Nothing beats the combination of a well-composed album with a well-defined ideological backbone. New York’s Prismatic Mantis is less a band and more of a project driven by an admiration of music’s mechanical power. Their latest instalment, Swords Of Truth, rehammer the nails in these foundations.
Prismatic Mantis is, essentially, the vision of guitarist Mark Reynolds. Reynolds composed, recording and produced all the songs on Swords Of Truth. Hell, he even designed the damn artwork. Reynold’s motives stem from the simple axiom that all music is finely tuned vibrations that can effectively affect the biology and emotion of its recipients and, therefore, can influence human actions and shape the world around us. The name ‘Prismatic Mantis’, perhaps, implies Reynold’s vision: he aspires to exploit and confine nature’s frequencies through musical instruments, ‘prisms’, allowing vibrant surges of stimuli to refract.
And there are many frequencies to choose from in Swords Of Truth. Its most apparent strength is the breadth of its elements: jungle, electronica, African, ambient, jazz, fusion psychedelica, prog rock, math rock and world. Opener ‘It’s All You’ is a psychedelic surge of twinkling, ethereal electronics. ‘The Core’s Light’ begins as a prog-rock medley evoking vibes of Pink Floyd and Yes, and moves passively into a jazzy lounge act. ‘Swords of Truth’ combines ambient soundscapes with long, jazzy improvisations.
It is for this reason that Swords Of Truth is the epitome of eclecticism. Prismatic Mantis are clearly adept at fusing seemingly disparate musical elements together. Yet, counter-intuitively, the album overall has a homogeneous texture: it remains smooth, jazzy and nonchalant. It’s overall blueprint is clearly definable despite its exhaustive range of tools and influences. Swords Of Truth is an album driven by an ideological desire that Reynold takes very seriously, and an album with this much thought should not be ignored.
Experimental, jazz, math rock, angularity, odd rhythms, world, fusion, progressive