Ever since Alice in Chains scored big with Jar of Flies and Nirvana transformed the Unplugged series into a soul-bearing artistic journey, extreme-minded acts have (unsurprisingly) gained an interest in giving their tried n’ true older material the ol’ acoustic reimagining. But, few seem to cut the acoustic EP for the right reasons, using it as more of a stopgap between recordings, a way to get out of contracts, or a way to just suck more money out of their fans’ wallets. What could be exciting, bracing listens that reconnect and revitalize the original compositions are usually just crooning over uncomplicated campfire chords; essentiality, calculated crap looking to cash in.
Nostromo’s Hysteron - Proteron was different though. In hindsight, it was the farthest thing from strumming for shekels as it turned out to be the band’s farewell statement, and what a statement it is. Hysteron – Proteron is one of those rare albums that not only forces you to reexamine their previous material in an entirely different light, but actually trumps those older recordings in musicianship, execution, and passion. Their previous Meshuggah-esque chugs have been reformed to smoothly fit this acoustic recasting, dropping the amplification and stripping down the percussion. The undeniable highlights are the new textures that are just downright gorgeous. But, the thing that is truly impressive is the way that Nostromo juggles both of their angel and devil sides, as hushed tones give way to violent screams. The music never loses intensity even with the shifting of timbres and, in fact, it becomes that much more intense because of it. You realize just how much melody and just how dynamic these songs are and, given Nostromo’s history, that’s no small feat. Brilliant.