What was sold by the press kit:
– A massively ambitious musical endeavour: the first release was inspired by jazz, metal, and modern composers, “illustrating the myth of Orpheus”.
– The name-dropping of several giants within the avantgarde metal genre and beyond.
– An invented language.
– This release is called a “journey across a wide range of acoustic environments, preliminary results of the experiment in progress”, performed by a 10-piece line-up, in addition to the standard metal line-up including 4 vocalists (three harsh, one soprano), violin, cello and clarinet.
I think most readers here should be more than a little stoked to hear what would come out of this ambitious project.
What was purchased in the shape of “Introspection”:
– More or less traditional symphonic Gothic Black Metal, with eclectic tastes and influences – you have some jazz, some electronic musics, some folk music, a lot of cinematic drama, and some circus/Vaudeville themes.
– Traditional (but good! but traditional…) “Beauty & the Beast” vocals. The harsh vocalists are good, but were really three of them needed? The soprano Perrine G., appears the main vocalist, and does a great job at it. But when will we hear the first operatic male singer / female growler line-up?
– A horrible sound. I don’t know what happened, but it seems they forgot to mix the album. Vocals and synthesizers are perfectly audible, but the tinny distorted guitars are completely lack of strength and attitude. Together with the drums – that could easily have been programmed, but obviously aren’t – you get the impression that somewhere near, something is stuck a vacuum cleaner. Was the mastering technician instructed to remove all bass frequencies? Was it mixed in laptop speakers? I don’t know who let this pass, but if someone in the band is guilty, he or she should be kicked out.
When getting over the abysmal tin-can production, what is revealed beneath it is a quite interesting, playful set of songs. Heavy on the burlesque synthesizers, it has elements driving the listener both towards late Arcturus / mid-era Dimmu Borgir and onwards to more Goth-symphonic Germans – you know, the pompous people with top hats and lace, dreaming of forlorn castles. Very dramatic, very aesthetic. Quite cheesy, but in all honestly – I appreciate it.
However, and this is important – I hear nothing experimental or wildly inventive or imaginative here (except perhaps for the last few minutes of the album, where the synthesizers really get steaming). What art music influences are here has more to do with invoking atmospheres and visuals in the same way cinematic music does. Some playful electronic segments. All good, all good, often beautiful, often suggestive, but not far out of the ordinary. And, most unfortunate, hampered by a completely flaccid production. Remix and re-release.
Avantgenre: Progressive Symphonic Gothic Black Metal
Duration: 51 Minutes
Official site: http://thibaultschwartz.com/abstrusa-unde/
Review online since: 31.01.2013 / 16:33:40