I both like and dislike the djent genre. I find that most djent bands lack nuance or self-editing skills, meaning that they produce music which is ham-fisted, relentless, and monotonous, even with all the beats and riffs they play. I like the basic idea of djent, though, and when I find it in a musical package that is diverse, creative, and genuinely interesting, I can enjoy it. [STÖMB] is one such djent band. Their new album Massive Diverse Meta Art is a spellbinding feast from myriad tables. It was released on March 17th.
[STÖMB] hails from France. They’ve been at it since 2012, but this is my first encounter with them. The current lineup is Aurélien De Freitas on guitar, Tom Bonetto on guitar, Alexandre Garachon on bass, and Tom Gadonna on drums. Guests include Laure Le Prunenec on vocals, Jørgen Munkeby on sax, Léo Natal on guitar, and Quentin Godet on guitar.
I love this band’s sound. Yes, it is djent and progressive metal, but the band has injected life into those styles. You’ll hear a wide array of tones and textures, ideas that range from ritualistic to whimsical to cyberpunk. The band mixes in jazzy notes, electronica, and gorgeous keys to keep things consistently interesting. There is never a moment that lacks some sort of flourish, finesse, or finishing touch to bring out the soul of the music. Additionally, the performances are both nuanced and technical, especially Tom’s drumming, which I find thrilling.
Massive Disturbed Meta Art has ten tracks. For my money, the first half is the stronger half, but only by a hair. The first five tracks are simply outstanding. From the spectral vocals and ritual of “The Realm of Delirium” to the heavy bombast of “Sidereal Lucid Dreamer”, the album opens with delicious contrasts. It mostly abandons the djent with the electronic beauty “Kaleidoscope”, one of my favorites for its delicate touch and ponderous tone. It continues that sound with “The Extantrasy”, a track with almost dance vibes and beats that slowly transitions into a metallic, rising piece. “Meta Art” completes the first half with a jazzy, slow-burning track that feels dirty, gritty, and imaginative.
The last five tracks dwell upon the djent a smidge more than the first half, but are still exotic in presentation. “In the Eye of Aghemahra” is like a whirlwind of energy with interludes of monastic and sacred space. “An Absence of Sun” breaks the wall of riffs, though, with a truly whimsical and subtle melody that feels deeply nostalgic. The riffs do arrive, but in a much more reserved style, and only to bring this terrific track to a peak. “Of Absolute White” is riff-fest with plenty of unnerving keys to keep things contrasted and interesting. The drumming is wild on that one.
“The Altered” is a wailing sort of djent piece with some truly golden moments of cinema and careful rhythm. The closer “Transcendence” is another favorite. It has so much emotion and passion, and it feels engaging in its excellent solos and gentle style. The riffs don’t really arrive until the second half of the song, and they only stay for a couple minutes. This piece mostly lingers upon soaring introspection and musical space, and I think the album needed that to finish.
[STÖMB] has created an exotic experience with Massive Disturbed Meta Art. It is an album of light and darkness, of horror and wholeness, of sinew and metal. It can be haunting or joyful, complex or subtle, familiar or alien. There is so much here, and so much left to explore.
Find [STÖMB] online: