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Old 04-23-2009, 11:55 AM   #91 (permalink)
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Yay, grats on reviving your journal, Comus

Your review made me curious and the Alcest albums sounds interesting indeed. I'll check it out!
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Old 04-25-2009, 06:58 PM   #92 (permalink)
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ALBUM #8


Myrkgrav - Trollskau, Skrømt og Kølabrenning

Cover:


Year: 2006
Genre: Folk/Viking Metal
Tracklisting:
1. Gygra & St. Olav (5:36)
2. Fela etter'n far (5:22)
3. Om å danse bekhette (4:21)
4. Oppbrennerbønn (4:11)
5. Olav Tryggvason (3:17)
6. Mellomspell (1:35)
7. Tre skygger tel kølbrennern kom (4:30)
8. Tjernet (5:16)
9. De to spellemenn (2:50)
10. Finnkjerringa (4:41)
11. Endetoner (2:38)

Young, innovative and full of energy, is one way to describe Lars Jensen’s brilliant solo debut. Finished off with the help of some other notable names in the current Norwegian metal scene this album shows maturity beyond its years. The guitars are far more powerful than in a standard black metal album, and the melodies can often be described as insanely catchy. You’ll instantly fall in love with some parts of this album, the first female speaking vocals in Gygra & St. Olav is a certain favourite. Fela Etter’n Far is very reminiscent of early Moonsorrow with a very epic feel to it while still incorporating the traditional folk rhythms and melodies.

Fela Etter’n Far

The whole album comes off as incredible accessible, in a good way, not in the Dimmu Borgir way, but in a way that you could see how anyone could, given time, appreciate it. The album is never overly abrasive for the sake of it, and it certainly pays off for the listener. The guitars in this album are a joy to behold, especially the range of the playing is intriguing. A lot of the passages can be described as incredibly progressive, with a hint of tribute to some of the other Viking metal greats, such as the aforementioned Moonsorrow, Enslaved and Bathory.

Despite similarities the whole tone of the album, as shown best on Tre skygger tel kølbrennern kom, it’s very jangly, very happy and upbeat and it’s not taking itself overly seriously. The whole organic feel of the album adds so many more avenues of experimentation and listener enjoyment. You never quite feel like you’re listening to something that’s been produced and packaged as music, it always feels like a small journey into someone’s mind. The only thing this album is missing a 15 minute epic, Myrkgrav would be the perfect band for it, given Jensen’s penchant for creating the “epic” feel.

Tre skygger tel kølbrennern kom

One thing I have yet to comment on is the atmosphere of the album, which for a Norwegian metal album is pretty damn crucial. The reason I put it off until the end of the review is because it is so very important to the overall sound of this release. The songs run very well and don’t break the feel that’s trying to be created and that’s a huge bonus. The whole soundscape manages to set the imagination free and it’s absolutely liberating to just sick back and listen to this album just do its thing. The whole folk oriented sound really throws you back and without using too many cliché’s it really feels like you’re back there with the raping, plundering and ingenious farming of the Vikings. Well not so much the raping and plundering and more the farming and enjoying the nature and society.

Overall the album flows well, sounds good and is different enough to not feel stale. All it needs is some recognition.

9.4/10
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Old 05-14-2009, 11:35 AM   #93 (permalink)
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ALBUM #9


Drudkh - Estrangement

Cover:


Year: 2007
Genre: Black Metal
Tracklisting:
1. Solitary Endless Path (10:54)
2. Sties at Our Feet (10:42)
3. Where Horizons End (10:52)
4. Only The Wind Remembers My Name (3:58)

Ukraine’s answer to basically any great black metal band ever improves greatly with this release; yeah I didn’t know it was possible either. The album structure composed of three ten minute songs and one four minute closer seems incredibly strange, but if you listen through it you’ll understand why. There seems to be a sort of playing off between the songs, which adds tension to the album and makes it more and more enjoyable the more you listen to it. The vocals sound desperate, desolate and haunting, what more could you want from a black metal album?

Parts of this album are very reminiscent of 70’s Canterbury scene bands, with quite whimsical melodies and awesome guitar solos played quite low in the mix below the droning riffs and drums. A perfect example of this comes in at around halfway through Solitary Endless Path. Also prevalent are the Ukrainian folk tunes that appear throughout Drukdh’s other albums.

Solitary Endless Path

Sties at Our Feet see Drudkh venture into new territory, the whole sound of the song is very progressive, and it really does seem like they’re going to take that road from now on. The whole song seems to work through a few general concepts, expand upon them and then relate it to the next which works incredibly well and lets you run through the song in a very enjoyable manner. It also makes the whole song seem criminally short, and as such leaves you wanting more and more. The melodies and guitars and higher in the mix here and it makes it even more enjoyable.

Where Horizons End is probably the strongest song on the album, the shifts, the solo, the vocals everything just works for them here. And the atmosphere has been nicely established by the first two songs. The whole thing shifts from Progressive Black Metal to Progressive Folk Metal through the song, and creates a massive tense atmosphere with the change, the whole thing sounds like a massive morph and it’s absolutely incredible.

Where Horizons End

The album closer Only The Wind Remembers My Name gives good closure to the album. The only huge drawback about Estrangement is the length, only 36 minutes long, and it leaves you wanting so, so much more. I really hope their latest album continues this trend because this album is seriously epic.

9.2/10
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Old 05-14-2009, 02:18 PM   #94 (permalink)
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This Drudkh album sounds excellent but I have a huge problem with the production. It's sounds very tinny and I would love a lot more meat on it. There seems to be a lot going on and better production would allow their expansive sound to come out a little more. I would like to hear the album uncompressed to get a better impression.
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Old 05-15-2009, 09:02 AM   #95 (permalink)
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ALBUM #10


Godspeed You! Black Emperor – Lift Your Skinny Fists Like Antennas to Heaven

Cover:


Year: 2000
Genre: Post-Rock
Tracklisting:
1. Storm (22:32)
2. Static (22:36)
3. Sleep (23:17)
4. Antennas To Heaven (18:57)

A wind shakes the barley, moving ever slowly through the field. A child stops, and is amazed by the beauty, he sees into the eyes of god, and forever he is saved. An old man repents his sins and passes away a minute later, an anguished expression on his face. People line the streets to see the parade; a band marches forward, defiant, strong and proud. Slowly building up their momentum, ready to burst.

The caterwaul of a machine cuts through the peaceful air, but is muffled by the band, many cheer, others are afraid. A Storm approaches, the band goes for one last hurrah before the crowd scatters. The wind that shakes the barley has been joined by rain, the child long since gone, faded away. The field is ravaged, and the farmer takes his life, for a brief moment he sees peace, he knows peace, he becomes peace.

A trickle of water flows down the avenue, joined by another the water flows almost silently, weaving patterns through the cobbles. But no one can see the beauty; all they can see is destruction. The Storm rages, but the philosopher sees only the calm, the beating rhythm of rain, the music of the wind. The tribal urges within him send him mad; he runs into the storm and is never seen again.

This is the impression you should get from the first 16 or so minutes of this album, and needless to say it only gets better. This album has it all, beauty, abrasiveness, emotion, and most of all: complete control. You feel like you’re listening to something that has been crafted by the finest artisans, and I’d pretty much say you are. There’s nothing else to say about this album except for those of you who haven’t heard it, do so… NOW.

10/10
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Old 05-15-2009, 02:34 PM   #96 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Comus View Post
ALBUM #10


Godspeed You! Black Emperor – Lift Your Skinny Fists Like Antennas to Heaven

Cover:


Year: 2000
Genre: Post-Rock
Tracklisting:
1. Storm (22:32)
2. Static (22:36)
3. Sleep (23:17)
4. Antennas To Heaven (18:57)

A wind shakes the barley, moving ever slowly through the field. A child stops, and is amazed by the beauty, he sees into the eyes of god, and forever he is saved. An old man repents his sins and passes away a minute later, an anguished expression on his face. People line the streets to see the parade; a band marches forward, defiant, strong and proud. Slowly building up their momentum, ready to burst.

The caterwaul of a machine cuts through the peaceful air, but is muffled by the band, many cheer, others are afraid. A Storm approaches, the band goes for one last hurrah before the crowd scatters. The wind that shakes the barley has been joined by rain, the child long since gone, faded away. The field is ravaged, and the farmer takes his life, for a brief moment he sees peace, he knows peace, he becomes peace.

A trickle of water flows down the avenue, joined by another the water flows almost silently, weaving patterns through the cobbles. But no one can see the beauty; all they can see is destruction. The Storm rages, but the philosopher sees only the calm, the beating rhythm of rain, the music of the wind. The tribal urges within him send him mad; he runs into the storm and is never seen again.

This is the impression you should get from the first 16 or so minutes of this album, and needless to say it only gets better. This album has it all, beauty, abrasiveness, emotion, and most of all: complete control. You feel like you’re listening to something that has been crafted by the finest artisans, and I’d pretty much say you are. There’s nothing else to say about this album except for those of you who haven’t heard it, do so… NOW.

10/10
I'm very skeptical but you've talked me into giving it a shot. Buying it on Itunes as we speak. 10\10 is high praise.
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Old 05-15-2009, 06:25 PM   #97 (permalink)
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I've been reluctant to try these guys out too, because everything points to boring. But maybe...just maybe...based on this I will check it out sooner than later.
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Old 05-16-2009, 01:22 AM   #98 (permalink)
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Woh there pitchfork.
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Old 05-16-2009, 10:21 PM   #99 (permalink)
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maudlin of the Well – Part the Second

Cover:


Year: 2009

Tracklisting:
1. Excerpt from 6,000,000,000,000 Miles Before the First, or, the Revisitation of the Blue Ghost (10:55)
2. Another Excerpt: Keep Light Near You, Even When Dying (5:59)
3. Rose Quartz Turning to Glass (7:30)
4. Clover Garland Island (8:18)
5. Laboratories of the Invisible World (Rollerskating the Cosmic Palmistric Postborder) (11:50)

A victory for the people who donated, a victory for music production, and a victory for the music listener. This is one hell of a journey, this is an album that will consume you, it will break your heart every time only to force you to fall in love again. First I’ll have to say, this doesn’t sound like anything maudlin of the Well had done previously, almost all of the metal is gone. I recently criticised Kayo Dot for the same thing, but this has done something different, it’s done it so well that you can’t help but forgive it.

The first cheerful 30 seconds of this is so incredibly uplifting, it’s insanely happy, especially if you know that it’s going to be followed by what is quite possibly the most awesome album of all time. A beautiful string arrangement comes in and really sets the mood for what this album is all about. The guitars resonate throughout and just add a lush flavour that you can almost taste, the layering is absolutely stunning. The vocal are perfect for the mood, out goes the harsh and in comes a completely clean vocal performance and it works amazingly well.

The slow build up is accompanied by sheer beauty and suddenly you’re thinking where the time has gone the whole thing just suddenly escalates out of nowhere. It will make you feel like you’re floating on top of the world. And before you know it, the first song is over. Another Excerpt feels like the start of a beautiful awakening, and the start of it is more classical in nature than anything. The build-up, the production and the atmosphere have all been created to perfection.

And there’s no disappointments, no anti-climaxes, just utter perfection, and buried deep in the mix is some incredible guitar solos that are just waiting to burst to the forefront, but never quite get there. Everything just seems to end so quickly, it never feels like you get a whole song, 10 minutes becomes one and everything feels lost, it can drive you mad just wanting more. Every now and then you’re just going to drift out of it and then when you snap back you notice you’re already halfway through the whole thing.

I’d like to take this time just to explain the sheer beauty of this album. There’s something to admire at every step of the way. Every note seems to be put there purely for your enjoyment. It’s like it knows exactly what you want and just delivers. The strings, the drums, the keyboards and the guitars; everything just works so perfectly, parts of this are pure silent perfection. And then other times it just overwhelms you with a beautiful wave of sound.

The closing track is quite possibly the only thing that can be tied down to make this overly familiar with motW fans, it’s the heaviest track, but that doesn’t explicitly say there’s any real metal on it, it just sounds more powerful. Yet it still retains that control, direction and beauty.

There’s not much I can say about this album that hasn’t been said other than that I’m absolutely stunned. My faith in new music has been restored, and I really hope that in 20 years 2009 will be remembered as the year that maudlin of the Well shocked the world with this total classic. And let’s not forget it’s available for free on their website.

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Old 05-31-2009, 07:39 AM   #100 (permalink)
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Rush – Moving Pictures



1. Tom Sawyer (4:33)
2. Red Barchetta (6:09)
3. YYZ (4:25)
4. Limelight (4:19)
5. The Camera Eye (11:00)
6. Witch Hunt (4:45)
7. Vital Signs (4:46)

LAST FM ALBUM STREAM:

http://www.last.fm/music/Rush/Moving+Pictures

Year: 1981

This is one of my all-time favourite albums. Coming very late into the prog game, by this time it had been completely dismissed. This album however managed to find a niche, a specific audience and as such has stood the test of time to be come something quite special. It has managed to create hit singles while still keeping the integrity of the album, which is by no means an easy thing to do.

The album starts off with the brilliant and very well known Tom Sawyer. If you haven’t been living under a rock since it was released there’s a very good chance you’ve heard it. By this point in reading, I’d advise you to put on the album on last.fm and just let it run through. The vocals are nothing short of infectious and the drumming is hiding an epic brilliance hiding under the surface. The album flows quite well into Red Barchetta with an appropriate slowdown to let the listener gather his thoughts and pay attention to the music.

I’ll not go into the concept of the song, but it is incredibly interesting to say the least, but far more satisfying to find out by yourself. The song is all about the story, but you’ll soon find that there’s solid backing in the structure, especially in the rhythm section. The album really does manage to rock very hard without going too deeply into hard rock territory. There’s always been something about the production on this album that’s caught my fancy.

And then there’s YYZ, which frankly is in a class of its own. The classic riff, the drums, everything just shines on this essential progressive rock instrumental. There’s just an epic feel to the whole song, based around the simple Morse code which is just something very special. This naturally brings me to what I’d call their two companion songs on the album, Limelight and the Camera Eye. The whole concept of “being in the limelight” seems to be quite pressing on the band.

The epic The Camera Eye just seems so fitting to me, the whole sound is just so heavy. There’s always something going on and I feel Rush are at their best when they’re doing this kind of layering. It’s still done very subtly, and there’s still that nice 70’s stripped back sound that makes it a pleasure, not a chore, to listen to. The drumming really excels here, and it becomes very clear why Neil Pert is so highly regarded.

You can tell this is a band at the top of their game, and clearly releasing exactly what they want. It feels very natural, and as such, like I’ve said before, the whole album flows incredibly well. It’s also very easy to become lost in the music and just start tuning out which is exactly what I want from a good album. My absolute favourite song from the album here is Witch Hunt. I think it Geddy Lee’s vocals really shine here.

Features Distorted in the Flickering Light
Faces are Twisted and Grotesque
Silent and Stern in the Sweltering Night
The Mob Moves like Demons Possessed


Thee album finishes with the brilliant vital sings, but if I haven’t already convinced you to check this out I don’t think I can. Maybe the score will help.

10/10
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