Sunday, 7 February 2010

Windbruch - Collision Of The Worlds (2009) 62/100.

To embrace adventure is to become daring and with the increase in popularity of a genre, or sub-genre, this forces musicians who wish to break the mould to become more daring in what they attempt to do and, unfortunately, this doesn’t always pay off. It isn’t unheard of for bands to take a few attempts at creating the “perfect” full-length after a string un uninspired releases. On the basis of this debut record, entitled ‘Collisions of the Worlds’, this is precisely what it might take for Windbruch, a Russian one-man depressive black metal band, to become a force and to have an admired impact on the rest of the scene. For me, though I do admire the attempt at doing something different from the standard, this debut is far too disjointed for me to allow it an admission onto the list of definitive records within this sub-genre. Considering the competition, Windbruch’s main man, named I.O., will need to take a few steps to stop the potential rot that might set in where these disjointed elements play too forceful a part in the records make-up.

I.O. is a resourceful character, relying on an unpolished skill of being an adventurer when it comes to gracefully switching between sub-genres in black metal. From an atmospheric standpoint, to one of a traditionally bleak depressive viewpoint, I.O. likes to vary the direction of which his sound is headed in and with this comes a dangerous sense of tempting fate. By adhering to one or more sub-genres like this, I.O. is pushing himself and the limits to which he can stretch the influences behind this band. The record, for example, uses far too many clichéd samples of falling rain in order to impact upon the atmosphere and enhance it. I feel if he had kept to focusing on the instrumentation and not on the samples, this record would have progressed on towards a far brighter conclusion, rather than leaving me sitting on the fence. After the pointless introductory song, this argument is felt in full force when ‘Day II (Inhale - Exhale) comes about.

There seems to be some sort of concept behind the record, though this is never explained. Given the nature of the song titles which, bar the final song (which is a cover of a Akira Yamaoka song), there seems to be a familiar pattern occurring and I.O. is apparently allowing us to se his vision of life. Again, given the nature of the song titles when translated into English (as they’re originally in his native language - Russian), it would appear that I.O. is expressing the motions during the breakdown of a social relationship with a member of the opposite sex, though I could be wrong. It’s not unlike depressive black metal bands to have lyrical themes which describe the exhausting, tumultuous nature of a breakdown in communications with a partner. A number of bands have chosen to write about their feelings regarding the departure of a loved one and, unfortunately, this type of lyrical theme isn’t looked down upon too kindly by the public eye. In fact, artists are often ridiculed for being far too publicly emotional.

Of course, this is an assumption on my part, but there definitely seems to be a theme within the lyrics, whatever they may be, going by the song titles. The music itself is hardly any different to what one would normally expect to hear on a venture like this, though I.O. has an annoying habit of focusing far too much on those bloody samples! As I said earlier, take the second song as an example of this. He builds momentum with an achingly beautiful guitar lead after an overused sample brings introduces us into his world, but after a few minutes of successful riffs and generating a moody atmosphere with which we can revel in, he stamps on the atmosphere, causing it to flatten out with the use of silly samples. Using them far too often just isn’t practical. It ruins the mood and can set a song back a few minutes if they take over the entire song, which is the case in relation to songs like ‘Day II (Inhale - Exhale)’. Despite this of course, I.O. does have the strength to reign supreme within this sub-genre because he has a knack for writing superb song structures with expressive juxtaposed ideas like bleak rasping vocals that depict despair and pain, and a soothing bass section which sounds all mighty over the clean production style.

A lot of the record seems to be far too experimental, which is an odd feeling considering the repetitious center and familiar feeling I get from the music, having heard this clean approach being done before. I.O. seems to enjoy his instrumental songs, of which a few are introduced into the fray. Emotionally, for me, they have little impact. It detracts from the “true” songs of the record whereby I.O. performs his piercing vocal work and distortion driven work. Even more confusing than this is the fact that a few new influences are felt in the final few songs, whereby I.O. tends to move towards the new popular way of expressing oneself - post-rock/shoegaze inspired black metal, where the roots take a less punishing way of chipping at the listeners heart strings. The experimentation, as you might be able to tell, takes place in far too odd a fashion for it to feel warranted, or needed within the grand scheme of things. Those last two songs, in particular, have no real place on the record, given what has come before it. They stand out like a sore thumb and in doing so, again undo a lot of the good work that happens before it. A very uneven debut, but does show signs of potential.

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