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Socionic Soar on New LP: Dividing Horizon
There really can never be enough bands that “sound like TOOL,” or more aptly put: craft interesting progressive metal that’s inspired by the quest to achieve a higher consciousness. Los Angeles based Socionic definitely fall into the “bands that sound like TOOL” category, much like local progressive rockers Camori do (although Corey Camori might argue that point with you), and like Camori, Socionic are a solid enough unit to break out of the “sounds like TOOL” pigeonhole, even if at moments they really do sound a little too much like TOOL.
Wow, how many times can we mention TOOL in one paragraph? When introducing Socionic, it’s almost impossible to refrain from mentioning the two in the same breath, so I guess the answer is pretty obvious. This is especially true if one is speaking of Socionic’s debut EP titled Identity (2012). The opening riff to “Aisa Morta” is so similar to a TOOL time signature that one has to wonder if Socionic guitarist Billy Graczyk is a little too enamored with Adam Jones’ style. Fortunately, with Dividing Horizon (2015) the band begins to find its own unique voice by differentiating themselves from the TOOL sound while remaining firmly within the (i.e. the overarching progressive metal) formula. It is fair to say that the band germinated the seeds of their own more discernible sound in “Ignorant Idiot” off of Identity, but it’s nevertheless true that the growth the band desperately needed arrived with Dividing Horizon.
The influence isn’t completely washed out of the mix though on Dividing Horizon, as standout track “Ascending Horizon” definitely is heavy on the TOOL influence in everything from lead singer Michael Meinhart’s vocals to Graczyk’s guitar lines. The song is powerfully ascendant, not unlike “Lateralus” is, but plays to the slightly different strengths that Socionic are endowed with as compared to TOOL. Unlike “Lateralus,” Socionic’s “Ascending Horizon” never threatens to collapse under its own weight. “Myopia,” another one of Dividing Horizon’s standout tracks, flows with the kind of beautiful groove that nary a TOOL song ever has. “Myopia” is almost reminiscent of Deftones at their most beautiful, although the comparison is a tenuous one, to Socionic’s benefit.
“System’s Son,” soon to be the band’s first music video, is an excellent choice as such since it is perhaps the most un-TOOL like song on the album. It has more in common with nu metal, but rescues itself from falling into that much maligned category through Graczyk’s exquisite soloing.
Socionic take one last major cue from their heroes in TOOL by bathing their songs in the beautiful and inspiring artwork of Valp, a self described “self-taught digital artist” whose work is on par with that of Alex Grey’s (longtime TOOL artistic collaborator). It’s the kind of move that many progressive metal bands take, but that none outside of TOOL themselves have done so strikingly, and sublimely.
Socionic are playing a show at the Viper Room in L.A. with (you might have guessed it) TOOL drummer Danny Carey’s side project VOLTO! on April 16. Grab your tickets here. Hopefully, the tour that Michael Meinhart revealed to Shutter16.com that is currently in the early stages of booking will come together soon. Socionic is one of those bands that just beg to be seen live. Making a show at the Viper Room might be a little tough for most of us East Coasters, but maybe the band will be making its way to this side of the States. We can only hope we will be so lucky.