Turbo Rules – In Memoriam

John “Turbo” Shatesky

01/25/1980 – 07/28/2023

Album Review: CYBORG OCTOPUS Debut Swings Big Musically…Vocally Strikes Out

Progressive metal is a genre that for many years was a group unto itself. Only a few, most notably Rush and Dream Theater, have been able to cross over and find homes in the music library of fans of all genres of rock and metal. But as everything else, time is helping close the gaps and progressive metal isn’t as much the outcast as it once was. The newest member of that genre, Cyborg Octopus, shows a lot of potential musically in their debut album Learning To Breathe.

I’m grabbed my music. The overall way instruments and the musicians work together is always priority to me. Sure I’ve heard tons of great singers over the years that grabbed me more than the music but 75 percent of the time it’s the music. That is exactly what kept me listening to Cyborg Octopus. Musically these guys have it going on.

“Data_M1nefield”, the opening song, has you grooving along with the band right out of the gate. Usually that requires at least two songs before you get a grasp. But the way David Wu and Bobby Carroll make their guitars follow along with the rhythm set by Josh Mathis’ drumming is something even veteran guitarists often get lost in. Plus the added keytar, yes the dreaded 1980s keytar, of Patrick Corona works.

And as if a keytar wasn’t enough to blow your mind, Patrick Corona also plays saxophone on the single “DiscoBrain!” on Learning To Breathe. The funk and metal mixture on this song is enough to get George Clinton to toss up the horns. Great groovy bass lines and just overall fun song everyone can get into. However this is only one of two songs on the Cyborg Octopus debut that the dirty vocals of Ian Forsythe works.

I totally get that not everything needs clean vocals, I’m a fan of a ton bands with vocals that are often tough to understand. But outside of “Shark Pit”, an old school thrashy style song, and “DiscoBrain!” they feel out of place.

The thing that really kills me is on the closing moments of the closing song “Epiphany” there are some amazing clean vocals by Forsythe. I literally was staring at my screen going “where were these vocals throughout?” Not everything needs to be aggressive dirty vocals, I’ve found mixing clean and dirty the be a great show of two sides of a story and singers ability.

Learning To Breathe (which arrives on May 20th) is possibly the best title for the debut from Cyborg Octopus because while these guys kill like the kraken musically their singer flops like a flounder on dry land.

Justen Bieber