Sound — 8
01. "Occurrence" - Lovely way to start the album out I think, really sets the mood. As a total synth geek, I really appreciated the way it sounded, dunno if you used a plugin or a real synth but either way it sounded very natural. I also appreciated the fact that it was just a single note the whole time, the simplicity of it really works here. 02. "Tower" - Beautiful little guitar riff here. I also really dig the background noise and that high pitched noise, to me its like this weird sort of chaos going on behind this very clean and calm guitar part. I dunno, I'm weird like that I suppose. Drums are very nicely mixed as well, they sound very natural to me. Excellent build up too, very powerful! Its easy to drag that sort of thing out for a long time, but I like how it ended pretty quickly afterwards, really left me wanting more in a good way. 03. "Silence Of Apples" - I'll admit, I was a bit apprehensive about his at first, I wasn't too sure about the synth and drums, but as soon as the guitars came in, I think it all went together very well. I really liked the guitar parts in this, very ominous and foreboding sounding, sounds like it could be in a movie or something. Overall, I think the structure of the song is great, the first half seemed to drag on just a tiny bit too long which would've been fine if there was a bit more evolution in what was going on. Honestly though it doesn't matter (to me) because I liked it. The heavy bit was excellent, again, very cinematic and intense sounding, very nicely done. It might have been nice to see a bit more complexity in the drums, but it was pretty darn good with what you had. Very excellent track! 04. "I Wish That My Fingers Were Nails, Because Yours Are Already Crosses" - Another lovely intro to this one, made me feel very calm and at peace. I think you really pulled off the build-up fantastically, it was pretty subtle and I liked the unique percussion pattern you used. The vocals are perfect. Very eerie and off-kilter which I think worked perfectly, gave me chills (in a good way) when they came in after that first buildup. My sense of being at peace was thoroughly stripped away as well haha. Again, you really nailed the second buildup into the heavy part I think, drums sounded amazing, very natural and complex sounding. Normally I would dismiss most songs with these types of vocals (I'm not well versed enough to label them and I don't want to call it the wrong thing), and maybe its because I have a bit more context coming into this album than others I've heard, but this is quite the exception. I really felt the raw energy you were putting out, and I'm no vocal expert, but you sounded pretty darn good to me! The complexity in structure in this song from the heavy bit onwards is really quite impressive, it flows very well and is very well written. Yeah, so overall, very well written, performed and mixed, very impressive! 05. "The Stare" - Sounds like something I could really zone out to, and the vocals sound like they're trying to penetrate my brain and put me into some sort of trance, reminds me very much of the vocals on Sunn's "Orakulum". I liked the fact that you chose not to take the easy path and build up to some sort of epic heavy part, I liked that you kept it pretty soft and easy going the whole time. Overall, I thought it was an awesome, very dark tune, sorta unsettling (again in a good way). 06. "i Won't Be Home For Awhile" - I like the title of this one, it invokes a lot of imagery for me for some reason, although I'm not sure that the song itself fits that imagery, but whatever, that's completely irrelevant. Guitar parts are very nice and well written, and the drums are very good, very complex with good fills. To me, it seems like something is missing from the mix, it just seems a bit shallow and thin, like there should be some extra atmospherical elements going on as well to fill up more of that sonic space (maybe reverb?). But it sounds really good with what you've got as it is! Nice ending to this one as well. 07. "A Towering Inferno In The Middle Of The Ocean" - I'm a total sucker for anything ambient, so naturally I loved the first half of this (and the rest of it of course). I can never help but wonder how the artist goes about creating the soundscapes and ambient noises they do, I'm really quite fascinated by it. The title of this track really let my mind play around with all sorts of imagery as I listened to this track which was certainly quite fun. As repetitive as this is, I never really lost focus because I really just sorta got lost in the beat and glitched-out bit-crushed craziness that was going on around me and then all of a sudden it was over and I was jerked out of this surreal place I just spent the last 10 minutes getting lost in. I love tracks that do that me, so gold star for you! 08. "Phalanx" - Really digging the clean (and dirty) guitar bits in this, very, very well played; quite dreamy yet foreboding sounding, almost tragic. Mix is great, drums sound good, and the guitars are layered nicely, bass could be slightly louder I feel though. Again, lots of imagery invoked here for me, always a plus when a song does that. Love the haunting voice at the very end too. Great track right here. 09. "Not An Eye Was Left Open To Weep For The Dead" - I'm liking the guitar tone on this one, and the drums are pretty killer (are they real?)! The vocals in this aren't my style so its not really fair for me to review them, but I can definitely tell they're done very well and they do fit the song nicely (I think it actually kind sounds like our vocalist when he does a similar style :haha:). I loved the guitar part that starts right around the 5 minute mark, very heavy indeed. Very heavy overall really, but what I think really kills this tune is the lack of bass. I think this could've been huge if there was some more low-end to the mix. Other than that, very well performed and written! 10. "Blessed Be The Fishes" - Right, so once again my tastes in vocals are once again being questioned as BKS pulls off another excellent performance here! The clean/softer vocals are amazing, I think my speakers are leaking raw emotion or something, really feeling it for sure. Excellent guitar melodies in this one, I really enjoy the baseline in particular. I'm really fond of the chorus on this one, lots of raw energy there. The mix is lovely, nothing sounds "fake", vocals are incredibly well mixed and the drums are top-notch. Quite professional indeed. Also another track that let my mind wander a bit, toying with some more title-influenced imagery. 11. "Eastwatch-By-The-Sea" - Really liking the dark, jazzy and hopeless feel I'm getting from the beginning of this one, quite beautiful. Once the guitar faded away, I really felt like "Oh man, sh-t's about to go down I bet", which it sorta did once it got heavy again. I say sorta only because you kept the same slow tempo which I actually prefer than if you had sped up or something with the drums. Guitar parts are very well composed and work great with each other to create an over sense of desperation and sadness, at least that's the impression I get. 12. "The Spaces Between Us" - The energy with which this one started actually caught me a little off guard, and I'm still not entirely sure how I feel about the tempo of it. On one hand, it's kind of a refreshing change of pace (quite literally) on an otherwise pretty slow-tempo album, but on the other, I guess it's just not all that post-rockish. I do think it gets much better though tempo-wise as the song progresses, and the clean guitar bit in the middle is quite lovely. Melodies overall are very nice, I like the clean riff at the beginning a lot, and the heavy tone at about 5 minutes is pretty sick. Very nice mix, but the only bothering me is the snare; it's got an absurd amount of ring to it, nothing a noise gate or compressor couldn't fix. Other than that, very nice tune! 13. "If It's You, I'm Not; If It's Me, It's You Who Isn't" - Very interesting vocals here, I dig the effects on them, I think they work very well in this song. Guitars also sound very nice, sorta psychedelic in a way, I'm really liking the riffs as well. This was another one that I could totally get lost in, the slow drums and the spacey guitars just seemed to take me to another place mentally which is always awesome. Speaking of drums though, I wasn't too crazy about them, not much you can do about software drums though. Wicked tune overall! 14. "The Swings" - The very first thing I thought of a few seconds into this was of "Myst" (anyone else remember the part where you had to turn the valves to get into the clock tower?). Definitely a plus when a song makes me think of "Myst". The ambience in this is gorgeous, and I particularly like that bizarre ascending high-pitched sound, very interesting indeed. I personally would've put the sound of the rusty swing further back into the mix to make it little more subtle, I feel like it was a little too upfront. Very nice track, I like this one a lot. 15. "L'Etude Des Symboles" - Once again, absolutely beautiful ambience going on in this track, I feel like a lot of you guys would've been great on the Drone Album! But anyway, the evolution of the sound from the beginning is really quite heavenly and amazing, another one I can get very easily lost in. The higher pulsating sound is really quite hypnotic. Such a surreal and ethereal sounding track, I'd really like to know a little more about how this was made. Brilliant track, very well done sir. 16. "Black Zale, Orange Swift" - Ahh, a track from the guy who also did my favorite track on the drone album! Which of course means that this one ought to be pretty good too, which it most certainly is. The melody in this is very interesting, I'm not quite certain how to describe the feeling I get from this one, a combination of sad, aimlessness, unknowing, I dunno. Very beautiful however, I love your the way your tracks come out sounding in that they seem to be made on very old vintage gear, doesn't sound at all like your standard plugin based ambient stuff. So yeah, definitely liking this one a lot. Great job! 17. "Running At Night" - A very fitting title indeed I think. Very cool melodies and whatnot going on here, I just think that your choice of synths was a little weak, I really hate to say it, but it sounds kinda cheesy, and it only gets worse when the drums come in. I feel that if you played the exact same things with either real instruments, or more likely just better or different plugins, it could've come out much better because you've really got an interesting piece here I think! 18. "Oban Interlude" - Absolutely gorgeous track here, the guitar is beautiful, the birds in the background are beautiful, you're beautiful. I think the way the drums are mixed in this really make it as well, it's the sort of sound I always envision but usually screw up when recording. Throughout this whole first album, I felt like I had entered some dark and mysterious world, and now with this track, I have finally emerged into some beautiful landscape where who knows what will await me in the next album. Perfect.
Lyrics — 8
The songs that did include lyrics were very well done. I couldn't understand a large portion of them, but I'm sure they were plenty relevant to the album.
Overall Impression — 7
It's awesome to see the amount of talent in this community! I think that there's a lot of creative energy that just pours from this album, whether or not it was executed well. For me, the tracks that really came through were the ones that relied heavily on atmospherics. This was really an incredible album and I'm really looking forward to the next release.