Halaska, Seven Circles, and Invincible Czars

Mayantology, Imaginal Cells, and Martyrs of the Alamo

Prognosis

Prognosis

Puzzling that a town not only intensely music-centric but one that also values virtuosity hasn't spawned more progressive rock bands. Fortunately, some adventurous souls persist, encouraged by code words like "post rock" and "math rock." Halaska embodies the label on Mayantology, the local quartet's knotty, complex music borrowing as heavily from mavericks like Frank Zappa and (especially) King Crimson as it does from free jazz and self-consciously "experimental" music. Anchored by Eric Elledge's thick bass and Gonzalo Ramos' busy drumming, guitarists/singers Dieter Geisler and Logan Giles extract infectious melodies from a chaotic melange of time signatures and African-influenced axe work on the punningly labeled "Robocopulate," "Nicotine Wolf," and "Brian Emo." Seven Circles avoids obvious precedents on its debut Imaginal Cells, instead evoking the anthem dynamics, rise-and-fall arrangements, and shifting rhythmic structures of hometown heroes Explosions in the Sky. Beat keeper Russell Hudson and bassist Bryce Spears keep the momentum surging, allowing guitarist Robert Howard's battalion of effects to engulf "To Be," "Peace Love Thanks," and a clever cover of The X-Files theme with six-string tsunamis. Complex vets the Invincible Czars travel furthest afield from genre cliches, while remaining most faithful to their original impulse. Martyrs of the Alamo pulls in rock, klezmer, cowboy, and classical music into a 28-cut silent film soundtrack. Repeating motifs and variations on the same melody emphasize the LP's purpose in accompanying visuals, but the band's compositional reach and instrumental skill remains impressive throughout.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
More Music Reviews
Review: Holy Wave, <i>Five of Cups</i>
Review: Holy Wave, Five of Cups
Five of Cups (Record Review)

Raoul Hernandez, Sept. 1, 2023

Review: The Bright Light Social Hour, <i>Emergency Leisure</i>
Review: The Bright Light Social Hour, Emergency Leisure
Emergency Leisure (Record Review)

Raoul Hernandez, Aug. 4, 2023

More by Michael Toland
Review: Monte Warden and the Dangerous Few, <i>Jackpot!</i>
Review: Monte Warden and the Dangerous Few, Jackpot!
Austin staple forges a connection between classic country and the Great American Songbook

May 24, 2024

Croy and the Boys, Warpaint, a Metal Fest, and More Crucial Concerts
Croy and the Boys, Warpaint, a Metal Fest, and More Crucial Concerts
Recommended shows for the week

May 24, 2024

KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

Halaska, Seven Circles, Invincible Czars

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Keep up with happenings around town

Kevin Curtin's bimonthly cannabis musings

Austin's queerest news and events

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle