I’ve battled this album probably more than I needed to. The problem for me was trying to find the direction that Ollocs were wanting to go versus the direction they actually take on their new album “Soul Theory.” Ollocs consider themselves progressive rock or even experimental. What I hear is a band with psychedelic roots that are exploring a more post metal area.
The riffs are often quite good as on the opener “At the Edge (part 2),” and the band understand when a more atmospheric section is needed. The problem is that the riffs don’t have enough meat on them and the atmospheric moments lack the huge space to really set them apart. Another issue are the occasional vocals which are not terribly strong and really unnecessary.
Sometimes an arrangement just throws the song off. The soft bass drum throughout “The Paradigm” is an example. It pulses through an otherwise beautiful song and is just loud enough to be distracting from the true magic of the song. It happens again in “Insight.” The clumsy “Ignite” is an example too. The intro section is messy and makes little sense next to the mellow part that follows (which has those aforementioned vocals).
“Appetite” actually repeats the same chaotic intro but has really annoying death vocals. I love death vocals but they sound like bad Gregorian chants over a riff that could use less noise and more actual power. “Unfolding” is ambient filler, while “Paper Dragon” has parts that are good and other parts that just don’t work for me. The album closes with the Floydian “Earth Meets Moon” which seems to fit the band better than the last few tracks.
The frustrating part of “Soul Theory” is that Ollocs are talented as hell. It’s obvious that they can play, that they have grand designs for their music. Unfortunately, the band’s own ambitions exceed what probably SHOULD do. I give Ollocs tons of credit for doing what they want but it’s obvious on “Soul Theory” that there are certain things they should explore more and other things they might be better off jettisoning.
1. At the Edge, Pt. 2
3. The Paradigm
4. Soul Theory: Ignite
5. Soul Theory: Insight
6. Soul Theory: Appetite
8. Paper Dragon
9. Earth Meets Moon