Review: Fibonacci Sequence – Cinema Finis
Written by Brett Kihlmire
In my two decades of dedicated heavy metal enjoyment I’m still warming up to Prog. Bands like Opeth and Dream Theater were my springboards during my teen years, and I’m only now truly appreciating their work for all it’s worth. Fortunately, there’s a wealth of great prog still to discover and Fibonacci Sequence is one of the best I’ve found yet.
Cinema Finis is the second album from these American prog rockers and after listening to this album for a week straight I’m going to have to buy the debut as well. Cinema Finis, as the name implies, tells a story that revolves around a theater that may or may not be someone’s personal Hell or Limbo. What’s amazing is that through 13 tracks the band tells a full story without every singing a line…well, except for a delightful rendition of ‘The Lobby Song,’ but more on that in a moment.
The album starts off with the introduction, ‘Tickets Please.’ Without any music, we’re greeted by the echoing of someone walking up the stairs into the projector room as they hum a tune that Fibonacci Sequence fans are sure to pick up – this is just one of many Easter eggs found on this album. Following the footsteps and humming is an eerie introduction complete with a xylophone and strings. The chilling sound of the music over the running of the projector gives an eerie feeling like we’re about to delve into a horror film. And just when things slow down the album really kicks in.
‘Obeah’ is a real rocker, but elegant and beautiful at the same time. From the strum style and brooding bass to the majestic keyboards, this track puts you into a seven minute trance. You can listen to this song five times in a row and never hear it quite the same thanks to the masterful way the band layers their respective instruments together into one cohesive track. What I really love about this one is how it’s heavy enough to call metal but it’s not over the top or in your face. Rather, it goes for a much more refined style that’s constantly flowing into a new direction. Like I said, you can listen to this album five times in a row and never hear it the same way twice. Also, the tone on the guitar is just awesome.
‘Psalm Before the Storm’ is a short one with just under a minute and a half run time, and it’s a weird one at that. The guitar and keys have a Middle Eastern feel that’s both intriguing and magical at the same time. The religious muttering will have you turn your ear toward the speaker to make it all out, but once you catch what’s being said, you’re sure to realize this a prelude to a story that continues on the next tune.
‘Christopher’s Plan’ picks up where ‘Psalm’ left off with the Middle Eastern feel in the keys, but a major difference is the heaviness of the guitar. Gone is the airy clean strumming, replaced by short and heavy licks and technical fret play alongside short, complementary drum beats. The song really gets going when the guitar begins to wail out before going back into some tight riffing. The second guitar solo is by far my favorite and the bass sounds absolutely fantastic behind it. I really dig how the bass doesn’t just mimic the guitar and does its own thing while remaining coherent to the song. And then there’s the keyboard solo; I have to admit, I’m a sucker for some sweet piano notes. Did I mention I’m only five minutes into this song? Yeah, that’s right. This is a 10 minute song! And though it’s lengthy and feels like two songs in one, it’s quite the thrill ride with the duality of musical approach taken by the guitars and keys.
‘Repent’ is another interlude. Like ‘Psalm Before the Storm’ you’re going to be leaning in close to hear the whispering going on just under the speaker’s breath. The faint sound of the keys and the tranquil guitar give an excellent atmosphere before the guitar rips into a gnarly but tasteful solo. At no point on this album so far am I dissatisfied with the heavy to clean ratio. Fibonacci Sequence is just nailing it with their blend of shreddy, powerful, tranquil and alluring music. It’s almost like this album was written to be a soundtrack to an epic film production.
‘Repentless’ kicks things back into gear with some groovy bass and head spinning lead guitar work. The drums are a bit reserved here, which is perfectly fine, for it allows the guitar to really sing while I’m having a little trouble noticing the keyboards at times. Fortunately, everyone in the band shines brightly on this track. I have to say, it’s really refreshing to hear not only a guitar wizard at work, but a highly technical bass player keeping the groove and not being drowned out in the background. Some other thoughts on this track focus on the mix of jazzy licks and hard rock riffs. There’s a good mix of fret warping finger tapping and hard strumming. Furthermore, I absolutely love the way the band can expertly change the character of the song without making things feel awkward. I’d love to see how these guys manage that live.
‘Nightshade’ is the ballad of the album. The strings make a grand return alongside of some seriously touching guitars and synths. The drums and the bass are reserved for the most part, but that doesn’t stop the song from having some serious emotional power. For the most part, it’s a hauntingly beautiful track, but it metals up about halfway through with a slightly snarly lead guitar while retaining the piano and soft thumping of the bass and drums. So far, this is my favorite tune.
‘Lobby Song’ just makes chuckle, because not only is the original song played in the background at the beginning, we’re greeted with a stunning a cappella rendition that will surely blow your mind.
As the title says, it’s time to ‘Take Your Seats’ and get back to the feature attractions. This one starts off with some interesting keyboards that I feel would fit perfectly in a grand fantasy film. It’s simply a beautiful piece of work featuring strings playing over the churning of the projector. And at a minute and a half you’re left wanting more – it’s a good thing ‘Deus Ex Machine’ is a real banger.
Like I said, ‘Deus Ex Machina’ is a real banger. It’s heavy without absurd amounts of distortion. Rather, it gets its power from the fast and powerful rhythm of the drums and the churning style of the guitars. The riffs creep along as the piano takes command and the bass dances along in the background. There’s a lot of power flowing through this song and it’s constantly shifting its flow, which is great. Like I said before, the way Fibonacci Sequence is able to turn on a dime and take the song in an unforeseen direction is simply outstanding.
Alright, this review is getting lengthy and I have three more tracks to praise, but I think you get my drift about this album. Fibonacci Sequence embodies everything that is prog to me, and in Cinema Finis you’re going to find one of the best prog albums of the year. At no point was I never bored and I always felt compelled to keep this record going even after the final fade out. There’s so much to hear and appreciate on this album that not even a handful plays will do it justice. From the Easter eggs such as the Wilhelm Scream (yep, that’s in there) to the intricate and mind-blowing playstyle of everyone in this band, Fibonacci Sequence has a masterpiece on their hands. This is a must buy album for prog fans. 10/10