Album Review: The Reticent - Le Temps Detruit Tout
Progressive music has been in the midst of a boom in recent years. After a long stretch of time in which being able to play your instrument was deemed unnecessary, and long songs were out of vogue, things have come full circle to an embrace of the reckless creativity that marked the glory age of music. Whether a softer approach as taken by groups like Transatlantic, fully metal statements by the likes of Opeth, or something straddling the fence like Porcupine Tree, more and more bands have accepted the freedom that comes with being progressive. Without the shackles of a certain sound to follow, and escaping standard structure, the music can be something bigger than just a collection of songs. Albums can tell stories, digging deeper into the emotions of a listener.
The Reticent draws from this spirit on “Le Temps Detruit Tout”, taking the music through twists and turns, regardless of whether the listener is ready to take the journey. “In Pursuit Of Redemption” is reminiscent of classic Opeth, both in the structure of alternating passages of metal with fingerpicked acoustics, as well as in the feeling evoked by the riffs. Chris Hathcock's guitars carry a similar tone to mid-era Mikael Akerfeldt, and his riffs are constructed from similar melodic undertones. His vocals aren't as strong as his playing, but fit the mood being established. The song may be lacking a hook, but the parts are well integrated.
“Mutually Assured Destruction” follows this line, again balancing the light and the (not so) dark, playing textures off one another as the song unfolds. The melodic vocals atop a Tool-inspired pulsing riff is evocative, grounding the song before it takes off in several directions. Over the course of seven minutes, is weaves through sounds with aplomb, never settling down long enough to grow stale. “Enemy” shifts the tone, eschewing Opeth's influence for Tool, shifting the riffs in a more calculated manner, adding strained vocals that recall Maynard James Keenan with a wink and a nod.
The influences felt throughout “Le Temps Detruit Tout” cannot be ignored. Every band has influences they draw from, and finding a balance between them and your own ideas can often be a delicate procedure. In the case of The Reticent, the line may have been crossed. Every song, and every passage within them, comes with an associated memory of another band. This does help make the album easier to dive into, but it ultimately makes the end result feel a bit hollow, as though looking at a musical lithograph. Yes, it is art, but it belongs to someone else. In that way, “Le Temps Detruit Tout” doesn't feel like an artistic statement. What we have are well done reconstructions of someone else's creations, a loving replica that no matter how brilliant, pales due to the comparison.
That being said, denying the craft on the album would be a terrible mistake. Familiar though they may be, the songs on “Le Temps Detruit Tout” are solid constructions that show considerable talent, enjoyable enough to be listened to with an open heart. If not for the parallels, it would be a grand achievement. With the mitigating circumstances taken into account, it's still a good album that deserves its chance, it just isn't something that can make the kind of impact an innovator would be able to. It's progressive music that doesn't progress beyond what we've already heard, which is a disappointment. I can hear promise throughout these songs, but I can't hear enough of The Reticent, and that's a shame. I would really like to.