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Old 04-25-2008, 06:19 PM   #21 (permalink)
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i need to catch up with this thread, it's doing alot
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Old 04-27-2008, 04:09 PM   #22 (permalink)
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Cor Scorpii: Monument (2008)



1. Ei fane svart (5:46)
2. Endesong (5:01)
3. I, the damned (6:16)
4. Our fate, our curse (5:29)
5. Helvetesfossen (4:01)
6. Oske og innsikt (10:27)
7. Kjettar (4:28)
8. Bradger i stein (5:57)
A piano plays softly on a scratched vinyl record, a fitting intro to this beautifully melodic black metal effort by the band formed by the former keyboardist for Windir. Staying far away from the tinny black metal guitars the focus is a lot more on the atmosphere. The vocals are as grim and frostbitten as any black metal fan could wish for. The opening track and dare I say "lead single" Ei Fane Svart which was released for free download by the band previous to the album being released is a brilliantly melodic piece of music. The production on the drumming is incredible when it comes to the dynamics it creates within the sound.

The guitars and keyboards continue to add an incredible amount of melody to the album and fans of the more melodic side of Windir will love this type of black metal. However it strays away from the weaker side of melodic black metal in which such bands as Dimmu Borgir and other ****e bands reside. The vocals are incredibly catchy and before long you'll be doing your best to sing along. There are some beautiful quiet parts in the album with focus on the keyboards and bass which is incredibly strange for this type of black metal. The bass guitar is incredibly well produces and can be easily heard throughout the whole album, and it yet again adds another layer of atmosphere.

I, the damned includes some incredibly lush sounding guitars, to put it this way, black metal has never sounded this awesome. This album breaks all the boundaries while remaining soundly inside it's own little square, it's full of contradictions, but that's certainly not a negative aspect. The effort as a whole is incredibly well thought out and it shows, the tracks flow together well and each song is incredibly well layered. There are some infectious folky melodies which carry on the legacy of Windir, and does so in spectacular form. You won't find another Arntor here, Cor Scorpii go far beyond imitating Windir's sound, it all feels incredibly fresh.

The drumming, while adding an incredible energetic atmosphere is the most black metal influenced thing about the album as a whole, apart from the vocals. The drums keep the speed up, while everything else is going along at quite a leisurely pace, this adds a great contrast to the album, and does so to great effect. Some of the longer instrumental pieces are again very reminiscent of Windir, but it's truly a resemblance only in style. Helvetesfossen is one of the more accessible songs on the album, and one of the most dynamic songs on the album. The drumming is nice and fluid, the guitars are beautifully crafted, the whole beat is more rock than metal.

The song is beautifully atmospheric and left me in a complete daze, the layering is dense yet an easy listen, the whole effort is overly melodic and beautiful with some lush passages. The fast paced drumming returns on the Eepic Oske og Innsikt which includes some of the heavier parts of an already heavy album. You'll never be bored despite the length, because there is absolutely always something to hold onto and grasp with your mind. The album is overall too short, clocking in at just under 47 and a half minutes, but if you crave more, play it again sam. The guitars continue to impress here, there's nothing spectacular on a technical level, but it just sounds so incredibly good, and in the end, that's what makes the music.

The album can get quite mentally draining at times, and you can feel yourself slipping, the end effect is that it can feel like a few minutes until it ends, a generally gutted feeling that will leave you wanting more and more. I'm not entirely sure how it's attained but a lot of the great black metal bands and albums evoke the same type of reaction. The music as a whole is very upbeat and not very angry despite the vocals, yet it's still quite aggressive. Kjettar is an incredible song, with some great interesting instrumental/vocal combinations which sound very fresh. The song as a whole is very catchy and works very well after the comparatively straight forward Oske og innsikt.

The guitars are brought far more into the spotlight on the second half of the album and Kjettar is a perfect example of this. With this album Cor Scorpii have created a sound which is unmistakably theirs, and it's one hell of a sound. On an interesting sound note, I'm sure that's a black metal version of the Loituma song levan Polkka in Bragder i stein, a grimmer more frostbitten version definitely, and very awesome. The whole song is very folky and it's a brilliant end to the album.

Make no mistake, this is so far and will be the best black metal release of this year, nothing can possibly top it, I'd be very glad to be proven wrong, but this is just overly too brilliant. My second favourite album of this year, and I can't see that changing. Great album.

9.6/10
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Old 04-30-2008, 11:10 PM   #23 (permalink)
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Nice reviews. I haven't had a chance to listen to Watershed yet because I've been away from home, but I'll probably give it a spin today. And I've been meaning to check out Cor Scorpii.
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Old 05-02-2008, 02:46 PM   #24 (permalink)
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I like the reviews, but feel 9.5 for Watershed is, well, let's just say...not entirely accurate.
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Old 05-07-2008, 01:13 PM   #25 (permalink)
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Note to all: review corner postponed due to broken arm.
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Old 10-24-2008, 01:52 AM   #26 (permalink)
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Since I'm now at uni, and doing reviews would be like slacking off doing nothing while not at uni. Reviews is the new lazy. I'm gonna start doing my "10 Albums that Have, Will and Should Influence the Progression of Music" reviews ASAP, expect one over the weekend.
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Old 10-24-2008, 07:55 PM   #27 (permalink)
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King Crimson - Lizard (1970)




1. Cirkus (6:27)
2. Indoor Games (5:37)
3. Happy Family (4:22)
4. Lady of the Dancing Water (2:47)
5. Lizard (23:14)

Lizard has quite a spectacular start considering it's high point is the 23 minute epic title track. Cirkus has vocals that would fit in easily on any King Crimson album and parts which would fit perfectly into Red, yet I wouldn't have it anywhere but here. The total insanity of the construction is a beautiful preview of what is to come, you will be hit by a wall of sound and at the same time, not very much at all, it is never overwhelming but at all times changing. Trying to focus solely on the music will lead you dizzy, and that is a very real prelude to what is coming. However while this is a musically good song it is missing soul, that little bit extra that makes you care. It has atmosphere, intensity and beauty, but lacks that little bit extra, and that is the most dissapointing thing about this song that would be perfect... if only it was more memorable.

Indoor Games has very much the same feel to Cirkus however it adds something extra to what came before it, and because it already has the context of Cirkus to build upon, it is a much more enjoyable track. What Cirkus lacked in soul, Indoor Games very much makes up for it, infact the whole rest of the album does. The various effects use all add something meaningful to the song never seem to be there just so effects can be used. The song focuses blissfully on parts of simplicity that work so very well, eventually settling into a very nice, pallatable groove. It is very much jazzy but at the same time not, which is basically what the whole album is about. Sax improvisations are very aptly played by Mel Collins who also played on three other KC albums and other albums by popular artists of the time. The song ends wtih Gordon Haskell laughing about the lyrical subject matter, which he felt was ridiculous.

Along with Indoor Games, Happy Family borrows heavily from Dazed and Confused, but the humour on Happy Family is far more obvious. The lyrical aspect here is the most important on the album and focus heavily on the four members of The Beatles; "Judas, Rufus, Silas and Jonah". The vocals are laden with effects and adds a completely different tone the songs, while the jamming is all very much entrenched in what King Crimson have done before, but also there is a geniune attempt at jazz which will start to shine as we get to the title track.

Lady of the Dancing Water is a beautiful little piece put together to be very much like parts of their earlier work, where the focus was on calm melodies and intricate beauty. Mel Collins playing the flute here does a brilliant job defining the song, and very much complements the guitars and vocals. The vocal mix is curious and well coreographed and at times it makes it seem less natural than it should be, but it can be overlooked by the sheer beauty of the song. The calm ending is very much in contrast to the title track.

With Jon Anderson on guest vocals, the introduction (Prince Rupert Awakes) to the track features verses sung in two diferent styles, the first, calmer verses and the second more folky, harsh verses contrast each other. While the music contrasts the calmer style and complements the more folky harsh verses creates a very interesting set of changes. The song flows brilliantly here and the intro is definitely one of the highlights to the album. The verses eventually come to a huge, emotional climax which is absolutely stunning the first, second and fiftieth time around. The replay value of the album is absolutely cemented within the first four and a half minutes of the song. However there is so much more to come.

This is Mel Collins finest hour, and he deserves it the next 19 minutes or so is a musical journey into the deep, a journey which melds so many different melodies, styles and genres into one, all focusing towards a jazzy yet classical feel. This is especially felt by the "Bolero" which comes immediately after "Prince Rupert Awakes". Many more guests make their appearance here, and their jazzy improvisations around the general theme under very Bolery like drumming. There is much repetition between each artist, but all of these work to build the theme, the overall result is something which alters the way time is percieved. 10 minute in real time is turned into one minute Lizard time, and it is over far too soon. Each new solo brings a whole new set of emotions, and it runs the gambit of all of them. Hope, despair, joy, inspiration, happiness and an overwheling sensation that everything should remain.

That however is not to be, under a drumroll minor climax the whole nature of the composition changes and leaps into a repetitive section yearning to break free. Your heart will flutter and you will wish to be rid of this spell. And soon enough the vocals return and for a breif moment of serenity you are treated to relative calm. The overall experience is very draining as you're built up, only to be let down time and time again. This album is a master of emotion, suspense and time. More than anything Time in the album is handled in a way which will leave you hanging at the edge of your seat for a musical resolution! Such is the power of this composition that it becomes not only a musical experience, it becomes a visual and even sensual experience.

Many of the same raw emotions experience with metal styles can be found here, the whole atmosphere, and at times, lack of it, serve to create a whole new creation within the song itself. Yearning to break free, but I know it will never quite get there, the main themes return in a plethora of sounds and varying melodies all returning to the main theme revolving around the song. This proves to be incredibly powerful and moving.

The main risk King Crimson toom with this album was the fact that they decided to go with an excessively long title track. If they had not been able to make it entertaining it would have failed, spectacularly so, in the way in which many of the longer prog rock compositions have. However the one and only weak point to the song as a whole is that it's too overwhelming. It will take many listens to come to grips with, and while many will see this as an advantage, the fact that at times it can be so inaccessible due to the sheer length and power of the track will have to be considered a downfall.

Prince Ruperts Lament is the most beautiful piece of that King Crimson have created, it features a haunting rhythm supporting a guitar that seemingly comes closer and closer as it progresses. You march in the funeral train towards the guitar and that is the feeling you're left with, it evokes an incredible sense of sadness, but the same time there's a feeling of relief as the guitar fades further and further away to the same marching beat. The whole part is incredibly moving, and yet so simple, it is definitely one of the best context driven guitar solos.

The song ends very much like it started, it feels much like a Cirkus reprise, and it would have to be, because if it ended with the Lament you'd never want to listen to the album again, so much is the despair that is evoked from it.

On the whole Lizard is many things, beautiful, mindblowing, atmospheric to a fault and in complete control of your emotions, but it is also disjointed at times, especially in the first few songs. I will have to try hard to find flaw with the title track itself however I'm sure it is there, but it is the imperfections that make this... perfect.

10/10

How this album SHOULD have influenced music is painfully obvious to me, it should have shifted the direction of the prog scene. The jazzy style of the album is something which has been overlooked, much to the detriment of the genre as a whole. Yes certain albums have jazz undertones, but nothing as striking as this. The whole way that this album progresses and the way that it feels is breathtaking, and it should have aspired many more to try to be like this. Yet for some reason they didn't, Lizard is generally not held in very high regard, and I'm at a total loss to see why. To me it is one of the most perfect albums of all time, and it will always stay this way.
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Last edited by Comus; 10-24-2008 at 08:32 PM.
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Old 10-24-2008, 10:33 PM   #28 (permalink)
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Nice review. BTW I finally got around to doing a Lizard review in my KC thread - someone with a Comus avatar commented on it when I posted it to Sputnik, but I'm not sure whether it was you.
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Old 10-24-2008, 10:43 PM   #29 (permalink)
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Great review of Lizard! It baffles me how overlooked an album it is. The title track contains some of the most beautiful music ever put to record and you're right - when listening, the music has complete control. You've inspired me to to put this album on right now.

Another thing that adds to its perfection is the cover. I can't think of a better example of artwork representing sound. The best way to experience this album is to do nothing but sit, listen, and explore the cover art. My thoughts get so crazy between listening and looking, it adds that final layer of dimension to the experience.

Thanks for the good read.
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Old 10-24-2008, 11:11 PM   #30 (permalink)
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Nice review. BTW I finally got around to doing a Lizard review in my KC thread - someone with a Comus avatar commented on it when I posted it to Sputnik, but I'm not sure whether it was you.
Errrr, if it was me I don't remember, but my memory relating to certain things is very hazy due to extensive drug abuse as a teenager. What did he/me say?

Next review is going to fast forward a bit to a land of mystery and wonder, the recent years. I will review Kings of Leon's Because of the Times, and hopefully immediately afterwards their lacklustre newest album **** and Generic.
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