Week 113 (May 30, 2014)

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This week’s spotlight comes in the form of US death masters, Incantation, who prove that they’ve still got the skills and talent to make some of the most foreboding death metal that you’ll hear this year. All in all, I think that all of the acts performed quite well this week, with Stormwarrior, Wormreich and Diabulus In Musica receiving quite high marks. Unfortunately, there was just one album this week that left me confused and it’s received probably one of the lowest scores that I’ve given in a quite a while. I’m sorry guys, but I honestly had no idea what you were trying to do and the ridiculous album art really doesn’t help your case. So without a further ado, here’s Week 113!

Incantation - Dirges Of Elysium

Incantation – Dirges Of Elysium (2014) – Incantation wanted to make an album that “pushes the limits of darkness” so to speak, and they’ve certainly done it with the wretchedness that composes this latest effort. The band really wanted to focus more on dismal atmospheres this time around, making the album’s opener and title track (2:15) a funerary dirge in all respects. But as the slow, threatening riff structures draw to a close, the drums immediately begin to kick into high gear as they come forth in the mix like a battering ram that crushes all opposition. “Debauchery 4:09” proves in it’s less than five minute length, that these gentlemen certainly know what memorable death metal is, and how to proficiently perform it. “Bastion Of A Plague Soul 2:45” features the same amount of metallic muscularity, throwing in serious solos amongst sharp and piercing melodies, which are anything but beautiful. Some of you might have taken a gander at the new Arch Enemy record and reveled in it’s beautiful little melodies, but Incantation seem to be the kind of band that say, “Oh, you play death metal? How cute.” as they pummel on with their breed of truly grueling and uncomfortable death metal riffs, which no doubt illustrate topics of human indecency and lawless evil.

The grooves that erupt from the fierce underworld bowels in which “Carrion Prophecy 4:36” was conceived come forth like a blazing inferno, which then proceeds to pound my eardrums like a fucking jackhammer. Then “From A Glaciate Womb 7:50” comes in with its own dose of madness, as an injection of funerary dirge comes forth to welcome the call of battle. The pounding of war drums usher in a ferocious sense of conflict, which is later highlighted by thundering leads that slowly foretell the fate of all who weren’t able to escape the confrontation. The smell of death lingers thickly form this point, up until the end of the lengthy track. “Portal Consecration 3:22” then comes in with brutal drum blasts and ferocious vocal gravel that seems quite similar to “Carrion Prophecy.” Breaking that mold comes “Charnel Grounds 2:20” which consists of almost nothing but doom laden and horrendous atmospheres, something that might decorate the horrors of Cthulhu’s rise from the sea and royal inauguration as monarch of the Earth. “Impalement Of Divinity 3:49” continues to pummel forth as even more of the same uncomfortable feeling looms throughout this release. Incantation have without a doubt, made one of the most unpleasant death metal albums that I’ve ever heard, as they embody the spirit of fear with each and every note of this foulness. Coupled with Morbid Angel reminiscent solo efforts, this record also does well to embody the spirit of death metal as it should be: frightening, ghastly and megalithic. As for the album’s final two tracks, I will just say that while “Dominant Ethos 2:47” continues the band’s onslaught, the finale wrapped in the nearly twenty minute “Elysium (Eternity Is Nigh) 16:47” does well to encompass everything that the band set out to do with this album. It is without a doubt one of their most ritualistic and evil moments, like a group of devotees offering repugnant musical devotion to a slew of dark and unmentionable gods. If this is truly meant to honor Dis Pater, then I’m quite certain that the malefic entity would himself then be pleased by this said ritual offering. With this monumental closer, Incantation brood their way through one of the most terrifying dirges that I’ve heard recorded. The area in which this track was recorded must have been dimly lit with candles, while the stinging smell of sulfur burned in the air. If there is indeed a hell, then certainly this is the soundtrack to it.

If you’re looking for a disc that pushes death metal to its darkest and most dreadful corners, then look no further than this. In all the years that have flown by, Incantation have gotten better, while many of their peers have gotten worse. But that just goes to show you how deep the band’s undying dedication to all monstrous and unholy elements truly is. I definitely recommend this awesomely grim release.

(10Tracks, 50:00)

9.5/10

Mindcage - Our Own Devices

Mindcage – Our Own Devices (2014) – What happens when a bunch of old fogies get together to make classic heavy metal? Well, you get the prog meets power style of Mindcage, which actually proves to be quite a formidable disc; despite it’s rather short length. The frontman seems to have a wonderfully strong approach to vocals, blowing away several other front men in this genre who are much younger in the years. Not to mention the Queensryche-like aspect of the band, which combines heavy leads with 70’s style theatrics, equaling out to a monstrous performance. The first two tracks “For All Mankind (The Dark Design) 4:38” and title track (4:35) definitely clicked in my ears, but “The Human Race 6:21” is without a doubt one of the best male and female vocal duet tracks that I’ve ever heard from this genre of metal. I’ve not idea who the guest vocalist is, but she’s got an angel’s voice that goes along superbly well with male clean. Maybe these guys don’t have the world’s best production value, but it hearkens back to a time when you didn’t need it. The music here really speaks for itself and these guys came out of nowhere to show other power/prog bands how to do it. I’m thoroughly impressed with everything here. The guitar work on the disc is also surmountable, as riffs, melodies and solos come pouring in along with slight instrumental sections that prove to quite mighty. Mindcage have muscle and class, which you just don’t hear anymore. There’s no real reason for me to continue a track by track analysis for something that comes off so pleasing to the ear as this one. I would recommend this one to fans of bands like Queensryche, Yes and even Iced Earth in some instances. It’s not the heaviest thing you’ll hear this year, but for those who have an appreciation for this kind of heavy metal; you’ll definitely find yourself pleased. Here’s to hoping Mindcage will make another release in the future. Definitely get your hands on this one.

(8Tracks, 35:00)

9/10

Sinner Sinners - XI

Sinner Sinners – XI (2014) – This punk/metal duet is composed of a guy and a girl. Are they just friends? Maybe a couple? I don’t really know and don’t really care. But what I am hearing are some really punchy punk leads on opener “A.F.O. 3:18” as well as some sweet keyboards and a rocking solo. I don’t know if this caught my attention the first time, but now that I’m re-listening to the piece, I’m beginning to notice things that I didn’t at first. And here’s another change for you – the male vocalist actually takes a sidestep and lets the female take the lead. It reminds me of Joan Jett, Wendy O’ Williams and a little bit of indie. But I can certainly do indie rock, especially when it sounds as focused as it does here. And another rocking solo comes in to no disappointment of mine. Things get much heavier as “Imitate 2:04” comes into place, as it welcome the almost sing-along punk rock ballad of “Modern Man 3:17” which sees these two at their most commercial attempt. But it’s catchy and could certainly get them noticed. “Modified 3:38” also features a choral aesthetic, once again showing the lighter side of the act, albeit with a still rough-edged vocal performance. Skipping a few tracks, we get to the scream-fest that comprises “Reckless 3:42” and “Relax 3:56” as the record closes on the album’s fiercest moment in “Rise Up 1:53.” There’s no question that Sinner Sinners mix punk, metal and indie together in an interesting and at times abrasive package that’s sure to get people talking. An effort was made and an effort was noticed. This is a solid album that you won’t easily forget. I’ve never been the biggest fan of punk, but these guys definitely made me a bit of a fan of it with this album. So that should tell you something.

(10Tracks, 31:00)

8/10

Wormreich - Wormcult Revelations

Wormreich – Wormcult Revelations (2014) – I’ve got another dose of black metal and Satan in the form of Wormreich, who seem to be quite good in mixing the raw sense of black metal along with some structural progression and symphonic elements in the form of progressive black metal acts like Deathspell Omega, of which the band has also covered here. Their work isn’t quite as proggy as current Deathspell and it sounds a bit rawer which gives it a feel of character. It’s not so raw that you can’t hear it, but raw enough to provide the right atmosphere. The mood of this album matches the art on the album cover, and these three zombie-looking men seem to be able to provide that right dose of bleak Satanic atmosphere better than others who have tried to do the same. There’s definitely more than a few post black metal riffs being used here, but I think the three parts of “Revelation 24:00” definitely benefit from them. After all, Wormreich is literally trying to be as heavy as hell “Enim Satanas Meum Sanguinem 7:37” as well as atmospheric “Shaare-Maveth 1:59” which makes a line like “Open our eyes to your sheer terror and hallowed radiance!” a great descriptor for the entire album. It’s certainly terrifying, frightening, bone-chilling and full of enough Satanic gloom to have it first pick at a church bonfire, yet it also has a sort of mesmerism that elicits a strange and wonderful soundscape. The drums definitely pound, the riffs are still as icy as we should expect from black metal and the scowls are certainly as convincing as we should expect. It is still drenched in the occult and darker sides of reality and doesn’t seem to be trodding a path of mediocrity. In honesty, people who think that Deathspell Omega might have jumped the shark and gone off the beaten path after 2004 might find their interests rekindled with these frightfully fascinating gentlemen. I will not lie to you, as I think I would enjoy speaking with guys like this in person, just so that I could understand all of this a little better. The man offers such conviction in his lyrics, that my mind quirks to wonder from where they have come. Does atmosphere like that which can be found in “Codex Luciferum 5:17” mimic that which can be found in hell? Are there palaces deep in the abyss with a shade of darkness, built for men like this? It can be said that some prefer the darkness, relish in its comforts and find contentment and rapture within the shadows. Perhaps it goes to show that religion itself is flawed and that some of us aren’t born bad or nurtured to the darkness, but that some of us just come to accept it as a far more interesting place. I’ve heard Muslims talking about many djinn on the planet, which aren’t described in any other religious text. Most of them are malicious, so that must mean that these could very well be the spirits of those who found the darkness in life. Not as in someone who murdered senselessly as the events over the weekend, but for a man who just doesn’t see eye to eye with the common perception of what benevolence is. Face it, Heaven just isn’t for some people. A realm of light and goodness isn’t something that people all want. And furthermore, how do we know that it’s even a realm of light and goodness? Heaven might very well be the same thing as Hell was made out to be, only brighter. The truth is that we don’t really know what exists beyond, and because we don’t know; we’ll continue to keep searching, which is entirely necessary, natural and encouraged for human evolution. So for those who creep in the shadows and enjoy hymns to dark and nefarious beings, Wormreich have definitely made the soundtrack to suit your life. All four parts of this revelation are worthy and should definitely be absorbed thoroughly by the mind. The band has conducted a ritual here to the darkness, Satan and all embodied by the rebellious. Though I believe that this spirit or essence of Satan is something far older and more intriguing than what man has wrought with his pen and parchment. Rounding out the disc is the cover of Deathspell Omega’s “Malign Paradigm 4:52” which consists of the sounds of war and destruction, something that we might hear quite soon in the coming years or months (but hopefully not.)

I definitely recommend checking out this release. While not the greatest black metal record of the year, it’s certainly achieved atmosphere and presence and should surely sit well with those fans of progressive atmospheric black metal with post influences, albeit leaving the black metal nature of the piece intact. Fans of acts like 1349 and Deathspell Omega (as well as many, many more) will find something intriguing and beautiful in this grim and radiant atmosphere. Wormcult Revelations was indeed made for those who embrace the darkness.

(7Tracks, 37:00)

8.5/10

Dizastor - After You Die We Mosh

Dizastor – After You Die, We Mosh (2014) – So-Cal thrashers Dizastor have a very trashy sort thrash sound, quite similar to Municipal Waste. They consider themselves similar to old school thrash in the vein of Exodus, Testament and Vio-lence and released two EP’s prior to this disc. Technically this disc only contains a few new songs and packages the band’s EP I’ll Eat Your Children alongside some live material, but it’s the band’s first label offering on Defense Records so it should get greater distribution. As for the record goes, we definitely get speedy thrash riffs buckled with Rob’s weasely vocal approach, while Derek and Bart manage to throw in a couple of nice solos into the mix. It’s nothing that hasn’t been already explored, but serves as a memorable throwback to days of old. There’s a little bit of a punk vibe here too, as expressed on “Down and Out 3:28” so it definitely has the spirit of classic thrash, which was at the time an infant crawling out of the punk scene. The bass can also be heard and felt here, as you can’t really hear it all that much on modern thrash records. It’s never a bad thing to hear the bass player, especially when on most records it seems like he might as well not even be plugged into the amp. You know, like he’s sitting there eating a tuna salad sandwich or something while the rest of the band plays the song. The approximate fifteen minutes of new material actually serves to show the band in just as strong a state as their EP, with solos flying about in later sections. The EP contains just four tracks, but with a thicker production value that really shines on the drums. I actually prefer it to the thin sound of the newer material. Somebody needs to fix that ASAP. Though it’s a little less than ten minutes in length, the EP is certainly more potent than whatever in the hell I was offered earlier in the release. The first section just seemed too fast and forgettable, while this EP just feels a bit chunkier. I even think Rob’s vocal approach sounds better here too. The rest of the album is composed of live tracks, which comprise of the comical “No, ma’am 0:26”, “Initiation 2:45”, “Birds Of Prey 3:17”, “Hell’s Pass 2:43” and “Kill Posers 3:03.” So at least you’re getting sixteen thrash tracks here with no repeats. Though five are live, they still are audible enough to enjoy and feature the band with a fiery performance. It’s definitely thrash and it’s definitely comical, so if that appeals to you, then check it out.

(16Tracks, 37:00)

7/10

Analogue Media Single LP Jacket

X_X – X Sticky Fingers X (2014) – Every once in a while, I begin to scratch my head and wonder exactly what it in the hell it is that I’m listening to. What we’ve got here is an experimental rock band that kind of mixes blues, jazz and weird noise combinations in a way that sounds like it came from out of the seventies at times, with a bit of Primus for good measure. The disc is comprised of live tracks and studio cuts, just sort of thrown together in a weird mixture that combined with the odd cover art, makes you wonder what kind of band these guys are. I’m still trying to figure that out from the fuzzy live performances, but I can say that I’m hearing some great guitar injections and there’s some memorable solos stuffed under all this mess. Sometimes, I’m not even sure what the fuck is going on with tracks like “The Social Whirlpool 2:40” or “Moorish Weirdo 2:13” which sound like an awful lot of noise and gibberish. If you feel like you can brave the adventure of this album, then check it out. But as for me, I don’t think I can do with another minute of this misplaced musicianship. Let me know when you’ve found your identify as a band, gentlemen. Who even let these guys on stage? Shit, do we have to censor the cover art too?

(16Tracks, 37:00)

3/10

Storm Warrior - Thunder & Steele

Storm Warrior – Thunder & Steele (2014) – Storm Warrior are a power metal band that I don’t know a whole heck of a lot about, but I can say that they’re certainly steadfast in their approach and from the very first (also title) track (3:36) they’ve certainly made me a believer. They do have that sort of Dragonforce sort of approach, but don’t sound nearly as cheesy; which is a great thing. Still, “Metal Avenger 3:41” doesn’t go right into bombastic soundscapes and shredding right from the start, as their frontman delivers just as powerful a chorus here as he did when the disc began. There’s still no doubt in my mind that the axeman certainly wanted to shred and grind though most of this disc, as he does to my great pleasure. But he knows when to quit and allow other elements to take the stage and this is what Dragonforce has to re-learn after making the pomp that was Inhuman Rampage. Yet I feel that I don’t have to say very much about this album, as “Sacred Blade 3:57” and “Ironborn 4:48” both come in with the same powerful spirit as their predecessors, complete with thumping choruses that’ll get stuck in your head with days and solo sections that are guaranteed to have your head spinning. This is definitely power metal with enough might and muscularity to stand the test of time. It sounds like it came right out of the eighties with bands like Helloween, Saxon and Accept and it should undoubtedly appeal to fans of the genre greatly. Take the “choir on a motorcycle” rocking vibe of “Fyres In The Nighte 3:41” or the crushing might of “Steelcrusader” which sounds like it definitely could have been written in Saxon’s glory age. (Which is still going on if you ask me.) Fans of power metal new and old should relish in this one, which is a definite solid release that’s definitely going to have you banging your head and raising your horns high into the air. I think they picked the right name for it, because this is definitely the sound of thunder and steel. Be sure to check it out, just in case it might have gotten buried under the pile of other releases of its type that have come out this year. I think you’ll be quite pleased with the performance and it definitely makes me smile as a fan of traditional and power metal. This is the sound of the good olde days.

(10Tracks, 44:00)

8/10

Terrordrome - Well Show You Bosch Mitch

Terrordrome – We’ll Show You Bosch, Mitch! (2014) – Terrordrome is a Polish thrash act that’s similar to bands like Slayer, D.R.I., Nulcear Assault and S.O.D. They consider Razor and Cryptic Slaughter to also be inspirations, as they rollout furious riff combinations complete with a punk-like atmosphere, much like Dizastor whom I reviewed earlier. Both bands are on the same label though, so that makes sense. Some songs like “Fuckbody 0:25” come off with almost a comical approach in speed and ferocity, yet the two songs that sandwich it (“Boiling Dogsblood 2:07” and “Worry Yourself To Death 2:14”) are quite stable, as they feel more structured efforts that although mixed with the brashness of punk, seem to communicate both the band’s skill and wrath in one fell swoop. Drummer Mekong Minetaur seems to be a major backbone here, as his efforts really do seem to give the act the right amount of kick that it deserves. This at times sounds like it was recorded by a bunch of furious kids in somebody’s garage, but it’s that kind of raw fury that communicates much fiercer than guys who do this kind of music in a much more sterile environment. Uappa Terror comes off like a fucking nutcase on the mic, which really translates to songs like “Occupation Son 1:27” and “Goddamn Asskicking Well 2:58” giving the band a sort of thrash/grind sensibility that will come off instantly familiar to grind maniacs, yet probably alien to some thrashers who weren’t exposed to the really fucked up stuff. Metallica was certainly heavy back in the day, but they never quite lost their shit like these guys manage to do with this record. After an intermission, I feel like I’m listening to another record due to the production value with “Dickhead Stronger 2:05” being pretty goddamned weak compared to its fearsome stepchild “Pathological 2:15” which even incorporates some vocal sediment into the mix. It’s that kind of thick gravel that we don’t expect and works towards and even thicker sense of grind. But grind we can do as these guys let loose their best Spanish impression with “Pinche Pendejos 1:03” which is probably filled to the brim with offense Spanish sentiments. Following that is “Speak English or Gay 2:21” which continues the devastation. Finally, we get into the third part of the disc which also sounds like it was a different recording session. The band blow through songs the likes of “Brutal Punishment 1:54”, “Friends From The Gym 2:16” and of course, “Hang The Cop 0:42” which is an unbridled ejaculation of pure masculine rage. Yeah, that’s definitely fucking grind. As a bonus, the band give you a bonus set where they play about fifteen minutes of tracks including on featured cuts like “Silence (While The Violence Is On 2:21” and “Cross Over Warsaw 2:48” which showcase these guys causing utter mayhem and chaos in their homeland. They end the performance with “The Whole Audience Goes Full Blast 2:24” as it closes out this unbridled sense of wanton musical violence.

Terrordrome might be recommended for thrash fans, but I really think that grind fans might find something to like here too. At any case, these guys lose their shit completely on stage and start mucking up a storm. But they also do that in the studio. This is the sound of young musicians who make music that gives no fucks and has no definitive boundaries. It’s definitely the spirit of thrash metal, redefined through the lens of a new age. Get your goddamned hands on it.

(28Tracks, 50:00)

7.5/10

Diabulus In Musica - Argia

Diabulus In Musica – Argia (2014) – Not having heard anything from this Spanish gothic metal five piece before, I dived right into this album on a blind listen. It began with a theatrical piece called “Et Resurrexit (Libera Me) 3:05” which led right into the ferocity of symphonic death metal opener “From The Embers 4:56” which features its share of thick growls and Zuberoa’s majestic vocal approach. But the rest of the album isn’t like this, as it carries with it a very familiar style of gothic, female fronted metal. It’s still quite good however with tracks like “Inner Force 3:49” featuring a Lacuna Coil vibe, while “Maitagarri 5:59” definitely recalls NIghtwish. The core riffs that back “Furia De Libertad 4:47” (which also features Aliyn Gomez from Sirenia) seem to add a punchy vibe to the track, as “Eternal Breeze 5:11” lights the sky on fire with explosive melodies and remarkable choral elements. Nightwish fans will eat this one up whole, and with good reason. It takes from the best. Now “Mechanical Ethos 4:35” goes back into the heaviness once more, bringing some thrash and core riffs which still manage to accentuate Zuberoa’s vocal approach here too. Together with the choirs, this serves as a memorable track with more of a punch then previous numbers have had. Then “Spoilt Vampire 4:40” continues the heavy thrash riffs as gothic synths seem to accentuate Zuberoa’s vocal approach as electronic elements also play a part, with the return of harsh vocal growls. Next comes the operatic number “Encounter At Chronos’ Maze 6:20” which also includes Thomas Vikstrom (most known for his work in Therion, among other acts) which includes heavy sections and quite balladic bouts of opera that certainly sound like they’ve got a little tinge of Therion attached to them. Which is NEVER a bad thing. The disc gets a little softer after that though, with the sweet lullaby of “Indigo 4:10” as rumbling thrash riffs load up for the album’s finale in “Healing 6:31.” All in all, I’m quite impressed with this extremely experimental mixture and I’ll tell you why – Diabulus In Musica are adding that extra tinge of heaviness to their opera, much in the way that Nightwish began to do with Once, which kind of petered out in later albums. But these guys still mix the opera approach with heavy riffs, while still allowing choirs to come in uncramped and memorable in each of the tracks that they’re featured on. Add to that the variation in the songs, which can be majestic, raucous or serene, depending on the mood. It’s an album with many different emotions to choose from, yet they all seem to go hand in hand with each other, creating a cohesive piece that’s quite solid and memorable in most regards. Argia is not perfect, but it’s an awesomely stellar album that shows the gothic metal scene is far from struggling. As a matter of fact, 2014 has been a very formidable year for gothic metal (with the exception of a few acts that need not be named) and I have greatly appreciated the latest offerings from these guys, Sirenia and Xandria. I think that it’s a good year for bands that end in the letter “A” and hopefully future releases will prove the genre to be even stronger. Not everyone can get into gothic metal, but at least this has enough bite to attract the modern core and thrash scene, while still offering enough feminine mystique to attract those who seek more majestic landscapes in their music. Zuberoa’s voice is just the icing on the cake, making Argia a worthwhile grab if you see it at your local record shop or online. It’s definitely magical.

Highlights: Et Resurrexit (Libera Me), From The Embers, Maitagarri, Eternal Breeze, Mechanical Ethos, Spoilt Vampire, Encounter At Chronos’ Maze, Indigo, Healing (56:00)

8.5/10

Bigelf - Into The Maelstrom

Bigelf – Into The Maelstrom (2014) – Bigelf is a progressive rock/metal act that I’m not all too familiar with, so this was also a blind listen. But I like prog rock in general, so I was expecting something quite interesting and that’s what I got. The album roars right into action with the sound of a great whirring, which soon goes into funny keyboards, and a notable (albeit nasally) vocal approach, which I find matches the music quite well. But that’s what makes up “The Incredible Time Machine 3:56” and throws me deep into the throes of “Hypersleep 5:37” as its electronics and computerized vocals make me think I’m on a sort of spacecraft. Thick doom riffs accompany my journey paired with the same fuzzy sort of keyboards and vocal approach. The song really gets going when the keyboards go full-throttle, giving me the kind of atmospheres that I simply adore from this kind of music. “Already Gone 3:29” is kind of a lighter ballad, but it also makes me think that is could be about doing LSD. “Alien Frequency 4:14” also starts off with a nice bit of acoustic guitar, as it slowly goes into an Ayreon like sort of heaviness, quickly drowning that out for an almost alternative rock like presence. Sections of thick metal still pervade the track however, but it tends to want to stick towards more rocking realms. “The Professor & The Madman 5:59” adds in Indian atmospheres and some real psychedelics, making me think that I just might not be high enough to fully enjoy this album. Some jazzy grooves end the piece however, proving that there’s a little bit of crunch here. “Mr. Harry McQuaye 6:13” sounds like The Beatles and David Bowie got together with some elements of Pink Floyd to make something that’s quite fucking memorable, especially when you get to that solo. They just don’t make them like that anymore. “Vertigod 3:58” manages to continue this modernized trippy prog rock along as “Control Freak 2:51” kicks up the blues and the jazz, almost taking a complete turn from prog rock altogether. It sounds a little like Sabbath in all actuality. Lo and behold, the next song on the record is indeed “High 7:11” proving that I should have been high before I did this review. This song is a bit heavier than past efforts, yet also features some mesmerizing instrumental moments amongst the Sabbathy sections. “Edge Of Oblivion 6:34” comes next, with some slightly blazing sections which almost sound ferocious at times. But it’s that stop and start quality of the piece that works well with the ticking of the clock and the true to form vocal acrobatics that have given me an appreciation for this kind of music throughout the years. As one might expect, the song is also rife with keyboard atmospheres as well as more Pink Floyd friendly guitar solo sections. “Theater Of Dreams 4:01” opts for a more alternative approach to the music, which affects me about as well as some of the other alternative moments. It’s good, but I’ve heard much in the same class before. Though I will say that the hearken back to the sixties’ solo effort is most warranted, if it only had been allowed to continue for a minute more. The next song on the release is “ITM 8:09” which is composed of three parts, severing as the album’s finale. All in all, it seems to end the disc on a memorable note, but I don’t think it’s quite as strong as a few of the songs that have come before it. There really doesn’t seem to be anything here that really leaves me breathless or dazzles me with the keyboards.

To be honest, maybe I expected a little more with this Bigelf record. I guess I kind of expected frantic and furious hippie keyboard solos, leaving me to the point of mind-boggling bewilderment. But that’s not what I got. What Bigelf offer here are some great sixties style prog rock tracks with modern elements that sort of drown out the real theatrics in alternative rock soundscapes. It’s more accessible, as a matter of fact. It doesn’t really capture the “you let your hair grow long” aesthetic and seems like corporate prog. I guess I wanted to hear something that didn’t sound quite so damned contemporary to be honest and perhaps previous albums from the band were on that note. Though I’ve seen this given a 9 in a rather well-known US magazine, I don’t really think I can agree with that reviewer after re-listening to this album myself. I’ve heard much better prog this year and Into The Maelstrom just isn’t going to cut it. It has the structure of prog, but just seems to be lacking spirit. Clearly they’re trying, but perhaps not hard enough.

Highlights: Mr. Harry McQuhae, High, Edge Of Oblivion (12 Tracks, 62:00)

7/10

2 Responses

  1. AK

    Re: X___X “an experimental rock band that kind of mixes blues, jazz and weird noise combinations in a way that sounds like it came from out of the seventies at times” The album collects recordings made in 1978.

    Reply

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