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WLM Reviews: Expander – Endless Computer

September 2, 2017

Not really knowing what I was getting, the comparison of Expander to Killing Technology era Voivod piqued my interest. The Austin, TX based band’s full length debut, Endless Computer on Nuclear War Now! seemed like it might have potential.

Expander has unleashed a vicious Punk fueled platter of Thrash destruction much in the vein of the Canadian band with whom they are compared. The musical approach is certainly raw and unrefined, while the lyrical content focuses on futuristic themes, technological advances, AI, and space travel. While many bands that take this approach tend to be rather experimental, it seems that Expander is more casual in that respect. Relying on a blistering attack, Expander may be on to something here.

The Voivod comparison is not blatant, nor does it permeate the entire recording. There are parts and passages that definitely remind me of Snake and the boys. Authority Spire and Biochron Spacesuit definitely have some Voivod feel to them particularly in the guitar parts. Much of Opulent Tesseract Ascension has that Voivodish sound to it as well. Nothing that would make you think it actually is Voivod – just a tone and perhaps some of the songcraft. These songs hold the largest likability factor for me considering my long term relationship with the Canadian groundbreakers.

It’s apparent from the get-go that Expander is old school in their approach, probably due much to the production values of Endless Computer. Often there is a hollow or stadium type of sound. The prevalent bass lines stick out at times and the drumming is seriously un-technical, but fits the music so well. The vocals may be the element hardest to digest. General Ham’s guttural scream borders on a Black Metal delivery. He is mostly understandable though. The band was going for a sound much like their live set and I think they’ve achieved that. It’s dirty enough that I could definitely hear this happening on a stage somewhere.

Endless Computer is a concept album telling the story of a shapeless cosmic entity which represents the pinnacle of technological advancement and seeks autonomous control over all atomic matter in the universe. There certainly may be some truths in this with respect to the ever expanding internet and the intrusiveness of technology at every turn. The uncommon song structures lend themselves to the effectiveness of the overall approach in that they don’t fit the usual path we might be used to hearing. They also throw in the odd time signature every once in a while providing a change to the norm.

Check out Biochron Spacesuit:

Definitely a change of pace for someone who normally listens to Thrash, Progressive, and Power Metal. Expander has a nice take on the Sci Fi realm of Metal and present their dystopic vision without much in the way of subtley. Endless Computer is one you should hear and perhaps one of the surprises of 2017.

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