A couple of days back I got the promo for Thanatoshizo’s new album along with all their older works. It is a wealth of intriguing music, and for a short while I contemplated as to which one to review first, since all of it is progressive experimental and atmospheric metal of the highest order. I decided on their second release since this is where their desire to really spread their ambitious wings became manifest, not to say that the debut Schizolevel is a lesser album in anyway, but it is a relatively more traditional enterprise, and readers of www.avantgarde-metal.com would be advised to start their exploration from InsomniousNightLift.
This starts with a beautiful intro that would not be out of place on a lush 70’s progressive rock album, what with the textured layered arpeggios. This leads into the meat of the opening song Reminder, which is a surprisingly rocking affair, yet with original structural ideas, and a thick atmosphere. It was obvious that this was going to be an entertaining release.
There are 3 things that stand out in the release : the progressive rock influence (no surprise given the rich history of prog-rock in Portugal), the grooving yet innovative heavy sections, and the variety of vocals (male gothic clean, awesome female clean, mid ranged death metal growls and rasps).
Though the album is not one continuous interconnected piece, it may appear so since the start of each successive track seems like a logical successor to the ending of the previous one. All the tracks are excellent and contain enough catchy parts and unique structuring to stand out individually as well as work together in what is a near concept album. I would like to mention “A Promenade Portrait” for the irresistibly dark mood, as well as “Sublime Loss” with the personal yet esoteric monologue that starts the song.
A number of songs have choruses, but they appear amidst such profound atmosphere and intriguing movements that its more like a lighthouse near a turbulent sea and less like a commercial hook. The psychedelic spirit and well as hues of 70’s prog rock repeatedly make appearances (especially in the vbast sonic spectrum of the guitars)and sound very natural. In fact I found them to flow better and make more sense in the songs’ context as compared to luminaries like Opeth (where the light/dark contrast often seem forced and contrived).
The album is loosely based on the personal experiences of the two lead vocalists and has a concept relating to a sleeping disorder (hence the title). The packaging reflects the mood aptly, with the personal and honest liner notes enhancing the lyrics and the artwork immensely.
All in all this is a killer piece of work, and I look forward to seeing how they progressed from here. This is gothic/ doom paradox, a band that sounds heavy, atmospheric and progressive without resorting to clichés (morbid wallowing or plodding pace), in fact closer to the classic doom than the present pretenders (and evoking the spirit of what made xtreme metal so exciting in the early 90’s).
2. Of Lunar Water…
3. A Promenade Portrait
4. Sublime Loss
5. Upshot Veil
6. The Journey’s Shiver
7. Insomnious Night Lift
8. Dance Of The Tender Leaves
9. Slow-Chamber Candles’ Choir
10. Nightly Lift?