Dark Suns – “Grave Human Genuine”

Dark Suns - “Grave Human Genuine”You can find a Spanish version of this review in Friedhof Magazine, an extreme metal magazine. It’s thanks to them that I got it, and they are kind enough to let me republish this on my personal site.

Dark Suns – “Grave Human Genuine”
Prophecy Productions

Progressive Dark Metal
Release: 22/Feb/2008 Germany, 25/Feb/2008 Rest of the world.

The worst you could say about Dark Suns is this. The first and possibly wrong impression that hits on the first listening of “Grave Human Genuine” is that Dark Suns want to be the german Opeth. That could do as a review and I’d be done.
But I feel the neet to add that this album will be very enjoyable for those of the progressive metal crowd that like it deep and dark. Elaborate, beautiful melodies that don’t sound baroque. Bass and drums much more than correct, on their rightful place as support for an ample cast: from skillfully executed metal riffs to atmospheric piano segments. Maybe my ear is not educated enough to appreciate the complexity of the progressions, and rythm shifts of some of the tracks, but they are there, no doubt. Clear voices make a debut, their previous albums featuring quite rougher vocals.
“Grave Human Genuine” is, from the p.o.v. of someone who doesn’t particularly enjoy this genre, an interesting piece. Eight tracks (plus bonus!) that don’t sound tiring even for a second of their 58 minutes of excellent production. Well balanced, it starts pounding with “Stampede”, the track that makes you think someone’s serigraphed Dark Suns on a Opeth compact. Then it relaxes for a bit and works up again through the end of “The Chameleon Defect”, the most frenzied moment of the album. It lets some steam out then, so you can enjoy the vocal work on “Free of you” and “Papillon”, which closes the job.

Nucleus Torn – “Knell”

You can find a Spanish version of this review in Friedhof Magazine, an extreme metal magazine. It’s thanks to them that I got it, and they are kind enough to let me republish this on my personal site.

Nucleus Torn – “Knell”
Prophecy Productions
Progressive / Dark Ambient

The first time I listened to “Knell” with the prospect of reviewing it, a few weeks ago, I felt like the world was crumbling over me. “Knell” is a complex piece of work, an amalgam of classical bits, progressive segments and nearly silent intermissions that makes the task of telling something about it that doesn’t sound fragmented and a little incoherent just short of impossible.

It’s one of those records that you can’t grok the first time you hear it. In fact, first hearings are quite boring, like a school lesson from an uninterested teacher who keeps going on and on in a monotone voice. It’s a complex, enigmatic, evoking album, which can, and must be listened to on so many levels. Dark, minimalist, upsetting and many other adjectives could also define it. Depressing and inspiring, relaxing and stimulating at the same time. It’s an album which is as best suited to listen when you go to bed, as to listen when you’re trying to start your creativity for working.

Only as you go through repeated listenings, with all the attention it’s worth, you can appreciate the presence of each and every instrument, the very purpose of its intervention. Piano, bouzouki and female voice on the soothing, intimate and whispering calm-before-the-storm moments; male voice, guitar and percussion on the all-out storm ones, strident, interspersed with quasi-silent segments during which each and every echo of previous sounds is left to die -for minutes- while sinister conversations between violin and cello take place.

Too many words that can’t hope to describe an album which encompasses both the deepness of classical music and the energy of the most avant-garde progressive metal. If you can excuse the pun, you can’t judge such an experimental work just by reading a few paragraphs: you need to experiment it. Go through every layer, slowly digesting it until you extract your own conclusion. The only sure thing you can expect is that you won’t be indifferent.

I knew Snape was good in the end

Potter SagaI just read the final chapters of what will be known as one of the first and most succesful epics of the 21th century. I’m talking, of course, about the Harry Potter Saga.

It all started years ago. It was a hot, dry summer night. My parents were out for two weeks on vacation and I had the house to myself. I was bored. Really bored. Really, awfully bored. I had already read all the books in my room, and then some. So I went through the shelves in the rest of the house and came to find a small, thin book titled Harry Potter and the Philosopher Stone between the books for the English course my mother was taking back then. It was their reading material. And I thought ‘being a children book, it won’t be too hard’.  I thought it would last me at least a little more than the other books I’d read that summer… you know, foreign language and that.

Next morning, I had already gone through it, and went looking for more. I think four books had been released and the fifth one was coming at the end of the summer. They were taken care of in the following days, which sort of earned me a couple more nerd points between my friends: there were a few days of mocking –as the Pottermania was high on grrl-written fan-fiction–, and not having any more installments to read, I sort of forgot about it.

Yea, I downloaded went to see the movies, and took part in the ocassional conversation in the matter. It’s curious how chicks seemed to be drawed to the books and hold incredibly strong opinions on the characters. I enjoyed all that.

Last summer the fifth movie launched and I was newly tempted. I couldn’t help but preorder the last book on Amazon and yes, I will have the paperback boxset with that, thanks. Received then, put them on a shelf and forgot about it for six more months.

Then came a night. I was bored. Really bored, Really awfully bored. I picked up the fifth book –Order of the Phoenix– and got busy. I don’t have that much free time now, and they are quite longer than the first ones, so it’s been a month of reading. Of delightful reading, one could say. It’s been a month of page turning, a month of not much sleeping, and a month of being late to work.

I had not been that hooked to a story since I was… I don’t know, maybe eleven or twelve. I had nearly forgotten of the guilty pleasure of being groggy all day because of the late night reading, just hoping to get home again and keep going at it. It’s been thrilling to drink each and every one of nearly 2000 pages of the most charming fantasy, which is the careful blend of love, death, work, play, magic and daily life of a long list of characters that you come to care of. You know, that thing you get from just a few, precious sagas. The ones that leave you yearning for more. The ones that get you on a bad mood as you see the remaining pages of the last book shrinking every day. The ones about which you can only say, with deep regret, ‘well, that’s it’ as you read the final paragraph. The ones that will never leave you satisfied, though you know it’s better that they end now than to be milked for money until they turn into crap.

We’re not talking about a literary masterpiece, as the quality varies greatly through the series. But it’s also not some manufactured best-seller. There’s something in there. Maybe it’s the growth, of the characters, of the storyworld, of the wordmanship, of the readers themselves. The feeling that, even if you read it again, it won’t be the same, because you’re not the same. Sounds rather cheesy and maybe it’s consequence of the sleep deprivation of the last weeks, but still… sigh :(

Anyway. I hope it wears away in a few days, or the next book I pick up will have it really hard not to look uninteresting.