I can’t claim to be an authority on metal or progressive hardcore to any degree, but what I can say is how this kind of music makes me feel when it strikes the right chord, or in Reckoner’s case, pummels the right chord into a happy submission. This self-titled release is the bands first full-length and it features one mighty blow after another, bringing about the same gut-churning feeling that washed over me upon first hearing Mastodon a few years back. The music is intense, intricate and layered and has that epic quality that brings to mind images of Norse Gods laying waste to goblin armies and plundering riches from the fortunate.
But this is not mindless, aggressive metal full of darkness and despair. Reckoner’s lyrics deal with issues such as our wounded earth and the scars we as humanity place upon her. But to call this a “world weary” album, or music with a message might cheapen it a little. Sure, the messages exist in the music, but they are stamped in place when needed and not hammered down your throat.
That these dudes play hard and have a blast doing so is what makes this album a winner. Recorded at Vancouver’s Armoury Studios with producer/engineer Shaun Thingvold (Strapping Young Lad, Lamb of God), Reckoner’s first full-length is a heaving, churning, frothing monster of an album that is of superb quality and sound. One of the best tracks here is the short but brutal “Waves of Perception” which kicks straight into the huge riffs of “Grey Spot.” Vancouver definitely has a growing metal scene that deserves more attention, and with albums like Reckoner, we are well on our way to earning a place on the heavy metal map.