Adrian Perez’s debut solo material titled “Mello Times Pt. 1” functions as a step in a new direction while carrying very subtle callbacks to what originally drew me in to his work – synthesizers, keys, and vocals in a progressive death metal band titled Warforged (which has held the spot as my favorite and most promising metal act since 2014, which can be found HERE).
It goes without saying that my excitement when Adrian announced his new solo works was practically palpable. A huge contributor to the music in which I have kept in high regard for quite some time, he transitions flawlessly from backing instrumentation to the sole voice in Mello Times Pt. 1, written and recorded in his living room.
On the release of Part 1;
“(Adrian) is now setting out on a journey across the seas of progressive rock. “The 8 Year Game Plan” began on April 8th, 2017 and will end on April 8th 2024. It is a series of independently-released records that will lead up to a live performance of a piece of music written for the eclipse, & performed during the eclipse. Adrian is documenting every step of the process through social media with as much transparency and details as possible in hopes of informing and inspiring fellow songwriters.”
As well as how the transition from death metal to progressive / ambient, I inquired if it had been difficult to move from one end of the spectrum to another. To answer this question, Adrian divulged.
“I’ve only ever written death metal songs prior to this, so it was a bit of a struggle to go from writing something that one would consider (angry) / dissonant to something I hoped one would consider delightful / fun. You can still hear the dissonance in (the music) but all in all I’m pretty happy with the way they came out. It was a weird experiment & good songwriting exercise and I’m really pretty stoked on taking it 10 steps further on Mello Times Pt. 2 now that I’m a bit more comfortable with the style.”
An ode to the times when the Mellotron was a much more prominent instrument, the first two tracks service as an introduction to the real musical meat of part one. The first track serves as an upbeat tone setting introduction with a goofy ASMR-like bit, whereas track 2, titled “Wrightwood” sets a tone of light-heartedness with a tinge, or even a stain, of darkness.
Whether spooky and ethereal or shimmery and beautiful, one feels a depth of involvement as the arrangement progresses; the eccentric and enjoyable listen dances on the precipice between haunted and elated, something I seldom have ever felt and never quite as masterfully so. As the mood shifts, the mental visualizations brought forth by the music are vivid and beautiful; it never feels awkward or sudden, and the emotion becomes believable and real in part by the flawless shifts. Some moments remind me heavily of drawn out ambient interludes similar to that employed by Opeth, something I’d always wanted in a longer and more elaborate format and is delivered here.
I feel much more comfortable classifying this composition as the beginning of a long and engaging journey in place of a 4 song EP, yet it still feels circular enough that the ending doesn’t feel like a beginning only capable of moving forward. I cycled the entire composition a multitude of times, finding no hitch in repeating rather than waiting for the continuity to service the music. Though only 4 tracks, the listener is not left wanting for more as it functions as its own release.
Mello Times will be available on Adrian’s bandcamp, found HERE.
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For more insight on the creation process, Adrian can also be found on instagram.