Wednesday, 24 March 2010

Vindensång - Terminus: Rebirth in Eight Parts… (2008) 58/100.

I’m fairly undecided when it comes to how I feel about genres such as darkwave, or neofolk being drawn into the metal spectrum. It seems to be a largely mixed bag and, as with most genres and sub-genres of any type of music, including metal, there are good and bad apples, though they mostly tend to be bad when they stray far away from the tree that gave them life to begin with. When incorporating such extreme experimental aspects into the metal genre, musicians mustn’t be complacent. They need to be careful to avoid the perils of experimenting as there is definitely a fine line between good and evil when it comes to the upper most avant-gardé bands, which is certainly what this two man duo called Vindensång are. It’s very easy for any band who incorporates high levels of ambiance into their music to come across as dull, lifeless and stale, so musicians must be wary of stamping these problems out at the earliest sign of weakness. Song writing becomes a huge factor and whilst I normally do consider it important, there are tonnes of hypnotic and repetitive acts who maintain high levels of intrigue in this listener through just a few mediums such as tremolo picking and unrelenting blasts of the drums.

Slow, monotonous ambient acts however have a much harder time at stifling their audience with an emotionally stirring and stellar performance. Whilst it is easy to reward musicians who’re adventurous when they’re successful, it is hard to offer any such rewards to those who come across as obnoxious, or pretentious. Whilst I see no problem with introducing listeners to a multi-faceted form of music, which is certainly what Vindensång perform, I do have a major gripe with bands who perform needlessly long ambient tracks with no emotional value just for the sake of being pretentiously avant-gardé, or unique. I have a lot of bad experiences under my belt when it comes to so-called metal bands who like to fuse outside factors into their music in order to shake up the traditional environment we’ve all supposedly gotten too used to. Whilst being adventurous is something I endorse, I find it impossible to positively critique bands who aim to use unattractive methods of doing so.

In the case of Vindensång, sadly, they leave the best until last with the second half of the record churning out the best aspects and a more metallic sound on songs like ‘Fading Light’ -- particularly on percussion and the Isis-esque aquatic sounding riffs which contain more atmosphere to them than 90% of the other songs -- but it is too little, too late as far as I’m concerned. Unfortunately, for the most part, Vindensång do this. According to the biography of the band, this one time one man act, who later evolved into a two man act with the inclusion of D. Hussar as a permanent member and not just the occasional session member, aim to meld genres such as ambient, darkwave, drone, neofolk and even black metal into their debut full-length, entitled ‘Terminus: Rebirth in Eight Parts…’. At first, I considered the introductory prologue to this unusual piece a bright opening, but the light of positivity soon grew dim as the record moved closer and closer to a stale ambient direction, rather than the ambient black and folk metal record I had predicted.

I ask myself would my opinion of this record be more positive if I hadn’t have expected what I did, but I feel certain that I wouldn’t be any less disappointed with the result. As the songs are, they fail to muster up any emotional attachment with me and spiral towards the depths of the abyss where bands like Procer Veneficus dwell in darkness and shame. However, unlike the aforementioned one man act, this duo do have some talent and are far better at the metallic sound than Procer Veneficus, as shown well on ‘The Origin: The Point of Return’ with the sharper drumming style and more involved electric guitar, although the multi-layered approach allows a distant, shimmering riff to repetitiously evolve in the background. Although songs like ‘Ashes And Memories’ can be passed off as “pleasant” ambient folk songs with likeable clean vocals and smooth sounding acoustics amidst the feeling of being surrounded by glorious nature and a camp fire under the starry night sky (a feeling seemingly agreed with by the artwork), there isn’t much depth to the adventurous style that the duo have opted to undertake.

Unfortunately, all of the opening four songs sound more like filler tracks than they do proper songs. However, given the length of two of those opening four songs, tedium grows as the experimentation dwindles down to slow paced acoustics, whimsical chimes and an atmosphere devoid of notable life. Listening to this record reminds me of admiring the night sky. Yes, it’s very pretty for all of a few minutes, but after that you’re more than prepared to go back inside, snuggle up in front of the television and forget that nature exists outside the front door. Like nature, the record blows hot and cold. To me, it is fairly obvious that the two musicians have a sense of vision to their work. It is extraordinarily different to most other bands I’ve heard, occasionally sounding similar to bands like Ossein, but the direction is incomplete and lacking in spark in comparison, though the brief inclusion of harsher vocals, though they need considerable work, and the inclusion of a beautiful, but once again sparse piano are elements which I can warm to.

Songs like ‘Ashes And Memories’ and ‘Dusk: Into the Glow of Nightfall’, another song which also features a distant distorted guitar with little impact and which is barely audible amongst the fore-fronted acoustics and clean, melodious vocals, are pleasant enough as filler tracks, though the latter is of considerable length and the only song of such a length to be worth a damn given the beauty of the repetition but the other lengthy songs should transform into monstrous epics where the metal influences come to life, but those epics are never delivered at full pelt. Instead, the listener is tortured by more lengthy ambient songs which minimal direction and little point. In fact, although I could see myself enjoy songs like ‘Dusk: Into the Glow of Nightfall’ due to its subtle beauty through the painful guitars and vocals, the content within most of the other songs sets this one up for a fall as it appears out of place.

If I were to sum up this record, I’d say songs like the aforementioned are like a lesser version of those that feature of Ossein’s brilliant ambient black metal record, ‘Declination’ and the rest are mediocre darkwave/ambient neofolk fillers with few redeeming qualities. A fresh experience, but not exactly one I’d want to relive any time soon. With more work at incorporating a more metallic sound, alongside improving the song writing to reduce the ambiance and increase the worthiness of the songs, then this duo could turn into something special. Their sound definitely requires refining, but elements like the inclusion of the electric guitar over the frequent acoustics, the brief introduction of a piano and vocals will definitely make their sound less dull to listen to in future if they decided to up the inclusion of these parts and trim down the slow moving, emotionless ambiance that fills up most of the quota within songs.

No comments:

Post a Comment