Album of the Day: Skryptor, “Luminous Volumes”

One of the best things about math rock is that you don’t have to understand algebra to enjoy it: You can leave all the additions, subtractions, and equations to the musicians, and just sit back and enjoy the solutions. The New York-based trio Skryptor might not even consider themselves math rock—their bio accurately references metal pioneers Black Sabbath and free jazz destroyer Sonny Sharrock—but their debut album Luminous Volumes recalls the dizzying heights of that genre’s peaks nonetheless, sifting scaling guitars and calculator rhythms into roller coaster tunes.

Giving complex music a gut-level impact is easier if you’ve honed your craft into a second nature, and the three members in Skryptor have a worthy pedigree. Bassist David McClelland and guitarist Tim Garrigan once purveyed heavy jams for Midwest hard-workers Dazzling Killmen and Craw; when he’s not writing about brain-busting music himself, drummer Hank Shteamer plays for prog-metal trio Stats. The trio’s collective experience is clear in their music’s precision, but it also helps them avoid the deadening repetition that a relentless attack can often fall into.

To that end, Luminous Volumes doesn’t contain songs so much as it does multitudes. On the mini-marathon “Lotus and Mace,” Skryptor scale ascending, stair-like riffs to beatific interludes, stopping to admire the view as they go. They indulge their Sabbath side on the grinding “Red Mountain,” spiking sludge with caffeinated accelerations. They can even get mellow, as in lengthy closer “Summer Blossoms,” whose dreamy tone is grounded by slashing chords and an earth-bound beat. That track helps ease Luminous Volumes down to a soft landing, but it also suggests great future flights are in store from these three hyperactive minds.

-Marc Masters

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