Last night Bulgarian math rock trio Mental Architects threw a friendly party in Sofia’s Bare Hands Society store to celebrate the release of their second LP Ascend. The asocial prick that I am I preferred the comfort of my place. There I blasted the record in solitude so DIY Conspiracy can be Mental Architects’ Pitchfork and start with the big words early in the morning. Hearing them opening for Shai Hulud last year the new Mental Architects sounded as a different type of brew than the rather cheerful post-rock driven LP that Celebration was. Also knowing they’ve been always very careful of picking who works on the production of their releases (having Aaron Harris and James Plotkin working on the previous one) I was also really curious what they’ve made out of the sound this time.
In 2013, Mental Architects climbed Malyovitsa peak, rising to 2729 meters in the Rila mountain range and there, on the spot, the band composed and recorded Ascend, the title track that would also serve as the harmonic base and focal point of this record.
Unified by a common concept, which the band made sure was sufficiently manifested all over their press actions, Ascend sounds diverse but still super tight. It’s also louder, darker and probably equally complex but not on the cost of its power and aggression. All you boys and girls who love your music multilayered and challenging will surely love it. And all you audiophiles will surely love it too as Ascend sounds real good. Quite a crew worked on the album. It was recorded in Bulgaria by local hero Plamen Penchev, then mixed by Andrew Schneider (Cult of Luna, Rosetta, Mutoid Man etc.) and mastered by Carl Saff. But fear not, Ascend doesn’t sound like a patchwork, but exactly like an album made by a band that knows all too well what they want to achieve. Still solely instrumental, still very diverse, there’s only one thing I want to see Mental Architects do more – go fucking touring. Tracks like Dyno, Screamer and Talus are not made for your home stereo, that’s shit you want loud as hell and happening right in front of your eyes/ears.