Dapper Dan Man…

October 16, 2008

Woven Hand – Ten Stones

Here is a theory that may be disregarded but that seems more plausible the more time is spent thinking about it; Truly good artists, musicians and bands can be recognised by how many people and other artists, from completely opposite spheres of music are their firmest admirer. Truly good artists span genres and can gain followings from the most unexpected of places. This theory came from the following facts: David Eugene Edwards plays dark but mellow rock with distinct folk and classic American overtones and gothic tendencies, is a deeply devout Christian which comes through in his lyrics, among many other places. Yet I have heard of so many rockers and metal lovers, read a few record collector pieces in extreme metal magazines, where his bands have been mentioned, with the fondest of love, by black and death metal musicians with a south-of-heaven type of approach to religion.

This can make you believe that Wovenhand are something special before you have even heard the music. Luckily, upon hearing any of the albums you will find the music very captivating. Edward’s voice also adds emotion. It is, at the same time husky but trembling which makes the music sound even more dark and poignant.

“The beautiful axe” starts of very slow burning before going into more heavy rock territory with pounding drums and an a chorus that even verges on the anthemic. It is a more straight forward rock song and it isn’t until the second track, “Horsetail” that Wovenhand’s folk and traditional influences make themselves known. The stark and bleak lyrical imagery is, on the other hand, present throughout.

Ten Stones is an affecting listen. Listen with the utmost concentration you will almost see a film playing from inside your eyelids. It’s a film where a man sits alone in a dark room, an empty gaze vivid on his face, as he tries to figure out how his life went so horribly wrong. This image is at its strongest point during the heart-rending “Cohawkin Road” and “Iron feather”.

It isn’t an intention to make this sound like a thoroughly depressing experience because it isn’t and Ten Stones certainly does not lack variation. The heavy stomp and rhythm of “White Knuckle Grip” will get pulses raised and suggests that, along with the lounge-like bossanova of “Quiet Night of Quiet Stars” there is a lightness and sense of fun in this band.

No matter what style is purveyed on Ten Stones one thing is always certain; the power of the songs. This is a truly great album. There are only a few months left of the year, before that annual list of the best albums is compiled but here is one recording that will at least make it to the top five.

This was published yesterday on Blogcritics. The album is absolutely amazing, as is probably quite obvious from the review. Check it out on the site and by all means read the comment below. The guy mentions that just because you play extreme metal then it doesn’t mean that you can’t be influenced by artists from vastly different genres, which of course was my point as well. Maybe it isn’t clear enough in the actual review but I suppose that it’s such a normal point of view that it doesn’t need to be mentioned. Hell, I’m in all ways mostly a fan of extreme metal and hardcore yet I find the utmost satisfaction in calm and mellow music and some of my favourite artists play music that is as far away from black/ death metal as you can get.

My point was that many openly satanic musicians are very candidly expressing their admiration for David Eugene Edwards and his bands and he is deeply religious. This may not be so strange to everyone (I find the cultural spanning highly encouraging) but most of the black metal musicians are not exactly known to have an open mind about these things. In hindsight maybe I expressed my self clumsily in the review and it doesn’t come across very clear but it’ll have to be this way for now.

Still and mesmerizing record, mind you.

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September 30, 2008

Album review – Lizzy Borden: An appointment with death

Filed under: Uncategorized — gazzabazza @ 2:26 PM
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Lizzy Borden are only one of very many grizzly old metal bands that have either picked up the sticks again and decided to have one last shot at glory or that have ultimately experienced a revival of sorts and made their sound more in sync with the modern times.

This new attention to their music and the other musicians’ new found energy can have many underlying factors, but one of the biggest ones is definitely the fame of new young pups – Trivium are a good example – paying tribute to their childhood heroes by name dropping, re-using their riffs, and wearing t-shirts that would get you kicked in the head in the eighties.

Thrash metal is revived because of this and many old “heroes” are even touring as support bands to kids that used to stare at posters of these guys plastered all over their bedroom walls. What this says about kids and trend-following these days is a different debate altogether but it is clear that Lizzy Borden have gained from this interest. And this is in no way meant to belittle their career and their old output, but merely an observation on music today.

They sound better for it. Plenty of younger musicians, such as Corey Beaulieu from the afore mentioned Trivium and former Morbid Angel guitarist Erik Rutan, are guests on An Appointment With Death and that adds to the cutting edge. Rutan has also undertaken production duties here and his work sounds crisp and clear, and provides Lizzy Borden’s music with a more modern sound.

It is just a shame that these guys play power metal, or at least traditional heavy metal with strong power metal tendencies – kudos for throwing in some chugging thrash riffs though – in the vein of Helloween and other such metal bands veering slightly on the cheesy side.

The singing is what ruins it, for there is nothing inherently wrong with the actual music. Metal should not sound chirpy and have all too obvious sing-along qualities. Piercing screams like the one halfway through opener “Abnormal” are really enervating. It sound happy and if you were singing this to karaoke then you would be throwing ironic shapes and pulling silly faces. Try doing that to a Slayer tune.

But enough with the negative aspects. I’ll openly admit that this style of metal really is not my jug of mead, but I am not that single-minded that I can’t recognize its qualities.
The riffs are chopping and Lizzy Borden definitely know the art of shredding. The short breakdowns, like the brooding “Bloody Tears” demonstrates, add rhythm and show some versatility. There is also pace to these compositions and a good solid drive, thus keeping your pulse up for the record’s duration. As before mentioned, there are distinct thrash elements as well, particularly in “Abnormal” and to these ears at least, these are the most enjoyable parts of the album.

Borden have managed to inject new interest in a traditional style of metal by keeping fresh and by decent song writing. If only the singing was more Mille Petrozza then Bruce Dickinson then this would have been great, but if you wear denim vests with Blind Guardian patches on then you will like An Appointment With Death . I, however, am off to listen to some power violence.

This is the full review that was published yesterday on Scenepointblank. Click here to read it on the site and to browse some more music news and other excellent record reviews and features.

I really like that site, it has some very good writers contributing consistently.

I tried to write the review of Lizzy Borden’s latest record as objectively as I possibly could. Under normal circumstances I absolutely loathe power metal but I thought a somewhat balanced review would be best. I did after all claim the promo personally and there are definitely parts of that record that I find to be quite decent. In other words, it’s not for me but I can see why certain people might like it.

I was also in a good mood when I wrote it so next time I might not be so generous. But I promise to try.

Over and out, battallion of saints…

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