Sound — 6
There are some bands and albums around that you can just "get" straight away, you can just tell that you are listening to something that is awesome in it's power, or embarrasing in it's trudgery, but Norwegian Progressive Metal band, Communic is not one of them bands, and Waves of Visual Decay is not one of those albums. No this, this band is one that confuddle's me at the best of times. This album is absolutely filled to the brim with heavy progressive metal riffs that would make gods weep, lepers dance and nuns headbang. The vocalist sears and croons in a fashion not unlike Nevermore's Warrel Dane, and the expertly phrased leads never fail to bring a tear to the eye. When coupled with great production, if a little weak, this should be the progressive metal album of the century, right? Wrong. This band forgot one vital thing. Songwriting. While listening to this album I cannot help but get the impression that the band just sat in their jam space and went to each other, "right lets make all of the best riffs we can possibly make, and just throw them together." That statement may make you think that the music seems forced or jagged, but that isn't the case either. The problem here is that this band has too many idea's and do not know where to cut a song short. Which leads to meandering at an epic, and ultimately dull scale as the songs never seem to really go anywhere. This is a very real shame because when Communic's formula works, see Watching it all Disappear and Fooled by the Serpent, it absolutely works. But overall this album is let down by songwriters whom simply do not know when to end a song.
Lyrics — 7
Now, while I did completely lambast the songwriting on this album, I do realise it serves some great purpose: to showcase the excellent vocal and lyrical skills of Oddleif Stensland. Say what you will about Stensland's obvious similarity's to Warrel Dane, he takes that style of singing and makes it his own. Whether singing about the futility of religious war, Under a Luminous Sky, or exploring the life of that social outcast living on the street, Frozen Asleep in the Park, Stensland's searing style always brings these stories to life, with a inexplicably visceral delivery. But that being said, Stensland also suffers the same problem in his vocal delivery as with his arrangement skills: he doesn't know when to stop. There are many times within these songs where it would be best for him to simply stop singing and let the music take control. This simple mechanic would go greatly towards creating a sense of dynamic within his music, and make the music all that more powerful.
Overall Impression — 6
As, it is the most obvious reference I can make, I am going to reference Nevermore. Communic, expecially in their vocal delivery, sound a lot like early Nevermore, and like early Nevermore they have amazing bits and pieces that are ultimately let down, by poor and sludgy songwriting. But Communic's songs are even longer than the songs of early Nevermore, and unlike Nevermore, I am not sure if the band is really willing rectify this problem on later releases, only time will tell. As I have mentioned, if you love riffs you will love this album, but don't be surprised if you are forced to stifle a yawn at around the 6 minute mark of a song that should have already ended.