without Internet Explorer,
in 1280 x 960 resolution
While the sound quality overall seems improved from This Killing Emptiness, I'm very pleased to note that the vocals are almost identical as they were previously (any fan will tell you this as a major positive point!). About the music itself, I feel the initial impact of hearing the album doesn't hold the same cold, distant and simplistically elegant atmosphere that made This Killing Emptiness such a masterpiece...
I begin to realize that this is a misconception, as it seems clear to me now only tracks "Regret" and "Icarus" challenge my concept of what Ice Ages typically sounds like. These could be considered the most exploratory tracks, as they expand on the Ice Ages formula in a way that incorporates concepts of plodding, mid-paced Industrial/Aggrotech acts like Acylum and La Magra (X-Chem label).
After getting by this initial shock, it's obvious to me the music really started "coming into it's own" by the time I hear "Through the Mirror" (that is, I really start to appreciate the songs as worthy follow up material to This Killing Emptiness). Indeed the sweeping epic synth/string melodies really start to take hold in my mind and sound quite beautiful! Combine this with the signature structure formed by adroit use of pummeling percussion and brooding ambiance set to a methodical mid-tempo....and well, another riveting album from Ice Ages is in our midst.
On a quick song to song basist --
Easily "Regret" and "Icarus" are the most challenging pieces and fuddled my ability to appreciate the glory of opening moments on "Intro" and the aural blasphemy set to following tracks "Buried Silence" and "From Grey to..." which are two quick favorites of mine. "Essential Loss" rips through my headphones like an unstoppable flow of molten lava, as the vocals crescendo over building tension created through percussion and synth melody, quickly rendering itself most bombastic track of the album. "Through the Mirror" is an essential piece that, like the last three tracks, resonates on a sombre note. "Tormented In Grace" stands out in juxtaposition to these for it's adept teeter-tottering of angry and sorrowful emotions; while "Curse" closes things out with an epic heaviness of the heart set to a reverberating sound analogous to "thunder in our minds so hollow" (to quote our exalted creator, Protector).
My only hope is that Richard may finally capture much more of the respect he so obviously deserves from the darkwave/electronic community with Buried Silence. If the community is lucky it will go back and discover the brilliance of This Killing Emptiness, and to a lesser extent, Strike The Ground, as anomalous milestones in the genre that haven't been touched before or since the inception of Ice Ages.