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Martyr

Greetings, Kickers! This is the maiden voyage of a new vessel in the AK fleet; it’s a column intended to reassert some amazing music into the spotlight that, either via circumstance or myopia, we didn’t quite apprise you of upon its initial release. This new feature will be entitled, “In Case You Missed It.”
 
Our first entry is in honor of the EP Martyr Dispatch from prog-rock up-and-comer Session 606. I was afforded the opportunity to peruse this material a bit after the release date of the record (March of this year) and was absolutely enthralled by its splendid blend of progressive and synth-rock elements coupled with intoxicating melodies and poignant lyrics.
 
To give you a bit of background, Session was started by Anthony Masington in 2005 as a collection of acoustic demos which were later expanded upon by virtue of Masington’s involvement in a band called Mours with drummer Josh Eppard of Coheed and Cambria. Masington would later became a live guitarist for Eppard’s hip-hop project Weerd Science as well while the 606 project began to manifest in earnest. Eppard contributed the drums for Masington’s early demos, with drummer Bryan Mills taking over percussion duties in 2011. Beyond that, the band merely consists of Masington’s split-personalities— or incredible dexterity. You be the judge.
 
Now, when you hear the origins of the project are entwined with a member of Coheed, it’s very easy to draw parallels in the groups’ sounds… and that is no more apparent to a listener than on the opening track of Martyr Dispatch, “Anti-Socialism is the Poor Man’s New Black.” The track actually contains Coheed’s trademark group chants (Woah oh oh, woah oh oh) while Masington’s vocals definitely share Coheed-frontman Claudio Sanchez’s timbre and sense of melody throughout the album.
 
Schizoid
With that said, to simply label Session a Coheed approximation does Anthony a definite disservice. His phrasing has moments of striking similarity to Deftones vocalist Chino Moreno on, “Anti-Socialism…” also, with moments of free-form lilting and breathy resonance wafting above the driving din of the track’s instrumentation. It’s only once the song has reached its chorus that the Sanchez-tone takes over in his voice. The vacillation between these types of vocalization has an amazing effect on the ear, providing the perfect accentuation to each phase of the song with a contrast that enlivens the listening experience considerably.
 
A major point of separation between Session and Coheed is the inclusion of synth and trance elements in Masington’s compositions. He makes a definite point to avoid simply bludgeoning you into the ground with distorted guitars (which is not to imply that Coheed doesn’t, so back off fan-boys) – soaring orchestral synth is brought in with choruses to emphasize the dynamic shifts while not overpowering the mix. Other tracks, like, “Working Class Hit Men,” revolve around samples and synth pads entirely initially. This, in collusion with the unique sense of phrasing, really lends a sense of kinetic frenzy to tunes that are exceedingly focused and well-formulated.
 
The EP is not all furious rock, either. “What Used To Be Right Now,” the record’s third track, is a melodic lit fuse that holds the vocals (and subsequently, the lyrics) aloft like a ring bearer’s pillow. Acoustic guitars, samples and phaser-effects season the mix throughout. His previous records also include metal, electronica and industrial genre staples. Session 606 is definitely an eclectic enterprise.
 
The instrumentation is always designed to augment and serve the melody of each tune; with the thoughtful, articulate lyrical content of the record it’s easy to see why. Phrases like, “In with the old, cherish the used— a story’s more profound when battered and bruised,” create a brilliant narrative thread through each piece, telling a tale with the tracks while equally enthralling with their musicality.
 
Fans of Coheed and Cambria will definitely be drawn to this sound, but devotees of Deftones or Nine Inch Nails won’t be disappointed either. The malleability of the material is a major selling point, and it certainly wasn’t lost on me from my initial listen onward. The fishhook lyrics and melody will embed in your head for hours, and you’ll return to the record again and again to refresh your yearning ears. What’s more, this isn’t Session 606’s only effort. There are 3 previously released EP’s available (with two additional upcoming records) through the group’s BandCamp page… so you can start expanding your collection instantly if they fit your fancy.
 
So, in case you missed it, point your browsers Session 606’s way and do your aural center a favor… but, as LeVar Burton says, “You don’t have to take my word for it.”
 
All right, actually you have to. Go listen. You’ll thank me later. Mahalo kiddies!
 
 

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For fans of:
Coheed and Cambria, Deftones, The Prize Fighter Inferno, Nine Inch Nails, How to Destroy Angels

 
 
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