Developing a progressive metal sound that is modern and experimental, Utopian Trap attain rarified stylistic differentiation on their sophomore album The Human Price. This quintet from San Jose started in 2005, slowly improving through over years to work their way up to a proper full-length — 2010’s Fiction Fades into Reality. The time passed by, and the band introduced a new vocalist Eric Boles, with whom they recorded and released their second studio full-length in July. There’s a hypnotic sense to a lot of the tempo shifts and riff segments – often switching moods up at the drop of a hat from tranquility to jackhammer cyber-fused heaviness, which along with the vocal employment gives Utopian Trap many colors and shades of arrangement exploration.
Two guitarists, Chandra Garud and Vinod Bhat, allow the band to tackle counterpoint elements while still giving an abundance of harmonic and melodic moments, occasionally shredding even in the keyboard department for the opening, almost 10-minute monster “The Human Price.” Fates Warning and Threshold come into the picture as prog metal riffs and melody are a focal point in many tracks, yet there’s also a bit of natural musicianship and dynamic contrast to the more streamlined “Atephobic.” You’ll find yourself humming along to many riffs or melody lines, and that’s a good thing in a genre that can sometimes be too technically sharp while forgetting to create a retainable, memorable song.
Boles handles the microphone duties in an excellent way; he is comfortable both in lower Russell Allen-registers and then anything piercing Tate high. Guitar solos punctuate instrumental sections, offering dramatic tension throughout The Human Price. The album features a boatload of drop on a dime tempo changes to highlight bassist Farhan Mohamed and drummer Roil Taggarsi as a fierce, schooled rhythm section.
Overall, The Human Price contains seven songs of stimulating song craft. Utopian Trap will gain converts, feeding social media buzz and aligning community attraction by the day.
Buy the album from Bandcamp.