Sifting - The Infinite Loop

Sifting The Infinite Loop
The Infinite Loop
Eclipse Records
Sifting is a bit of a weird band; they are originally from Venezuela, Caracas to be precise, but they sort of relocated to the States. The band is formed around vocalist/guitarist Eduardo “Edu” Gil. “The Infinite Loop” is their third album, second one to be released after their emigration and it’s an interesting variety of prog metal with insane rhythm shifts, anywhere between Dream Theater and Dillinger Escape Plan, guitars that fill in the remaining space, with ideas that seem to pay tribute to Dream Theater mostly, but at times look sideways to other bands’ songbooks as well and vocals that are also supplied by Gil. They are ambitious and sort of have to be, since the rhythmical background partly dictates it… the problem is, while Gil doesn’t have a bad voice, his timbre is not really unique and his resorting to mixed vocals and breathy falsettos, while it might have the best intentions, doesn’t always translate.
You have to give it to a band that dares to open the album with an almost 11 minute complex piece, which is not Rush or Marillion, or someone else that has a history of doing that sort of thing often… and “Agony” will either scare you away, or make you like the band. In its insanity, there are like 4-5 fragments of songs (or at least discernible style shifts) crammed together into one composition. I appreciated some of the soloing early on – after the Theateresque wonkiness and mostly the middle and latter parts. That also has Theateresque elements to them but in moderation.
“A Critical Affair”, which is the album’s single, is among the album’s shorter and simpler songs, if not for the super energetic percussion, during certain portions. While it’s not a bad song, I think those blatant displays of virtuosity tend to work better as instrumental workouts instead of being included in the context of a song.
“Enough” is much simpler and not as interesting, but it’s more what the band should be shooting for. Virtuosity is not a crime, but it should be used wisely, where it makes sense and not almost at random.
“Stop Calling Me Liberty” has a Metallica meets a weaker Toxik vibe, and I was even getting some Shadow Gallery “Tyranny” flashbacks, with the harmonies on the vocals, but the band manages to also solo like crazy to a point where it is almost joyless and Dragonfire like (and that’s not exactly a compliment); have a crazy Mike Patton/Tasmanian Devil like vocal part before the song is brought to a close, ehm while I like polyphony, I could do with a bit more order in the rage.
“The Fifth Element” is a stir-fry of many different instrumental parts, some of them unbelievably beautiful, others rather predictable and pedestrian that sort of feels like a hot mess.
“What if (Dichotomy)” is much simpler; Gil has trouble with singing the melody he’s come up with in a commanding enough way… in my mind, a young Andy Deris would have kicked this song in the stratosphere. Obviously it’s so much poppier and simpler, that I sort of miss – the ugh... well momentarily before the solo, which is pretty much an aping of the bridge/chorus. I am reminded what I don’t like about the band… pointless virtuosity displays, where it’s wasted. A little more bite would have sufficed here.
“To Who I Am” feels like a weird, ass alt-ballad, a bit like Jellyfish or Saigon Kick, but not as good.
“Ghost of Lie”, features Derek Sherinian (ex-Dream Theater, Alice Cooper, solo etc.). Here Gil pulls all the stops on his vocal performance on a rather Theateresque song, that incredibly doesn’t go over the top, solo wise; it’s almost tasteful all the way.
“Emotionless Shells” has some melodies, but is rather true to its title, at points callous, cold and calculated. It is impressive, but not exactly something that would easily register and stay resident to one’s memory for too long.
Last but not least, comes the title track, “The Infinite Loop”, which tackles the constant evolution of life, through death and birth in perpetuity. It feels more Ayronesque than anything else, but it has its Theateresque moments too and it’s crazy aggro moment too, in its thirteen minutes.
All in all, Gil has some brilliant ideas, but seems too hell-bent on showing off and at certain times I think the songs suffer a little due to their creators megalomania. I think he could grow to be a fine composer. He’s a pretty accomplished player, as everyone involved on this album is, but while he’s a perfectly adequate singer, if he would find a charismatic one, a one in a million guy or girl, I think he should step over to a second mic.  A great singer would make this band a real contender to rival the greats. Right now, I’d dub them an interesting young contender, that’s crazy enough to drop the gauntlet in a scene full of clones, where even most of the old bands are shadows of their former selves. We’ll see how they’ll reincarnate on the next iteration of this infinite loop.