Surgeon (EP)


Independent release, 2012

REVIEW BY: Vish Iyer


The much loathed and loved uber-macho lead singer of a post-grunge band is a very interesting character. Love him or hate him, it is without a doubt that this “sensitive” hunk of a guy is an absolutely integral part of this type of music’s identity, which is why it is literally impossible to imagine this genre without said frontman. So, what is post-grunge without the lead vocalist? This is the question that St. John’s, Newfoundland (Canada)-based Surgeon seems to tackle with their own flavor of instrumental music, performing alternative metal as angular, experimental songs.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Granted, Surgeon’s music is not exactly what one would call “post-grunge,” but this quartet’s self-titled debut certainly has the trappings of this genre, like chunky guitars, and melodic, accessible tunes. However, what the band does with these elements is where they turn around and “gives the finger” to this genre (which is often considered as nothing more than mediocre music).

Surgeon takes a progressive rock approach and turns what could be radio-friendly tunes into complex math-rock numbers. Most tracks have the alternating lull-loud dynamic of post-grunge, in the midst of which the band weaves their web of rhythmic intricacy. There is always a strong element of melody in all the tracks on this album, which makes it very appealing. At the same time, there is never a moment on any song where the band compromises on the rhythmic complexity. The result is an album that is musically both fun and demanding – prog-rock without the pretentiousness.

The art-rock musical style explored on this debut album is by its very definition eccentric; and more often than not, bands associated with such type of music sound completely challenging and daring. Surgeon’s music doesn’t immediately come across as challenging or daring. However, what the band does with alternative-metal’s more familiar and accessible sounds is very unique. Surgeon dares to express their version of post-grunge style in a way that no other band does. And the fact that the band is so good at doing this makes this debut release really cool.

Rating: B+

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