As if DAATH guitarists Eyal Levi and Emil Werstler haven't made a reputation for themselves as one of metal's most formidable and impressive duos, they just had to go the extra mile and release an instrumental album that showcases an even more dazzling display of fretboard pyrotechnics than anything they've done with their main gig. Growing up a fan of the shredding style heard during the glory days of Shrapnel Records, as well as being a DAATH fan, I knew just by reading the press release that I was in for a treat. Damn was I ever right.
Those of you expecting an off-shoot of DAATH's brand of death metal where a mindless flurry of guitar solos replace the standard screams and growls need to guess again. Equally wrong would be anyone with visions of Vinnie Moore-inspired neo-classical showboating or Steve Vai-styled weirdness. "Avalanche Of Worms" actually falls nicely in between all of that, with a myriad of other flavors floating around in the pot. Backed by CYNIC drummer Sean Reinert, bassist Kevin Scott and keyboardist Eric Guenther, LEVI/WERSTLER has created an incredibly unique and diverse piece of work. For 41 minutes, the pair pushes the boundaries in several directions at once, taking elements of prog, metal, avant-garde, classical, jazz and experimentalism to varying heights both in their respective contexts and as a wild, yet listenable, cornucopia of styles. From start to finish, "Avalanche Of Words" an enjoyably indefinable exercise in creativity. The downside to the seamless and fluid manner in which the album flows is that on an individual basis, many of these lose their luster; meaning that this is a record best experienced as a whole. The exotic natures of many of the melodies these two create don't leave for many moments of immediacy or 'hum-along' sections. If I was forced to take a few select tracks aside, I suppose the more metallic tunes like "Noxious Vermin, My Friend" and "Casting The Molten Sea" or the majestically prog-minded "In Amethyst, Through Moldavite" would be my first choices. The eclectic "Architectural Neurosis" brings enough entertaining dementia to the table to stand on its own as well.
You've got to give Eyal and Emil (along the other musicians involved) credit and respect for investing the time and effort into an album this far off the beaten path. As you could well imagine, this is not something the everyday fan (metal or otherwise) is going to latch onto. Then again, I can't imagine these guys sitting down to discuss projected record sales or marketing strategies either. "Avalanche Of Worms" is the result of musicians creating music for the sake of creating music and the final product is a damn fine one at that. Don't go into this looking for a quick dose of sonic adrenaline or an excuse to bang on the steering wheel during your daily commute. "Avalanche Of Worms" is a journey, and a dedicated one at that, but if you can take it all in and make it to the end, the payoff is immense.