I’m assuming you all remember Tim, Face Berlin? if you don’t, I posted their début some posts down from this one. you should definitely get it, because it’s really good. this is their sequel, Youth. because in my opinion, this album is even better. it’s everything the first one was, only better. the climaxes are louder, and the calm parts are calmer. Youth is an accomplishment in terms of dynamics and a titillation of the soul. it hits nerves I didn’t even know I had. this band has grown and matured. while their sound certainly isn’t being redefined on Youth, it definitely is being refined. Tim, Face Berlin’s greatest weakness is still the predictability and their failure to create something unheard of. however, this might just be their *only* weakness. so they are doing pretty much everything right, they’re just in danger of drowning in a sea of all too similar bands. honestly, the only thing preventing this is the sheer quality present in Tim, Face Berlin’s songs. because while they are still not the most original band in the world, they are undeniably highly gifted performers. their compositions do not surprise me in the slightest – but they do touch me and move me in a way few others do. I for one value their soaring emotional intensity and beautiful flowing sensibility much more than I would or could value their creativity and originality if they lacked these qualities. this is an album that everyone should definitely check out and give a chance, if you are into extremely appealing, albeit generic instrumental layered progressive rock.
archive for the ‘progressive/epic’ category
I visited Youth Pictures of Florence Henderson’s Facebook page today, like I do almost every day. their latest post was a recommendation of the Swedish band Tim, Face Berlin. “and the rest is history”. this is the band’s first release, from May 2009. they proudly present themselves as fans of Mogwai and Explosions in the Sky on their MySpace, but they didn’t really have to write that. yes, it’s that obvious. like most bands in the progressive rock genre that omit vocals from their sound, they simply can’t avoid being compared to the two mammoths that are Mogwai and EitS. they borrow quite a bit of their backbone from them. they probably owe their entire existence to them, to be quite honest. but it’s okay. it doesn’t matter. it’s not a negative thing at all. it’s in fact completely irrelevant! because what matters is how Tim, Face Berlin pulls off their sound, not where they got it from. sure, their sound is essentially created by someone else, and they do come off as slightly generic on this, their début release – but that’s not the core of the matter. the core of the matter is how this music reaches out and touches the listener, and how they successfully create a sentimental and simply gorgeous atmosphere. We Could Wait Forever’s biggest flaw is undoubtedly the lack of innovation presented in the compositions, when put in a jar with all of the compositions of Tim, Face Berlin’s peers. there are a lot of bands with this sound that fail to stand out appropriately in the composition department. but Tim, Face Berlin stands out in a totally different, but incredibly more important department. and this is after all their first release – so maybe the innovation and originality will follow on their newer attempts? who knows. I really don’t care as much about it as I know others will. as long as they still manage to convey the huge amount of emotion with their music, as the achievement that is We Could Wait Forever does – I’m okay.
in 2005 the world was exposed to one of the most exciting début albums ever, not to say one of the most exciting albums ever period. Youth Pictures of Florence Henderson hit the ground running, and impressed many people in doing so. the album had one foot in the emo genre with their delightful ’90s emo picked guitars and the occasional screamed vocals drew comparisons to acts such as City of Caterpillar on one hand, but then The Gloria Record on another level. Youth Pictures of Florence Henderson’s other foot stood balanced and firm in the progressive rock genre with their progressive and clever compositions. patient like Godspeed You! Black Emperor and climactic like Sigur Rós. in addition to these foots, Youth Pictures of Florence Henderson naturally had arms. one of which was a bit longer than the other, the dreamy ambient one. the other somewhat shorter arm was just as important though, the electronica arm. together, these four limbs crafted a somewhat introverted and philosophic kid who wore his feelings on the outside of his skin for everyone to see. and now Youth Pictures of Florence Henderson are back. with what is easily one of the most anticipating albums of the year, they face a great challenge in following their majestic début album (which also is up for download here somewhere down the list, by the way). what better way to take on the challenge then, but to produce one of the most ambitious releases of all time? none. released as a 32-paged book that comes with multiple colour variations of the cover and with a written text inside that varies from version to version, as well as many pretty pictures and beautiful colours, and on two CDs – this is definitely something more than just a second album. check out the cover. that picture as well as two more are included in the download. and here is two random pages in the book as well. and two more for good measure. and finally – a picture of the CD. and while they look lovely like that, I cannot stress how much you should definitely invest money in this album if you can afford to, because it’s rather cheap for a 32-paged book – and it’s so definitely worth it. you should probably buy it even if you don’t like the music – because it really is that good. and it feels nice to know they’ve put so much effort into this magnificent packaging. it just goes to prove that this band is interested in offering something different, something consistent and thorough. this will be a long post, demonstrating what a fatal flaw the design choice of one paragraph per post… but there are two discs, so I arrogantly divide this into two paragraphs to make it at least slightly easier to read.
like this… so now – to the music. because that is what truly matters. to me at least. while the book and the pictures inside of it gets me excited in its very inviting presentation, it is essentially worthless to me without the music to back it up. don’t get me wrong, I like pretty pictures – and if you are into that stuff you should as mentioned pick up the book even if you’re not into the music – but my relationship with pictures is mostly «hmm… that’s pretty… hmm… that’s also nice…» – it rarely goes way past that level of enthusiasm. so to me, the book is a compliment to the music – not a necessity. but it adds another level of ambition, and it’s so awesome that they are so dedicated to delivering a product that is flawless in each and every way, that you should really stop reading this and head over to http://www.howisannierecords.com and pick up your very own copy of this. actually I’m willing to bet that if you have heard this band before, you have probably already ordered a copy purely based on the début. if you however are in some kind of doubt – click the download button, and continue to read on. this album is a perfect album. or should I say these albums? because it’s divided up into two albums, “Puzzle” and “The Detective”. actually I’m not even sure I want to call it albums either. yerp. it’s official! we need a new term to do these glorious objects d’art proper justice. anyway – to compare this object d’art to the début is sort of hard, I guess. the reason being simply that both of the releases’ songs are so closely knitted together. the songs on the first release belong there, and putting them on this one would be wrong. and so, even comparing them gets a bit weird to me. but what I can say right of the bat is the obvious lack of electronic elements, the complete lack of programming, which might perhaps lend this album a more organic and timeless quality to it. there are also more vocals evident on this, something that sets them effectively apart from most of the ambient progressive rock bands who tend to be nearly or completely instrumental. Gjermund, the main vocalist, has a very mellow voice that blends in with the soft pieces of the compositions effortlessly and elegantly. and occasionally Torbjørn, the second to main vocalist, gets the opportunity to scream until his lungs give out here, just like he did on the début. these two vocalists are distinctly different from each other, and serve distinctly different yet equally important purposes. what great fortune this band has struck upon with two so gifted though different vocalists! or rather, what great fortune we – the fans – have struck upon, finding this band. this is generally the feeling that rushes through my body whilst listening to this. what great fortune! whenever the guitars twinkle and twinkle into a shining climax that is utterly useless to even try to compare to anything else ever, it’s another reason for me to rejoice. whenever the cello graces the soundscape by taking control, as if it’s running off a cliff, forming wings just before the take-off, it’s another reason to rejoice. the band describes the songs as sorrowful hymns somewhere inside the 32-paged book, but to me this album is joy embodied in the form of music. it’s essentially happiness inside of a book. with seven members, Youth Pictures of Florence Henderson creates a lot of happiness, and a lot of noise. several layers of noise even. some mellow noise, some crisp noise and some harsh noise – all pretty noise. with twinkling minor chords, sparkling major chords and extremely intense drumming not contrasted but complimented by soft and harmonic bass lines and cello – this band creates an angst-ridden playground, in which they bend and break the nerves with every opportunity that are presented for them. claustrophobic build-ups that lead into open and wide but focused and aimed climaxes. this object d’art is what you get if someone dumps every potential human emotion in an ocean of emotionally charged, dynamic and beautiful noise. take the picture now, because it doesn’t get more perfect than this exact moment. download. buy. http://www.howisannierecords.com
if you managed to catch the Castevet upload some posts down from this, you are already familiar with this band and so you have already clicked on the download link without even bothering to consult my write up as to what they sound like. and that’s a good move, because if you liked the original post, you’ll like this as well. all three songs from the demo are on this album – and so are five other magnificent tracks. but for those of you not yet acquainted with Castevet, the reason you should bother with this album is the freshness and intensity it offers. in the previous post I compared them to American Football and The Appleseed Cast’s skill but with Cap’n Jazz and Small Brown Bike’s raw energy, and some little hints of each of the soft, intricate and mesmerising ’90s emo bands. this band essentially sounds like it’s aiming at representing a perfect blend of everything that was good about emo in ’90s. that is a highly ambitious task, though one which they fortunately largely succeed in. lyrically, this band is sparse though clever, singing about inadequacy, apathy and the feeling of everything being in vain. the well beyond dreamy melodies fit these often melancholic lyrics perfectly. downhearted lyrics followed by downbeat build-ups, interludes or conclusions is an ingenious formula. and whenever Castevet seizes the opportunity to break out of this pattern, in favour of blistering melodies and optimistic lyrics about breaking out of the pattern ones life is about to become, all of which characterized by a sugar rush influenced approach to harmonies – it’s even more brilliant. they even sound quite the bit like Age Sixteen at these particular moments – and it’s amazing. this album is amazing. download it! and buy it from http://www.cylsrecords.com – where it to my knowledge is priced at $10, which is well worth it. even the cover of this album is great (it has a deer on it!), so there are as far as I’m concerned no excuses. you need to own this.
if you downloaded the first Quiritatio album I posted somewhere below, you will remember this band as a fusion of gloomy metal, intricate mathcore and screamotive hardcore. this was some of the darkest and most depressing and angry screamo ever heard. only people from the north of Norway can play screamo like this. only someone who go through periods of the year without any light whatsoever can ever make music this authentically unhappy. the only thing that could be compared to this sadness, are the sad, sad news that were to be found on my MySpace some time ago. Quiritatio had broken up! I guess it was somewhat unsurprising due to the vocalist quitting some time ago, but still… it made me downhearted. but thankfully at least one good (great) thing came out of this – their new album is finally available to the public. not as a CD or on a vinyl, unfortunately, but via blogs like this one. so I am proud to present you As The Dead March, Birds Will Fall From Heaven! I’m a huge fan of Quiritatio’s first album, so I was really hoping this didn’t let me down. I had very high hopes for this. so I put it on… and OMG IT’S FUCKING AMAZING WTF THIS IS AMAZING OMG OMG OMG. if this isn’t one of the best and most creative bands in screamo history, I don’t know shit about shit. out of all the technical and atmospheric arpeggio-characterized modern screamo, this is a milestone with no parallel whatsoever. I have goosebumps. I feel like I’m being blown away. like literally. BY A FUCKING EXPLOSION. this album destroys everything that has ever existed ever. download this album. there are no excuses. DOWNLOAD THIS ALBUM.
starting out with well executed gang shouts, passing into a familiar ’90s/’00s style of hardcore in between Tragedy, Unbroken and Modern Life Is War, to take three well known examples. but it quickly enough breaks down to allow some twinkly guitars and soft bits that eventually climax in a loud and precise technical phase with distorted though melodic and twinkling guitars reigning together with complex drumming and emotive screaming that’s sort of reminiscent of I.Witness, though more screamo than crust, but definitely still dark and very much serious. I Create creates (GET IT? omg that was good) captivating dynamics comparable to what some of the instrumental ambient rock bands do. they don’t rely on it though, like, say, 1099 does. but there are however still a focused crescendo-oriented greatness to these songs. they are not humble in any way. they sound really ambitious, to be honest. and they earn the right to be ambitious through their excellent craftsmanship! the astounding dynamics throughout this record are only rivalled by the way the songs ooze of unity and solidarity. these songs sound like they come from the heart, and that’s where music should stem from. so take the time to listen to this album, because I Create have earned the right to it. you are in a constant state of debt to them, until you find the time to give these great songs a chance. I promise it won’t be a waste of time. in fact, they will make time stand still.
I spent four minutes listening to tschsthschsthtscshcshtshchtshctsh before trying to open these files in VideoLan Client where I was greeted with far softer music. not that I don’t enjoy tschsthschsthtscshcshtshchtshctsh. I actually thought it was kind of cool. but four minutes with the exact same pattern was a bit boring, so I was quite disappointed with the opening track of this new record by 1099… that is until I opened it in VideoLan Client and got the proper song. so Amarok users out there, beware! the FLAC copies of this album don’t function too well. at least not for me. (MP3 versions are fine though.) anyway, let’s get back to it. on Any Day Now 1099 plays the same calm and hopeful progressive instrumental rock they did on their previous effort. the record reaches both highs and lows in terms of tension. their previous effort Machine! Fire! Ghost! was relatively popular on the blog back when I posted it, so to you hopeful fans out there anticipating another 1099 record, this is what you’ve been waiting for. this should quench your thirst for epic rock. though this effort might not be anything revolutionary sound-wise for 1099, it needn’t be either. their début was about half an hour long, and this is just over twenty minutes. the reason I am pointing out this is because this band is still early in its release catalog, so expecting them to completely change their sound would be silly. and when you listen to the majestic climax of “Up! Up! Up!”, you quickly realise that it’s a good thing that 1099 still play on the same strings. there are *some* changes though. there’s maybe a little bigger hint of Sigur Rós to be detected in here, compared to M!F!G!, and the heavy parts are noticeably heavier than on the début, something that’s demonstrated extremely well in the climax of “Up! Up! Up!” as well as the opening of “Beauty of the Night”, which later passes onto an Explosions in the Sky-like part. 1099 employ just about everything that the more popular bands in the technical ambient rock scene (Mogwai, Godspeed You! Black Emperor and A Silver Mt. Zion are worth mentioning in addition to Sigur Rós and Explosions in the Sky that’s already named). this is very powerful ambient progressive rock with melodies wider than the entire earth, and unmatchable dynamics. an extremely well executed album by a immensely talented Norwegian rock band that deserves all the attention that their music requires to fully appreciate.
Quiritatio are situated deeply in the Norwegian hardcore scene – which is easy to tell. at least sometimes… because despite the undoubtedly typically depressing Norwegian core Quiritatio manage to stand out by being a thoroughly unique band that add lots of twist to the perfected formula of Orchid-like vocals, flying guitars and technical rhythm section. their misanthropic Cult of Luna-esque gloomy (yet hopeful – in the end) tales (whose influence can be spotted on the newest Dominic album posted beneath this post) are epic journeys throughout many a musical influence, most importantly various metal influences. the metal influence is highly noticeable, to put it kindly. not only in the immediate obvious, such as the low growling guitars as well as some guttural vocals, but also in the long, progressive and highly technical melodic structures. all of this diversity leads to a comparison to The Spectacle being somewhat necessary. but it doesn’t really matter matter who Quiritatio gets compared to. all you need to know is that they are great and you need to listen to them.