Australian guitarist Plini will be releasing the final part of his EP trilogy, The End of Everything, on March 11th. The album has been released for free streaming on Plini’s YouTube channel. I had high expectations of the album since it features Steven Wilson’s drummer Marco Minnemann and appearances by some of my favorite musicians. However, high expectations are a double-edged sword, and so I started listening to the album with a certain amount of trepidation.
All my doubts were allayed in the first few seconds, however, as the title track starts off with a neo classical, modern Opeth vibe and then transitions to a more subtle yet expansive rhythm. The opening few seconds are as close as Plini come to playing “djent,” although they still sound as unique as ever. The rest of the song is a slow tempo prog/jazz fusion piece full of intricate synth work, groovy bass work and Minnemann’s odd time mastery. The song also features Chris Letchford, lead guitarist for Scale the Summit.
If I had to describe Plini’s sound, I would say it is a mixture of soft shred, modern progressive and post metal fused with some jazz elements. The sound is very much unique and the songs are layered extremely well to create a very airy yet complete atmosphere. This is the first album where Plini has not had to play the bass or program the drums and this has allowed him to spend more time on arranging and mixing the tracks properly, a move which has paid off handsomely. The bevy of master musicians supports him well, always adding their own to, but never distorting, Plini’s vision.
The 2nd track, which has the awesome title of “Wombat Astronaut,” is a mellow, jazz inspired track that features Luke Martin on the piano. The interplay and tradeoff between Martin and Plini is just spectacular and the track benefits highly due to it. It feels like a very personal track, a shared joke between both friends that they both are reminiscing about. The song also features Plini’s father Gary Holgate on double bass. Even though Plini prefers to describe himself as “a guy who make music,” and not a musician, the track is ample evidence that he is clearly selling himself short.
The final track, the 8 minute 32 seconds long epic “Paper Moon,” is the most ambitious and expansive track on the album. The track feels like all 3 EP’s condensed into a single song. For some reason, every time I hear the track, it conjures images of climbing to the top of a mountain and being rewarded by the picturesque view at the top of it. The song evokes a multitude of emotions and it is its storytelling aspect that makes the final track the most satisfying. The song features Jakub Zytecki, but it is a credit to both him and Plini that I never figured out who was playing when since the guitar parts were so seamless in their transitions.
This EP showcases the best of Plini. The impressive roster of featured appearance aid Plini and allow him to focus more towards songwriting and production. The songs are well written, well arranged and have been excellently produced. Overall, the album is a shining example of what good, creative, honest progressive metal sounds like.