By: Nick Manduley
With the progressive post-hardcore genre flowering into a vibrant online community over recent years, the interwebs have become flooded with wildly talented bands influenced by iconic progressive, math-rock, and alternative acts new and old; these acts include but are in no way limited to Yes, The Fall Of Troy, Thrice, Dance Gavin Dance, and so many more. Northern California experimental post-hardcore outfit Enso Anima put out a record in 2018 called Instability that not only draws on that type of influence, but also dips ventures into the realm of blues rock and the wide spectrum that is emo.
I’m not entirely sure what to call this release; it clocks in at a whopping 40 minutes, which one could argue is too long to constitute as an EP. At the same time, however, there are only 6 songs on the record. We could spend all day going back and forth about whether or not this release is an EP or LP, but it wouldn’t change the fact Instability is a must-have for anyone finding themselves getting into progressive post-hardcore.
Lead vocals are handled by drummer Nick Creary-Scher and rhythm guitarist Whitney Schuster. Together, their vocal performance helps to cultivate a melodic and, at times, aggressive atmosphere on Instability. From the haunting spoken word sections in tracks like “Cold in Atlantis” and “First Flight,” to the aggressive borderline-screaming and bone-chilling harmonies on the bluesy behemoth “Steam,” it’s clear that Enso Anima isn’t holding anything back in their latest release. Lead guitar and keyboards are provided by Shane Ward, who along with Schuster, paint each track with their musical prowess; if you’re somebody who appreciates quality guitar playing, you need this record. There is no shortage of spacey delay-laden tapping sections, screaming solos, or face-melting prog riffage on Instability. Tyler Francis is the bassist any band would be lucky to have in their lineup; his performance on tracks like “Cable Cars” and “Atlantis” are extremely tight and are in no way short on fills. It sounds like he truly feels his basslines rather than simply play them.
Though the band has yet to formally announce any new material, nor do they currently have any shows book for the end of 2019, I eagerly await to see what they have in store for us at the turn of the decade. Until then, Instability is available on all major streaming platforms. If you’d like to help support Enso Anima through their future musical endeavors, I highly recommend subscribing to the band on Patreon.