|This album is the second full-length of these Dutch melodic death-doomsters. According to their own words "the songs on this album are more accessible than on the previous efforts, but remained heavy doom as ever." In fact, the album has indeed a big variety in and between the songs. Some songs are really catchy, others focus on heaviness and each song doesn't necessarily keep the same atmosphere along its duration. The last song is a slow one with only piano and clean vocals, putting a calm note at the end of the album.|
As for variety, good things can be said about the mix of clean vocals and excellent grunts, sometimes also screams. Keyboards have an important role in the music, yet sometimes pressing the guitars a little too much to the background. In general it can be said that the album is technically very good and has a very good and clean sound as well. Especially the drumming is very stimulating in parts and really driving the song forward.
The variety in the songs, combined with the catchiness, takes the listener through very different moods and soundscapes. Heavy and rather doomy songs like 'Touched by the Stars II' and 'The Last Time' are in good company of tracks like the heavy and uptempo 'Mistress Guardian' and the calm closing song 'Something Beautiful' and a song like 'Lost as One' that gently refers to the While Heaven Wept style of singing and songwriting.
A few notes of criticism though, which make me consider this album a fairly good one, but not outstanding from the many regular doom-death releases that come out today. The song 'The Portrait', inspired on a short story by E.A. Poe according to the booklet, has a catchy (dare I say poppy?) keyboard theme that is recurring through the entire song and annoys the hell out of me. The grunted "oh yeah" in the middle of the refrain of same said song sounds downright silly, as does the "sigh" at the very end of 'Lost as One'. Maybe I'm taking this all too serious, but these things are certainly estranging me.
This all put aside, the general remark would be that this album is certainly worth the listen, and advisable for those who think keyboard-driven atmospheric doom-death is exactly their cup of tea.
1. The Earth is the Sky
2. See Beyond the Void
3. Touched by the Stars I
4. Touched by the Stars II
5. The Portrait
6. Lost as One
7. The Last Time
8. Mistress Guardian
9. Something Beautiful
Duration : Approx. 45 minutes.
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