Pathos Trio, out of New York, set out to be the chamber contemporary new music group that stood out from the pack by incorporating elements of electronic, metal, post-rock and more into their sound. The result is a bridge from classical music to rock that has the potential to bring in fans from both genres. It’s a crossover/fusion album that brings together, not just genres, but entire cultures. If you’ve never been a fan of classical music, Polarity just might be the album to change your mind. The six tracks were each written by a different composer, who then collaborated with the group to create a mesmerizing soundscape.
The album opens on “Mega Cicada” by Ian Chang. Anyone who has had the misfortune of witnessing a swarm of cicadas will recognize the sound of the insects that the group approximates with electronic instruments. That sound effect really ties together the rest of the staccato piano and jerky percussion which, together, form a sort of math-rock-meets-classical vibe. Then “Split” by Phong Tran gets very synth heavy and, at times, very mathy as well. There’s a dark tone to it that gives it an almost darkwave vibe, which is a pretty happy marriage since darkwave frequently features classical elements anyway. But, at times, some of these synth solos on the track seem to get metallic, and some of the drumming gets really fast and intense, like a proto-blast beat.
“Pity” by Andrew M. Rodriguez starts out with a disjointed rock beat before a barrage of complex percussion, synth, and piano come in. The rock beat gives way to an electronic beat, and the song again takes on a synth-heavy darkwave vibe with a touch of metallic edge to it. “Monolitos” by Vincente Hansen Atria has such a harsh beginning that it almost comes across as noise rock. Then the harsh noise starts to combine with some very traditional classic piano, making for a striking contrast between styles.
“21600” by Paul Mortilla contrasts ambient noise against a piano playing more traditional jazz/classical style, eventually bringing back the mathy, crooked beats to add to the song’s fun weirdness. Finally “Home/Gone” by Clara Warnaar ends the album on the most upbeat track as a cavalcade of bells and xylophones make for a bright sound, but there’s a darkness underlying in the bass tones of this song that adds the slightest sinister undertone to the proceedings.
Every composition on this album is a fascinating journey, and rock fans will find themselves in a lot of surprisingly familiar territory with this album. Fusing genres always makes for fascinating music, but, in this case, it also opens doors for fans to broaden their horizons and discover something outside of their personal norm. If you’re a metal or a darkwave fan who wants to start venturing into other genres, this might just be the perfect album for you.