EP review: The Last Cell - Veter (2020)
The Last Cell is the performing name of Jean-Marc Perc, ably assisted by bassist Lukas Florian, previously written about on the ProgBlog DISCovery page https://www.progblog.co.uk/discovery13thelastcell
Perc’s technique and skill remain undiminished since last year’s CONTINENTAL DRIFT, and though his compositions aren’t simply all-out guitar pyrotechnics, with subtle touches like picked acoustic guitar on OCEAN FLOOR from the 2018 NAUTILUS EP, he once again shows a leap in compositional maturity on current release VETER – progress marked by two singles from earlier in 2020, AIRIELEON and LEAP, which don’t appear on the new EP. Perc writes that AIRIELEON represents his journey from a bedroom musician to one that shares his music with listeners from all around the world, giving him the courage to take the leap to become a full-time musician, the lion of the song title spreading its wings and taking to the sky. This also fits with the concept of VETER which is about ‘air’, following on from NAUTILUS (water) and CONTINENTAL DRIFT (earth.)
There were hints of jazz phrasing on NAUTILUS and even some Latin guitar on CONTINENTAL DRIFT but the first two tracks on VETER have enough jazz rock to keep any fusion fan happy. Opener WIND TEMPLE is full of variation, possibly the best track I’ve heard from The Last Cell. It begins with electric jazz before ceding to Perc’s trademark fluid runs over djent riffs, then gives way to a few bars of acoustic guitar. The changes continue with shifts between sinuous lead melodic lines and djent, and ends with electric piano, ticking clock and synth chords.
The title track VETER contains a shade less fusion but it highlights Perc’s innate melodicism. There’s epic shredding over djent chords, a more mainstream lead melody, more djent, fast jazz rock guitar runs, a clean jazzy lead over slow backing, and an uplifting melody line. The song could easily be described as jazz-djent!
NEON 18,2 is another interesting departure from straightforward technical prog metal, commencing with bell-like guitar over arpeggio bass and synth chords the djent riffs and shredding are introduced. It’s the shortest track on the EP and though it has the least development it’s interesting from a production point of view with the inclusion of stereo effects. TURBINE follows seamlessly, a demonstration of some excellent lead lines which have a distinct jazzy flavour. When you combined the soloing with a melody line later in the composition, made up of a short, repeated phrase, it puts the piece more on the prog side of the spectrum than the metal side.
These are excellent compositions, brilliantly played with a feeling that is absent from most technical metal. I’d recommend it to any prog metal lovers.