Back in 2005 life was absent within avantgarde metal. DHG and KorovaKill missing in action, Arcturus and Solefald were turning repetitious and dull, and Carl-Michael was in a coma. Along to save the day came the recently formed super-group Age of Silence (I despise that term, but with members from Solefald/Borknagar, Tulus, Winds and Arcturus, you have to live with it), releasing their debut Acceleration to resurrect the defiance of the Norwegian Avantgarde. I hoped. Did they live up to these unrealistic expectations? Well, no. Not really. Not at all, actually. At first, I was rather disappointed and disillusioned (this is important stuff to me, you know), but soon I came to realise what this album and band was really about: a nice little one-off (two-off, they later released the EP Complications – Trilogy of Intricacy) thematic sideproject, to let off some creative steam.
Seven of these ten tracks are crafted by keyboard equilibrist Andy Winter, whom we know from Winds. As always when he is around, the keys are in focus. Many classical influences abound; Griegesque romanticism, modernistic dissonance and more traditional symphonics crowded with some thrown in proggy solos, circus tunes, and fancy brass & reed-sections. All on a fat carpet of mid-paced, rocky metal; surprisingly groovy, definitely to work in a live setting. I particularly enjoy the sweet hints of folk music in the riffs, which feel quite rare when the lyrics concern such modern topics. However, this is as close to a formulaic AGM release you can get, without completely watering out the sound and approach of the great not-so-dissonant Norwegians we love (i.e., the bands mentioned above). But it’s OK if they just do it once. Like this.
The lyrics are written and sung by Lazare (except the neofolky track 8). Well-written and lengthy pieces about a civilisation where materialism, bureaucracy, and the quest for little green bills have overrun emotions, humanity and generally positive stuff. There is always another floor to reach on our rush up the structures of concrete and glass. In the middle there is an invisible company, D. Inc, a sinister entity whom we owe nothing less than our lives (it’s not yours! you lease it!). It’s labyrinthine, inhuman and unreachable management owes much to Franz Kafka’s urban nightmares (read “The Castle”). All hope is lost, as even the resistance movement sells out (kids in a cathedral, dancing to the DJ Nick-A; an analogy to the extreme metal movement, led by Old Nick, the Devil Himself?). A simple and used theme, but very striking, at times touching deep. Lazare’s vocal capabilities are not used efficiently at all, keeping the melodies disappointingly simple and repetitive, but that actually suites the narrative nature of the lyrics.
Acceleration is not the revolution I was, and still am, waiting for, but all in all a nice little piece of metal and plastic. By the way, did I mention that Hellhammer plays here? Well, he does.
Release: September 14th, 2004
Label: The End Records
Avantgenre: Bureaucratic Kafka Metal
Official site: http://www.ageofsilence.com
Review online since: 27.07.2007 / 16:11:48
01. Auditorium Of Modern Movements