Perhaps the most interesting thing about The Relapse Symphony is that they not only resist easy categorization, but actually think of themselves as constantly evolving, exhibiting no fear of venturing outside of their comfort zone if it means making better music. And it's that sort of pioneering attitude from which legends are born.
So, are The Relapse Symphony legends in the making? Maybe not. But their new album Shadows is definitely worth a listen to anyone who wants to know what's next in metal. The lines between genres are blurring more and more with each passing generation, and bands like The Relapse Symphony are at the forefront of a sound that hearkens back to pop/glam metal, where much more emphasis is put on melody and harmony than crunch and boom. What I find most interesting is the idea that it's metal reaching across to the pop world instead of the other way around. Could you imagine a pop star like Kelly Clarkson doing even one song on one album with, say, Scar Symmetry backing her (in my head, it sounds fucking awesome, come to think of it)?
In any case, I like that not only are there bands like The Relapse Symphone around to prove metal the relevant and innovative music genre that fans already know it is, but they don't play it like a gimmick. I honestly get a similar feeling to what people must have thought when Queen came on the scene with their operatic bombast, straining what people thought rock music was supposed to be. I can't say whether The Relapse Symphony will reach that level of musical reverence, but it's this kind of ballsy experimentation that keeps metal moving forward.
The Bottom Line: The Relapse Symphony is a band for 21st century; a group that not only acknowledges everything that's come before it, but proudly mixes those influences together into whatever shape feels right at the moment - as long as it rocks. I'll be watching to see where their imaginations take them next.
- Genghis would probably feel more than a little out of place at one of this band's shows...