This entire review could have just been, “it’s bloody brilliant, go and buy it” over and over but for the sake of posterity (and word count) I will elaborate. For categorising purposes, Poverty of Ideals is a 3-piece from Johannesburg and plays instrumental progressive metal, with some jazz and blues thrown in. When I first opened up the album on my playlist I accidentally clicked on a random song and was greeted with a few seconds of a low tuned, djenty riff jumping from place to place. My first thought was, “Oh god! Not this again. What ever happened to the idea of guitar tone and riffs that aren’t schizophrenic?”
Boy was I wrong! When I played the album through from beginning to end (and again and again), I was hooked. Poverty of Ideals play music similar to artists like Cloudkicker and a more calm Animals As Leaders. Where this genre can easily descend into either monotonous low open string chugging or self-indulgent wankery, Poverty Of Ideals does neither.
The three members (Kyle Williams on drums, Craig Goudge on guitar and Matthew Bairstow on bass) are all clearly very accomplished musicians. The band was formed in 2009 and previously released an EP in 2010 but Barriers is their first full-length album. They all graduated from the Campus Of Performing Arts with flying colours and have cut their teeth in various bands from an early age. These boys know their chops, and it shows on this album. Every instrument has its time to shine and they shine brightly. Guitar riffs twist and turn, bass-lines groove and give weight and the drums accentuate with complex beats and nuances. Without vocals, the instruments are front and centre and there is never a dull moment. It’s sometimes hard to think this is just 3 blokes. Poverty Of Ideals certainly have no poverty of ideas.
The songs range from full on progressive metal machines with interesting time signatures to beautiful acoustic melodies, with the album opening and closing on a softer note. With no lyrics, song titles can be no more than placeholders but they do convey a certain ethos of the songs. For example, the more tongue-in-cheek titled “Jazz, Dawg” certainly has some jazziness going on and it’s funky too… Dawg. Songs like “North Star Fleet”, “Glaciers” and “StarGazer” also lend an air of expanse in the music. The production is fantastic (you can actually hear the bass guitar on a local metal album, praise Odin). By virtue of both the production and the song-writing, Barriers is an album that transports you to other worlds. I really can find no fault with it and you would be quite hard-pressed to find an album of more class and talent in these parts, let alone any part of the world. Keep an eye on Poverty of Ideals because they are going places, despite what the album title says. Now go and buy it and support these deserving chaps, the album lands on the 30 November and you can get it right here via Agent Indie Records!
Listen to the track “Sky Trigger II” below: