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Maybe you know these situations in which you get a long awaited piece of art - and just don't get behind it. This was what I got of this CD. After reading the already posted review beneath I wanted to hear it, got it and just did not understand it.
But then, in auditive unity with the best listener I know, suddenly it broke open..no wait, I cannot say I understood "Bálsýn" better from then on, but it started to FEEL amazingly. An unseen, even unimagined picture rose in front of our eyes, a picture of emotion and voidness. Simply the fact of music having the function of an epiphany would lead me to more-than-average ratings.
The gothic-esque melodies, woven into the sound impression of black metal, which is of the unending and cold futuristic kind, neither embrace the listener nor leave him behind, I must admit, they create a brumous image of whitely powdered women dancing a round dance, slow, nearly motionless yet almost floating in their ostentatious dresses and fawning their fans. Sometimes I expect a clavichord (and I imagine one to be somewhere in it) giving the sound a delicate and brittle taste of sophisticated life around 1600.
Taking this in a whole you might not be very surprised, but we were. Adding to the already said things the speed of the music, which is very well produced by the way, the whole dancing party is on its way through the endless galaxies. In a freaking starship! And its direction seems to be called "nowhere". The structure of the songs is marginal but somehow interesting. Strange seems to be the best word.
The opener "To Know is to Die" lets you imagine to be safe of surprises, yet this only lasts for the eleven minutes the song plays, because of its clear and melodic structure with carefully placed and skillfully uttered vocals somewhere between growling and screaming. I think this track fulfills its duty as kind of a mental tranquillizer which has to open your mind for upcoming things. The function of the track "Alfabloð" in the middle of the playtime is quite similar: It works as an interlude blurring the listeners mental eyes. At the end "Fires of Potentiam" only leaves ashes behind.
Inbetween these skillfully crafted songs lies the wild, incontrollable mass of beautiful but hard to follow sounds, which are like music, but not exactly it, more an acoustic trip on several drugs. A good, charming one, though.
I highly recommend this CD to everyone of you, who is able to hear with heart, mind and fantasy. Believe me, the results are much more intense listening to it in presence of someone whose spiritual understanding of music can be combined with yours.
Fly with the baroque starship, fly with your fantasy. For 51 minutes.