User Page: ivansfr0st
Rating by ivansfr0st
Agalloch - Ashes Against The Grain 2006
I must admit that at one point I disliked or, to say it more precisely, didn't understand Agalloch 's music. The musicianship seemed primitive to me and I found the songwriting lazy. Still, during those times I could feel that this is music that requires a certain approach, or perhaps I was into different aesthetics at the time and it wouldn't impress me. My respect for the four musicians of this extraordinary group appeared when I re-listened to Pale Folklore in summer, of all seasons. Was it the perfect time to listen to that specific album or had it just grown on me and clicked just then I can not say, but the fact is that the group's not so immense catalogue took an important place in my music diet. Their last album - The Mantle - was released in 2001, which was a long time ago, and it was intimidating that everyone would have to wait five years until the next offering of the quartet.
I always suspected that the spontaneousness of Agalloch 's music could be explained by a belonging, conceptually, to a specific season and its typical signs. However, after first 'getting' the music I noticed that this is the music that I would feel comfortable while listening to during any time of the year - it seemed very appropriate and even timeless. When I had the luck to get a copy of the new album, there was a happy coincidence that I was in a forest remote from my native city, which made the listening experience even more engaging and intimate than it could have been otherwise.
Well, the grim landscape painters are back and on Ashes Against The Grain the four musicians/magicians of ... -> show full review
Rating by ivansfr0st
Novembre - Materia 2006
Nowadays there has been a common opinion that once musicians remove the heaviness or the complexity from their sound, their music gets watered down and loses some of its quality and inspiration. In the world of Progressive Metal, some of the confirmation of that theory are numberless: Opeth , Green Carnation , that list goes on... Fortunately for us, Novembre 's latest release Materia is an exception to this rule. Since the group has just been added to the archives a few days ago, a short introduction in this review wouldn't be out of place. Novembre are from Italy and were among the pioneers of the extreme metal influenced prog in the early 90's and have remained an innovative collective ever since. They are commonly compared to Katatonia , My Dying Bride , Edge Of Sanity and especially Opeth (possibly due to the popularity of the latter), and although I can see where they are coming from(this is beautiful music with heavy parts), it is important to notice that Novembre are musicians of their own original ideas and any similarities can be explained by the similar period of activity, as well as somewhat close influences.
Whilst there was an abundancy of both heavy parts with growls, that could be compared to Dan Swano's work, and clean parts, often with acoustic guitars, accordian or keyboards, on the previous efforts, Materia witnesses the musicians taking a more relaxed, ... -> show full review
Maudlin of the Well - My Fruit Psychobells... A Seed Combustible 1999
Having listened to all maudlin of the Well/Kayo Dot related albums, this was the only last one I heard. What I heard about the album wasn't fascinating at all: it was said to be a raw, badly written and producted release by an unexperienced group. I, however, didn't mind all the negative responses and got this album to hear what the music was like when it all started. Now, the first listen didn't seem quite promising: some parts seemed badly crafted, some too poppy, others just plain boring and unremarkable. It seemed right for me to blast Bath or Leaving Your Body Map instead at the time, which, frankly speaking, are easier to listen to and "get", yet still very deep. It wasn't until one day when I was in the mood for giving this album another listener and, fortunately, that time I "got" it and since then I listen to it just as much as its successors.
The sound of the recording is indeed raw(not in the "grim" Black Metal way though, don't worry), however, you can hear every instrument just right and the atmosphere doesn't seem to suffer from it at all, and the bad production rather makes its more gloomy, mysterious and, at other times, beautiful. The album kicks in with Ferocious Weights (by the way, it's W eights, not H eights, as listed in the site's database) , which is an especially atmospheric song with both beautiful female vocals, Toby Driver's clean singing, which surprisingly doesn't sound all that much worse if compared to latest efforts, nicely composed guitar parts in accompaniment with trumpets. The song can be called both doomy and gothic, without being any extreme, unlike a few other tracks on the album. There is a part that really remins me of King Crimson 's more heavy complex stuff, which is never a bad thing. A ballsy ... -> show full review
Agalloch - Pale Folklore 1999
The album starts with the atmospheric She Painted Fire Across The Skyline , consisting of three parts. The first part starts out slow and maybe a little repetitive, but sets the vibe of the album very well. Although Pale Folklore is more often dynamic, the mood of the album is melancholic from the beginning until the end. The melodic riff that starts at about 3:00 gives me chills everytime I hear it, it is also done again in the end of the third part of the epic track. I'm not sure which part is my favourite: I would tell this about the third part, but, unfotunately, it is ruined by the spoken vocals just before the 1:00 mark, which sounds out of place and, fortunately, is the only thing you can blame this masterpiece for, which doesn't make it any worse than it is, really. The forth track is an instrumental, in fact the only one on this record, and doesn't follow the pace of the whole work - it is gentle and nice, with piano's and flutes, a very sad instrumental indeed. I'm not ... -> show full review
My Dying Bride - Turn Loose The Swans 1994
Turn Loose The Swans , the sophomore effort by My Dying Bride is an extremely unique album when considering its historical importance and the mind-boggling progression between this record and the debut As The Flower Withers . A dramatic change can is easily noticeable in that the group no longer plays the powerful Death/Doom exclusively, and has implemented such features that make their sound truly uncategorisable and impossible to put in whatever box you have got prepared for them. Martin Powell, now a full group colleague of the musicians, plays a greater role on this record, two of the seven total tracks lacking any heavy metal expression and consisting of gentle and melancholic violin and piano composition. In addition, he has become more brave in taking part in heavier sections, with the screeching, weeping violin sound that has been copied numerous times by now.
The album is surrounded by a tragic, fatal aura, and the lyrics are extremely bleak and depressing, much like the music itself, dealing with loss, hatred and despair. Conversely, it is drastically different from the debut in that way that there is so much variety in the songwriting in virtually every single track that the listening experience becomes absolutely breathtaking, as there are all the moments that make the music worthwhile. The track lengths and compositional structure are very progressive, with the average song being roughly nine minutes long. A large number of tempo changes and ... -> show full review
Edge of Sanity - Purgatory Afterglow 1994
I really enjoy this album, but its progressiveness, honestly speaking, is rather questionable. Besides the synth in the first track, which, in my point of view, is the only progressive song here, the album is just a great Death Metal record in the style of Dark Tranquility . The riffs and melodies are written incredibly well, the choruses are very catchy, and Dan's growling vocals are much better than on any of the previous releases. I know this isn't an aspect to attract Progressive Rock fans towards this album, but the extreme vocals are quite possibly the greatest done in the genre. Dan also sings on three tracks - Twilight , Blood-Coloured and Black Tears . For the people unfamiliar with the Swedish mastermind: Dan Swano's clean singing sounds a lot like David Coverdale, who seems to be a common influence even among the manliest metal musicians of Sweden.
Joking aside, the tracks here vary from 'excellent' to 'average'. The highest point of the album is the very first track, Twlight , with its beautiful and, later, hauntingly mysterious synth parts and clean vocals, amazing melodies and the mighty chorus. Of Darksome Origin is a riff-based song, with a dark atmosphere and Black Metal vocals. ... -> show full review
Kayo Dot - Dowsing Anemone With Copper Tongue 2006
The album is opened with Gemini Becoming The Tripod , a dramatic, atmospheric song with both quiet, dreaming parts, as well as apocalyptic, distorted and drone-doomy ones. The vocals(and lyrics too!) used here suit the music perfectly, and the instrumentation matches the mood of the composition - even the woodwinds help to get the message across. I especially like the outro of this track - the one that starts after the vocals end. ... -> show full review