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Ovtrenoir – Eroded

a0232342110_5Ovtrenoir’s “Eroded” is the first album from a newly formed band, but it sounds like the best release of a veteran post-metal outfit. There aren’t that many albums approaching my favorite post-metal disc ever (being Mass III) but this one is coming close. It’s entertaining from beginning to end, with that typical massive sound, projecting the guitars raw and clearly at the same time.
The songwriting abilities are top-notch: the songs themselves are perfectly constructed. No extreme change of gears, but natural flows of different rhythms and melodies make every song a real pleasure to give your attention to. The alternations from hard riffs to open passages to melodic structures couldn’t have been placed better.
Also at the tactical level (the riffs) Ovtrenoir achieves a immaculate dialogue between all participants. There frequently is a sense of continuity and of heavy accents simultaneously. “Eroded” has a great sound, great songs, and no apparent flaws in its design nor execution. Truly a fresh touch.
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Innerwoud – Mirre

innerwoud-mirreInnerwoud is, such as many drone/ambient projects, a one-man effort. This time, our protagonist isn’t using an electric guitar but a double bass. Of course, it’s a string instrument and with some electronics you can probably make them sound alike. The neat thing is that Innerwoud’s melodic lines on ‘Dar’ do sound quite unprocessed, and the warm (vibrato) sound of such an acoustic instrument is a true moodsetter.
Two guest musicians are also mentioned (for percussion and vocals respectively), both whom produce sounds as ethereal as the double bass. Just like the first track, ‘Mirre’ proves rather minimalistic but to its advantage: you can easily imagine any dramatic medieval Hollywood scene being underscored by this track.
The final two tracks descend into a darker region, as melody and emotional aspects make way for a more sinister undertone. While fine soundscaping by themselves, it’s unfortunate that the first tracks were so immensely gripping: the contrast is somewhat disappointing.
Still, Innerwoud has shown its worth with this debut album – I would buy if for the first two tracks alone. And let’s hope the follow-up has more where that came from.
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The Fifth Alliance – Death Poems

0006081471_10The Fifth Alliance’s sophomore album has a rather short playtime, but it’s packed with awesomeness to make up for it. Four lengthy tracks offer us solid post-metal with some sludgy influences mixed in.
A few times, I was reminded of Amenra (which is a positive reference for sure). However, on the whole, The Fifth Alliance draws you in with their own way of doing things. Particularly refreshing are the female vocals. They’re powerful, piercing screams – a perfect match and necessity for this genre – but there’s some intrinsic frailty hidden in them too, which makes them even more ear-candy.
Musically, the band offers an equally interesting array of melody and riffing. Steady, droning beats and hypnotizing chord progressions are the spine of the compositions. Plus, these guys are quite good at guitar dialogues and layered melodies. Granted, their recipe isn’t new by any means, but applied and executed so neatly that it’s really a pleasure to listen to. The perfect choice when your Mass III disc needs a break.
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Terzij De Horde – Self

slefTerzij De Horde is a Dutch black metal band, and they’re getting their first full-length release on CD, tape and vinyl (each by a different label). The cover alone (depicting ants zombified by parasitic fungi) tells you that this is something different than the default misanthropic blastfest. Indeed this album explores the philosophy concerning the self in relation to the world.
Musically, the band express this topic in a modern and measured approach. While the tempo varies from slow and melancholy to fast and intense, the guitars are turning the album into what it is (the mix also accents them the most). They really got the hang of weaving a tension within each riff, dissonant or not. The focus is on melody and an always questioning attitude, not aggressiveness. Even in the most furious parts (such as the beginning of Contre Le Monde) the tremolo and blast beats convey not a raging emotion but a calculated path aiming for a certain sound. The unfortunate bit is that within their own awesome style, the band do not stray from the chosen path – a change of vocal style would’ve been welcomed, for one.
Terzij De Horde’s effort is certainly worthwile discovering, and might seriously challenge you when doing so. The lyrics might be interesting, but the CD edition they’re not included. Personally, I still prefer ball-gripping, naturally powerful black metal (such as my favorite Dutch band Cirith Gorgor’s older albums). Self is hard and abstract album but probably very rewarding if you can put it on repeat.
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CHVE – RASA

CHVECHVE is the acronym of the one man behind this album; a man that is musically best known as Amenra’s vocalist. But besides that and a few other projects, he has recorded RASA as a solo effort. It is a transient journey to the emotional layers of your consciousness, or even beyond – if you allow yourself to be taken there. Colin remains very minimalistic, in the sense that only vocals, a hurdy gurdy, and some percussion are used.
Due to the rich production, the hurdy gurdy and vocals are transformed into a continuous soundscape that works extremely hypnotizing. The bodhran beats joining in halfway really convey the feeling of a one way trip into the spiritual unknown. The only oddity (as I perceive it) is the use of an actual drum kit later on, which shatters the dreaminess of RASA and somewhat forces the mind back into focus due to the harsher, familiar sounds.
Still, that’s all a personal opinion and regardless of that, CHVE’s solo explorations were definitely worth the attempt. Nice (and intriguingly packaged CD) release.
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Noveller & thisquietarmy – Reveries

NovellerConsouling’s print run of Reveries is in fact a re-release after it sold out in 2014, with two bonus tracks thrown in for good measure. Two well-known soundscape artists have joined forces on this album, and their progeny is one of ethereal beauty.
The duo’s combined guitar effects are extremely delicate: the music has a fleeting quality to it, almost untouchable and soothing in its repetitiveness. Sometimes, another layer, with the slightest touch of power and will in it, provides some tension and brings some contrast to the eversweet strings. Yet overall, the songs are peaceful and their creators intertwined in harmony. The bonus tracks, especially the last one, are different in style (we actually hear guitar chords strummed!) but therefore a most interesting addition.
Reveries feels very basic – there’s little experimental or dissonant stuff going on – but does what it does perfectly.
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