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"Surgeon - Surgeon EP (Free Download)"

What's in a name? In regards to Surgeon, one might expect a sound that is clinical, focused, and sterile, but on its self-titled debut, the Canadian instrumental band proves to be anything but. The six tracks that form the band's first offering, available as a pay-what-you-like download, are a haywire trip through a dazzling array of genres and sub-genres, with opener “Spectrum” alone offering enough ideas to warrant a thousand tags.

"Spectrum" opens in a barrage of clattering percussion akin to Ephel Duath or the heart of Kayo Dot's latest full-length, but this soon gives way to a (slightly) more cohesive mesh of heads-down guitar work and rhythms. Latter day Pelican and ISIS are probably the most accurate comparisons when considering the base of Surgeon's sound; the band alternates between dark and light at the flip of a switch, creating a contrast between distortion-washed, down-tuned riffs and clean, trembling picks. Surgeon doesn't quite master the art of the build-up quite as well as its peers, and occasionally it gets lost in its numerous reworking of ideas, particularly in the middle of “Octomom,” but the sheer amount of ideas it squeezes into each track ensures that the listener's mind doesn't wander.
The band's more restrained moments are often its most interesting, such as in the breakdown of the same track, something which sets it apart from noise-merchants of a similar ilk. These aren't respites to help distinguish between the tones provided by a certain overdrive pedal and a certain fuzz pedal, as is often the case for such artists; instead, they are pivotal to the direction of each track. There is also a refreshing lack of reliance on the strict quiet/loud formula. The quartet makes use of such contrasts as highlighted earlier, but it strays from the typical schematics of the tired post-rock blueprint.
Yes, Surgeon is often shameless in its acknowledgements and lifts more than a couple of ideas from the rosters of Southern Lord and Hydrahead, but even over the course of the EP there is a feeling that the band is honing in on a sound of its own and becoming more confident in its own abilities, with closer "Rat King" being the strongest offering on it. While we may not yet trust the band on the operating table, Surgeon is certainly enough to get the pulse going, and this half hour debut EP is full of promise.
-Jordan Dowling

"Surgeon - Surgeon EP (Free Download)"

Surgeon is a St. John's, Newfoundland, Canada based group of post-rock phoenixes that rose from the ashes of a previous instrumental rock project called Narrows in 2008. After adopting a darker, heavier, and structural vibe to their music, these practitioners of prog, led by leftover Narrows members Steve Cowan and Andrew Wicks, went full speed ahead into another realm of instrumental rock and came up with their debut self titled EP that we bring you today.

Listen to Surgeon's EP on BandSoup

Unlike many other post-rock and math-rock outfits, Surgeon are careful to avoid weaving compositions that are under developed or overly complicated; instead, the band combines moody multi-layered melodies, waves of intricate guitar work, and a rousing rhythm section that seamlessly flow through multiple genres while still offering audiences music that's easy to digest. Instrumental rock is a still a niche genre, but Surgeon is one of those bands that could entice a new brand of listener because they understand how not to alienate the average joe while keeping the attention of listeners that are searching for a musical mind fuck.

On their six track EP, Surgeon first lures you in with the aptly titled intro, "Spectrum", where they begin with a sequence of pulsating hard rock riffs that eventually splash onto a shore of trickling guitars and dreamy percussion before looping back into a nightmare of metal. "Octomom" opposes the intro as slow tentacles full of ethereal electronic noise, hypnotic bass and drums, and layers of guitars and eastern woodwinds slowly swirl in circles before the song breaks off into a fast and hopeful swim. The band then shows their various talents with the meat and potatoes of the album-- "Silverfish", "Doso", and "Solar"-- where Surgeon's song composing, expert musicianship, and knack of playing within the heart beat of instrumental rock's cardiovascular system surges through each epic twist. The grand finale, "Rat King", is exactly that, culminating everything the band did throughout the EP in one last dramatic song fit for everyone's end.

The music on this EP is almost two years old, so it will be interesting to see where the band goes next with their music. For now, this emerging Canadian outfit is looking to leave their Newfoundland shores to explore the world and are hoping that this EP gives them the wings to do so.


Surgeon EP (2012)



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