Review: “The Artist” by Strei

Hailing from Ottawo, Ontario Canada and comprising scene veterans Jeremy Toppings (Harsh Vocals), Aaron Stafford (Guitar, Clean Vocals, Bass, Keys) and Julien Doyle (Drums, Percussion, Vocals), a new Progressive Metal act Strei have, over a number of singles, consistently moved between sub-genres of Metal with ease. Blending those progressive sounds with some post-hardcore and melodic death metal elements like they were adding spices to an Indian delight, sonically the influences of genre pioneers like Periphery and The Contortionist are ones that we have recognised.

Something Strei have always done is set to take the listener on a musical journey and despite only being a trio, they make fantastic use of the studio to layer up complex sounds and paint imagery in the listeners mind. The haunting icy synths during “When I Could Dream” build into some Devin Townsend inspired guitar work before bursting into something more brutal as Toppings mourns a broken relationship. The wave like blend of melodic and heavy creates a breathtaking dynamic which is constantly twisting and contorting with schizophrenic lyrics boardering on insanity as Toppings is plagued by his thoughts. The elongated solo is epic, not to mention spoken word and sampled moments that work impressively well as embellishments to the overall sound. The bands first single “Decay” is here in extended form and the first two songs run from one to another like a river flowing to the sea as if conjoined twins. Lyrically the title track, it marks an emotional performance that moves in circles between doubt and despair while being accompanied by some majestically mournful music. “The Artists Lament” sees some Stafford give us some Brandon Boyd of Incubus esq clean vocals which soar delicately over a cinematic soundscape as he wrestles with his inner thoughts. The depth of the lyrics matches the complexity of the music perfectly as the band have managed to strike a fine balance and once again Stafford produces a solo of epic proportions with little nuances of orchestration that add intensity [8/10]

Track listing

  1. When I Could Dream
  2. Decay
  3. The Artist’s Lament

The Artist” by Strei is out now and available over at bandcamp

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