HarderBeat Review by The Kris Norris Projekt - Icons Of The Illogical, Magna CartaBest known as lead guitarist in his former band, Darkest Hours, Kris Norris shines on his first solo release. Lament, Requiem, Threnody...
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The Kris Norris Projekt – Icons Of The Illogical
Magna Carta Records
Former Darkest Hour lead guitarist Kris Norris delivers his first solo instrumental offering under the banner of The Kris Norris Projekt entitled Icons Of The Ilogical. Thematically this scorching fourteen track behemoth takes a peek into the mysterious world of conspiracy theories, a subject that has long fascinated the young musician. While Norris’ past work with Darkest Hour was centered around that bands death / metalcore style, Icons Of The Illogical finds him branching out into more of a progressive metal sound, yet at the same time without entirely forgoing his darker roots.
Recorded over a two week period by Norris and Gwar’s Corey Smoot, Icons Of The Illogical has a fantastic feeling of immediacy coursing through these compositions, large in part due to the improvisational recording approach taken by Norris and his band, which includes drummer Dave Gibson and bassist Dave Fugman. Lamb of God’s Randy Blythe appears on two tracks, turning in some absolutely harsh sounding, guttural vocal performances on “Ghostly Shell Removal” and “Remaining Foolish”. As for Norris, he delivers a multitude of his trademark scorching melodic leads and punishing intricate riffs. Whether he’s burning up the fret board in a blazing flurry of notes on “The Condition of Being Bored” or slowing things down with some tasty layered soloing soaring overtop the underlying acoustic passages of “Regression Of The Ictus” and “Palindrome”, it all comes together with a remarkable amount of cohesiveness. The great thing about Norris that definitely sets him apart from the majority of instrumental rock guitarists working in this arena, is that he doesn’t just rip off his solos at lightning speed or concentrate solely on technique. He has a keen sense of melody and even when he does play fast, he does so with a lot of emotion, something which is clearly reflected in the construction of his multi-faceted, layered solos.
Flat out this record is nothing short of true artistic guitar genius. Fans of Norris’ past work will embrace Icons Of The Illogical with open arms, while at the same time it’s bound to introduce a new legion of followers to his fan base. This is one of the best examples of shred for brains that I’ve heard yet.
HarderBeat Review by The Kris Norris Projekt - Icons Of The Illogical, Magna Carta
Best known as lead guitarist in his former band, Darkest Hours, Kris Norris shines on his first solo release. Lament, Requiem, Threnody has plenty of emotion and shredding with a little mix of acoustic. Kris shows a nice little run on the intro to “The Hegelian Principle,” which features some of the disc’s best melody lines and solo runs. The solo really stands out on “Palindrome,” a mid-tempo rocker that’s played over an acoustic melody and blends well. Although most tracks are instrumental, Kris enlists help from Randy Blythe (vocals) of Lamb Of God. You can hear his familiar scowl on the crushing “Ghostly Shell Removal” and “Remaining Foolish.” If you love guitars, Icons Of The Illogical serves them up in heavy doses. Just check out the shred-tastic “The Brotherhood Of Melancholy” and “A Shift In Normalcy.”
MuzikReview by The Kris Norris Projekt
Icons of the Illogical
Kris Norris Projekt - Icons of the Illogical
Saturated with fuzz-packed, distorted electric guitars and an onslaught of double bass drum thrusts, the Kris Norris Projekt’s freshly completed Icons of the Illogical is an over-the-top throwback to the metal/progressive rock era.
A jack of all trades on the album, guitarist Kris Norris demonstrates his ability to navigate the fingerboard of the guitar with ease. Formerly the lead guitarist for Dark Hour, Norris allows listeners a taste of his chops and rhythmic pumping throughout the course of the LP; while his technical ability is undeniable, his tastefulness seems at times to take him over the fence and into the land of overplaying – think HEAVY Metallica, meets Children of Bodom, featuring Yngwie Malmsteen. “The Law of Falling Bodies” sets the foundation for the album with layered guitars and an introduction to drummer Dave Gibson’s right and left foot; a more delicate track on the album. As “Everything Expires” launches, it is evident that the tonal bar of the album has been raised and will not return to the initial ribbing of track one (note the Nintendo-like background figures after the 1:57 minute marker).
On the whole, Mr. Norris sets his compositions in 4/4 time, excluding “Lament, Requiem, Threnody,” which features a tasteful pocketful of 6/8 and a much-needed breath in the form of an acoustic guitar break. “Ghostly Shell Removal” finally consents to a vocal feature from Randy Blythe of Lamb of God; while the vocal performance is aggressive and fitting of the tune, understanding the lyrics or folding in a hint of melody would make for a nice contribution. “Wound of Amfortas” is a well-placed gasp of fresh air for the ears with its Danny Elfman-esque chord changes and samples ala his arrangements for the motion picture “Batman.”
“Palindrome” lives up to its title with a well-deserved contrast in tonal soundscapes while featuring an adequately selected tempo and comfortable pocket – a pleasant example of the band’s ability to navigate ambiance transitions while maintaining progressive flow. “Remaining Foolish” screams away featuring a second vocal performance from Randy Blythe – by far the heaviest cut of the album. Mr. Norris brings the album to a timely close via a recurring piano theme surrounding a hard-edged sendoff in “Servants of Sadness,” closing the door to Icons of the Illogical.
Kris Norris is a talented guitarist, multi-instrumentalist, and covers some noteworthy conceptual ground; bassist Dave Fugman and Mr. Gibson keep up with his tempo markings, stops, and stamina quite well. While Icons has much to admire in terms of technical musical ability, it borders on lacking tastefulness and variety; aside from a few lighter acoustic guitar breaks and an innocent piano motif, the album lacks a memorable track worthy of getting stuck in ones mind. Despite having a rather large number of tracks to offer, it is difficult to warrant shelling out $17.98 for the physical CD (or any album for that matter) through Magna Carta’s site when it is offered through Amazon beginning at $13.16 and via iTunes download for $9.99. To his credit, this is Mr. Norris’ first marathon with his new Projekt and a second (perhaps even a third album) could be something very worthy of the praise he deserves and further revealing the conspiratorial investigations he conducts.
HMU Review by On the one hand this is a very surprising and unique record. On the other hand there's absolutely nothing original here. Let's explain this feeling; Kris Norris (former DARKEST HOUR's guitarist) is delivering something quite strange, I mean an instrumental version of IN FLAMES. Indeed, "Icons of the illogical" sounds like sort of a "The Jester race" without vocals. The music is a very typical Gothenburg melodic death metal and reminds me of the above-mentioned act all along the opus in the way it sounds like death metal rhythms mixed with heavy metalesque guitar melodies. Norris' guitar-lines are powerful, melodic and technical at the same time, the rhythm section is pretty powerful and sometimes close to thrash, and the whole stuff is so well done that it's impossible to feel that someone's missing at the voice. Randy Blythe (LAMB OF GOD's vocalist) is singing on two tracks and confirms the feeling that this KRIS NORRIS PROJEKT is a melodeath project more than it's an album of guitarist. A great album for anyone who like melodic death and maybe for those who like guitar heroes too...
Sea of Tranquillity Review by Kris Norris is the former lead guitarist for extreme metal band Darkest Hour, and Icons of the Illogical is the debut for his new, mostly instrumental outfit, The Kris Norris Projekt. Even though the band's label is Magna Carta, if you are familiar with Norris' former band, you wouldn't necessarily expect some of the wild sounds here, much of which falls into the progressive metal style more than anything else. Rounding out the line-up here is Dave Gibson on drums, Dave Fugman on bass, and guest vocals on two tracks courtesty of Lamb of God's Randy Blythe.
Comprised of mostly guitar heavy instrumentals, Icons of the Illogical is surprisingly catchy and melodic, some of the arrangements complex at times, featuring ripping guitar solos and crunchy riffs. The production & mixing was done by Norris and Cory Smoot from GWAR, and the results are crackling with power, the guitars sounding absolutely huge on tracks like "The Law of Falling Bodies", "Everything Expires", and "The Hegelian Principle". Death metal fans will love the ferocious sounds of "Ghostly Shell Removal" and "Remaining Foolish", the two songs featuring Blythe, who brings his intense growls to these pummeling metal tracks. Other highlights include the guitar acrobatics on "The Condition of Being Bored", the maximum riffage that is "A Shift in Normalcy", and the galloping "Regression of the Ictus", the latter sees Gibson firing off a torrent of jackhammer rhythms throughout.
If you appreciate the heavier end of the instrumental metal spectrum, Icons of the Illogical should be at the top of your shopping list. Here's hoping Kris Norris decides to do more of this type of thing in the near future.