Australian guitarist Stephen Taranto gained notoriety for his work in fast-paced instrumental metal act The Helix Nebula and is now aiming to push the envelope even further with his own style of genre-challenging music in his new solo project.
‘Permanence’ is the ambitious combination of riff-driven progressive metal with video game and film scores. The music guides the listener on a mythical pilgrimage through melodies and features all the hallmarks of a compelling fantasy novella.
We caught up with Stephen for a track-by-track rundown of what to expect from the EP.
This was actually the last addition I made to the EP as I felt like I had 4 strong titles that were cohesive yet different enough to be on the record already. I wanted something that was stylistically a little different that caught the listener off guard as it progressed. I had the clean arpeggio passage in 7/8 floating around for a while when I would warm up or be watching TV and it somehow just stuck with me. I feel like it’s a pretty fun way to open up the record and gives a bit of insight of what to expect throughout.
02.) THRONE OF THE ANXIOUS
I had struggled to write almost anything for months before the inception of the song as I was bogged down with a full-time job that was sapping my creative drive by the day. This was almost a direct result of that frustration I had endured in that time, so naturally it would be the most in-your-face song on the record. I wanted to create an audible journey of what an anxiety or panic attack can feel like. I wanted the chaotic parts amidst the more tranquil ones which create this juxtaposition of emotions.
03.) PIXEL HEART: VERDANT
The catalyst for the EP itself. This is basically the centrepiece of ‘Permanence’, so it felt fitting to have it as the track in the middle to really glue everything together. It also acts as a bit of a breather for the listener coming directly after ‘Throne’. This was one of those songs that I had completed within a couple of hours (which is extremely rare for me). A solid, relatively easy-listening slice of prog metal with a lot of video game influence (especially Final Fantasy and Mario).
04.) PIXEL HEART: CELESTIAL
I wanted the penultimate track on the EP to be a bit of an epic. It wasn’t originally written with the ‘Pixel Heart’ title, but after borrowing some themes from ‘Verdant’, I thought it would be cool to try and make a ‘Part Two’ of sorts, but with a slightly darker tone than the original. This was also a load of fun to write and I didn’t want to hold anything back instrumentally. This is easily the most taxing song on ‘Permanence’ to play, but ultimately it is my personal favourite of the bunch due to it’s sheer scope. Looking forward to writing more in the style of this one!
05.) QUANTUM LEAP
I had been sitting on this song for a long while, maybe 4-5 years. I felt like it was the ultimate swansong for the EP with it’s melodic overtones and anthemic outro. I wanted to create a song that resembled something akin to a countdown from a RPG’s final moments, like one of those scenarios where you have 5 minutes to rush to the exit before the whole area you’re in explodes, but ultimately triumph in the end, haha. I really dig this one and think it’s the perfect send-off for the entire EP.
Stephen Taranto‘s new EP, ‘Permanence’, is out now and you can stream and download it from various outlets (here).