If you don’t yet know who Tyler Cantrell is, you probably should. The Solo artist, from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, picked up the guitar at age 10 and practically hasn’t put it down since. Tyler has also been the lead guitarist in the metal band Haxon, since 2016. The musician started his own ventures in the scene with his Ep, “As Above, So Below” and Ep, “Color into Space“; However, Enigmatic, co-produced by Chris Bollinger, is his first album release and it’s obvious they didn’t hold anything back. The guys also brought Mike Dodaro, Dan Zahal, and Michael Haggerty (Chris’ partner at Machine Man Records), in on the project.
I was a bit apprehensive taking on this review when I learned it was an instrumental album, I’m a lyricist myself, but this album is perfect just the way it is. The intricate timing of each sound you hear and when is incredibly satisfying. Tyler’s style is a combination of acoustic, metal, and electronic/ambient rock- which was clearly reflected in Enigmatic. Something about the orchestral sounds and synths aligned with the thick sound of progressive rock-metal really pulls this whole album together. It could just be me, but I personally get heavy Trans Siberian Orchestra energy from this album.
The album in its entirety was fantastic but there were a large handful of tracks that stood out to me for specific reasons. The first one that caught my attention was Shine. This track has a classic rock sound that progresses into a funky and orchestration beat, and ends with quirky undertones. The next track that caught my attention was Cloud Machines. The five-minute track starts with an almost god-like synth that continues off and on throughout the song. The synth blends into electric riffs, guiding your mind into a worldly and smooth dream of ambient, metal-like bliss. Apophrenia, which is track seven, embodies a thick, dramatic ambient sound. The track also features tones of an orchestra and hard drums, leaving the listener with dramatic metal energy. Another favorite of mine was Phantom Voices. The dark, rugged beginning pulls you in then slows you down as you feel yourself sync with the synth acoustic tones before Tyler starts slamming away on guitar again. The style of this song is very upbeat but dark and really plays into Tyler’s influences like Blade Runner and Alice in Chains.
Halo, number 9 on the album, is another favorite for me. The track almost massages your brain with ambient acoustic sounds while lifting your chest, before the electric guitar glides in with a smooth, rock style synth. It honestly calmed my mood so easily and was very relaxing to listen to. The last one that I really enjoyed, is The Static Speaks My Name. This track is over five minutes long and is loaded with heavy electronic synth guitar, hardcore drums from Mike, and a spicy saxophone feature from Dan that takes us down a path, leading us to the end of our journey of Enigmatic. Overall this is an album that you definitely won’t want to sleep on!