Monday, August 21, 2006

The Lion, The Witch And The Hethenesse.

I'd like to start this entry off with a rant. While doing some research and photo browsing I came across a review of this album. I say review, but really it was just some guy bitchin' about bands being creative and original. The reviewer (and I use the term loosely) Droneriot who contributes to Encyclopaedia Metallum (great site mind you) complained about bands mixing genres. Last I checked, that's how all music is created. We wouldn't have heavy metal if it weren't for heavier blues riffing. What's blistering solos but classical melodies. What's progressive metal but jazz and jam rock. Now I don't know what bands Droneriot is into, but I guarantee they are utilizing various musical influences not normally associated with metal. But if he wants to listen to Metallica clones and nothing else, then he is missing out on some damn good music. The other comment Drone made was in response to a critique. Someone had stated that reviews should only be made by people who like the band. And I do agree with Droneriot that that is not the purpose of reviews, I do feel the reviewer should be open-minded and at least like the genre. Drone should not be reviewing anything but standard unoriginal heavy metal. That's why you won't see me reviewing any hip hop or reggea or R&B. I don't like it and therefore cannot be openminded about it. I'm too biased. That's why my Wife isn't reviewing my CD's cause she does care for them. So Droneriot, if you by chance are reading this, you're not cut out for reviewing if you can't accept creativity and originality in music. There enough said.

Now on to Furthest Shore's "Chronicles Of Hethenesse Book 1: The Shadow Descends" (I'll just call it Chronicles from here on in). Furthest Shore is made up of various members of extreme metal bands (Darkwoods My Betrothed, Nattvind, and a little Nightwish) who have come together in tribute to the stylings of Quorthorn of Bathory fame. "Chronicles..." is gothic power metal with touches of doom and folk.

The album begins with an instrumental piece much like Rivendell (same label)majestic and orchestral with a folky feel. Then the pace is set by "Land Of The Free And Proud" which is a somber piece that is doom like with nice piano bits. The rest of the album essentially keeps this pace which is mid level power metal. Not a lot of variation in speed, but also not really necessary. The biggest critique I've read is that it is not epic enough, which is true, but these songs feel more accessible, radio friendly. The music is very atmospheric and almost hypnotic thanks to Emperor Nattasett's vocals which are a gothic-like baritone. They are like an instrument of themselves blended in with the whole composition. The Keyboards by Nightwish's Tuomas Holopainen are simple and effective especially on "Land Of The Free ...", "The Seven Arrive" and "The Blade".

R.Puukko's fine guitar work is exceptional here. Simplistic sounding riff work, with catchy hooks and blazing solos which want to feel out of place, but never do. There's a strong rock'n'roll sense present and can be seen on songs "Tower Of God", "Until The Bitter End" and most notably "The Prophecy" which lends itself to some Pink Floydianism's in the solo work. There is some fine acoustic guitar work here too as seen on "Guardian Of The Blade" and "The Prophecy" intro.

The stand out tracks here are "Tower Of God" and "The Blade". I can't decide which I like better. "Tower Of God" is dark and melodic with a catchy chorus as well as nice acoustic/electric guitar work. "The Blade" is dark also, but the keyboards bring a very eerie sound which is great as well as a haunting bridge. Both are superb, I can't choose.

"Chronicles Of Hethenesse Book 1: The Shadow Descends" is a concept album about a fantasy world and is atmospheric and epic as a whole. If all else, this is a fine start to a potential series ... Book 2,3,4 .... I guess we'll see.


Blogger anonymous jones said...

Have you ever done a review of heavy metal bands in the Eurovision Song Contest? They are the best! Did you see those Klingon-type guys from this year? Europeans are so weird.

9:05 PM  
Blogger José Carlos Santos said...

lordi isn't metal. /rant

and dpth - another cool band i didn't know, thanks! :)

1:56 AM  
Blogger DPTH International said...

Upon reviewing said Klingon type Eurovision band Lordi, I have to agree with Jose that they are not metal, but funny as hell. I do not own any of their music and therefore will not be reviewing. But thanx for mentioning them Anonymous Jones,cause I had a blast watching their videos!


10:34 PM  
Anonymous Rhodeislandrock said...

1. Good review. I'm interested in some song samples, I'll have to check them out.

2. I haven't given into the Lordi hype. Are they similar to Gwar. the concept seems to be but I've never heard the music.

12:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just found this while randomly googl'ing my nickname (yes, I'm that vain), just want to add a little comment.
Either you simply haven't understood my review, or - more likely - you barely read but just glanced at it. I wasn't complaining about bands mixing styles, but about bands mixing *incompatible* styles. There is quite a difference. To use an analogy from the far off realm of cooking: The former would be mixing dough with a topping of tomatoes, cheese and pepperoni, which makes a nice yummy pizza, the latter would be mixing coca-cola with vinegar, chicken broth and chocolate milk, which makes a not-so-yummy incentive to stick the face in the toilet and inverse the process of eating in quite a discomforting manner. And pardon me if I'm not too open-minded towards doing just that.

3:10 AM  

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