Sound — 8
As the band's YouTube videos would have one believe, Exivious records their albums by the four members going into the studio with no one but themselves and without the rush of a record company (they claim that it isn't worth it for them to get a record deal). After the three men have what some think is the biggest brainstorm in music, a new album emerges from the void. And thus we have "Liminial," an album that gets more interesting with each consecutive listening. It would seem to me that the world of jazz fusion revolves around stretching musical limits. And since it is the world of jazz fusion, sometimes the stretching of these limits only appeals to those who want a challenge, an adventure in their music because there is sometimes very little direct melody and the time meters are flipped inside, out, and around, which tends to screw with the mind of the casual listener. I guess my point in saying all this is that this type of music is not anywhere near a light listen. In fact, it appears to me that this album, as a great production of the band and the genre, aught to, and is meant to be, analyzed on a variety of levels by the listener. One of the most interesting things about the album is how Exivious builds their soundscape. Whether it is through subtle notes of feedback spread among arpeggios, or just a full on drum solo (that still manages to keep time), Exivious gracefully weaves chord sections, riffs, and other far-out jazz elements together to make a pleasurable listening experience. While what I describe shows excellent, meticulous production values, there is one little annoyance; the recurring use of television static as a transition. Still, somehow, someway, the songs start and end, yet it barely feels like any time has passed. While this is album is certainly not a light listen, it is not a mundane or agonizing one either. In terms of guitar, there is great variation throughout the album. Even though the techniques used, from gently caressed arpeggios to mind warping shredding, vary greatly, they still always manage to complement the groove at hand. By the way, speaking of groove at hand, this album is really more a collection of eight grooves (songs) and less one project (album). Anyway, getting back to guitar, the guitar solos are pretty good as well. While the solos are usually not the most melodious, they appear to complement the groove at all times. My favorite technique the guitarist uses is shredding. The reason is that the shredding is not meant to have an impact on the note-to-note scale, but really provides a sound, an overall base for the chord progression to go over. While there are many examples of techniques like this in the regular music world ("Bad Boy Boogie" by AC/DC comes to mind), I have never seen shredding used so well in such a manner.
Lyrics — 8
There really is nothing to put for this section since this album is entirely instrumental. But really, vocals aren't necessary and they would probably hinder the complicated grooves and confuse the listener if not done properly.
Overall Impression — 8
Overall, this is an exceptional album. Honestly, the only proper way to listen to it is to listen again and again and again because the complex (and also endearing) nature of this album makes it so that something new and awesome is gained with each successive listen. Again, this album stretches normal musical limits, far more so than I can totally comprehend, yet it still manages to sound pleasing because everything in a song sticks to one main groove, even through transitions. So, if you're ready to introduce your mind to this music and to this band, I suggest listening to the track "Triguna."