Monday, July 29, 2013 Review #18 [My Indifference to Silence - "Horizon of my Heaven"]


I feel that it goes without saying that one should take everything that a reviewer (Or writer of any nature) has to say with a grain of salt. We mold our writing around our opinions and the things that appeal to us and stand against the things that make our skin crawl, but without researching for yourself one would easily miss an abundance of great things that one jerk with an opinion didn't seem to enjoy. I'm clearly just making light of myself, but it's good for it to be known. As much as one would assume to be just common sense, there are people out there who would look at something negative and go "Well then that's clearly not worth my time" and not give it a second thought. So with all of that having been said, I'm going to dig into some Doom Metal, for better or worse... 

The first thing that comes to mind when listening to the My Indifference to Silence album i've been given is a loose comparison to the Death Doom group Daylight Dies, who themselves could be considered a more straight-forward and to-the-point (And superior) take on what Opeth does. The production is great and everything is clear and concise and you quickly forget that the effort is actually another one-man project. One of the first musical things to point out is how ridiculous to drumwork (Which might be programmed) can get at certain points, easily switching it up from a mid-tempo drive to ferociously fast Death Metal kick runs. The vocal stylings are your typical (Not in a bad way) Death Doom fodder, where the vocalist relies solely on his growls to add to the onslaught of the music, with not many clean notes to be found (Aside from the occasionalMy Dying Bride-esque spoken sections). The guitar playing, for the most part, contains a strong level of heaviness with the gloomy sense of melody one would expect from this style of music, switching off from mid-tempo chugging to. Occasional use of clean picking is present, but it tends to be mostly used for song intros or interludes. There are keyboards as well, but they tend to be used as more of a background piece to add to the atmospherics for the tracks in question, with the exception being some delay smothered piano intros such as what can be heard at the beginning of 'Falling Stars'.

As with most Russian Doom Metal that I've heard over the last few years, there is a strong level of despair and dread lurking throughout every crevice of this piece. One of the few issues that I have with the album as a whole is that a lot of the songs seem to grow repetitious as you get further and further into the record. Despite there being some minor issues with the repetitiveness, it doesn't make what you're hearing unmemorable, as I can easily see this becoming a regular addition to my doomier listening habits. As I've already made note of, everything here sounds solid in a studio sense and if the project's lone member can gather up some more ghouls, this should definitely be turned into a live group and taken out on the road. Seriously, get yourself a backing band and get out there! There's certainly a level of catchiness here that isn't present in a lot of music of this nature which, for me, is definitely a welcome additional treat to the listening experience. If you're a fan of the bands I've already mentioned or maybe you're just looking for something newer in the Gothic-tinged Death Doom field, I heavily recommend giving these guys a listen. It may not be the freshest sound, but sometimes it doesn't need to be. 


Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Non-Commissioned Review #01 [Coldplay - "Mylo Xyloto"]


Every once in a while I force myself to sit down and listen to something from a group that i'm not a fan of, just to see what comes out in written form. Truth be told, i've been turning my head away from the Coldplay camp ever since I had to hear "Yellow" all those years ago and things have rarely swayed since that point (Although I am a sucker for "Clocks"). Expectedly, the album is a very 'pretty' electronic pop rock affair with minor Radiohead/U2 tendencies in all areas of the musical landscape. As much as I do not want to enjoy the record, there is infact something very welcoming about the sound, almost trying to create a soundscape for the dreamworld in the twilight hours of the day. There is zero aggression in Coldplay's bag of tricks (Unless you count the very few times the group uses distortion with their guitars, heh), which shouldn't surprise anyone, but that doesn't mean that the music is something upbeat and throwaway. Quite the contrary, despite the dreamy aura of some of the music, there's a noticeable layer of despair to most of what is heard, especially in the storytelling done by the group's vocalist. The further into the record you get, the clearer it becomes that every member of the band is quite capable at their respected craft.

This is never something I could listen to on a regular basis (It's just the way my taste goes, i'm afraid), but for what the guys are offering you could definitely do a lot worse in the modern pop rock department... far, far worse. If I have to go really mainstream rock, I would take a band like Madina Lake, but this is surprisingly solid and more interesting than I was expecting it to be. The verses are engaging, the choruses are powerful and the musicianship, as I stated, is good. Even the lead ballad, "Us Against The World", has it's moments, although it's definitely my least favorite of the first 4 tracks on the record. My favorite track on the album probably goes to "Major Minus", with it's insatiable catchiness and actual occasional use of a distorted guitar. I suppose the collaborative efforts of Brian Eno helped a bit, but I don't want to take too much away from the output as a whole. I have way more interest and respect in a group like Coldplay than I do, say... Maroon 5. Putting it up against a lot of the music I regularly listen to in a ranking system just doesn't seem fair, so instead i'm just going to give the album a 6 out of 10 in terms of a pop rock album. It just doesn't seem right to say something like "Yeah, the Coldplay album is alright, but it's no Carcass!" Clearly i've gotten a little soft as I get older, but I guess I just don't care.