Rhododendron - Protozoan Battle Hymns
Oct 7, 2021
VIDEO REVIEW: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vu9cEM3vPqE

Just like a lot of other music nerds on here, I'm also a bit perplexed as I try to figure out exactly how to categorize this album in terms of genre. Is it punk or metal? (I'm team punk but the metal influences are undeniable) Is it post rock or progressive rock? (probably both) Is it mathcore or math rock or brutal prog? (i don't know lol)

I'm inclined to put this record under the loosely defined yet super under-appreciated genre of "progressive punk". You can tell these are real music nerds who want to explore all sides of the art they're making, from the psychedelic droney ding dongs that'll transfer you to another universe to the heavy/groovy/catchy riffs that'll rapidly melt your brain into goo. It's a dense record, and it's a long record, and it accomplishes so much it really is impossible to sum up in one sentence (or one paragraph(or one review))). The absurdly complex song structures rival those of King Crimson, Rush, and Pink Floyd, but the dissonance and angst sounds right from Dystopia, Gospel, and Died. That's progressive punk!

Besides the nerdy side of me that deeply appreciates Rhododendron's wonderful musicianship (just three musicians playing their asses off, no gimmicks here just straight up talent through and through) I won't lie this album also has its fair share of epic gamer moments too. From the clever tempo acceleration at the end of Technicolor Incision to the glorious anthem of Last of the Painted Hills, Rhododendron are sharply aware an album full of tension is only made 1000x better when you reward the listener with some fun stuff too. The 2nd half of the record indulges a bit more in the experimental realm with a bit less fun cushions in between, and that will probably turn off some listeners, but not me!

I am thrilled with this album, as it is surely one of the most exciting rock albums of the year. It gives me faith that the genre of punk still has a lot more to say and a lot of room for continued innovation. Excited to see where they go next and hopefully we can play a show together someday
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