice – Chharath Chay
  • “The Hermit” – Chris Tarver
  • “Squiggle To Adventure” – Kyle Schaeffer

Tracked, Mixed, and Mastered By Robby Lewis of Redmark Records
Artwork By Chris Mora

Hey!

If you’d like a piece of music reviewed like this in my Peer Review series, hit that Contact link in the menu up top and drop me a link to your album.


 

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