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Senmuth - Vdol' Puti K Podnebesnoy... - 60%

ConorFynes, December 21st, 2010

The third installment of Senmuth's epic musical journey, the man behind the music of this project finds himself treading deep into the realm of oriental/far east music. While almost all of his albums are influenced by ethnic sounds, this is the first work under the Senmuth label to focus on one culture almost exclusively. While 'Вдоль Пути к Поднебесной' certainly follows the tradition of industrial-tinged metal that Senmuth based his early career on, the integration of East Asian musical sensibilities fit very well into the staple style, generally working their way in as upbeat synth melodies. While 'Вдоль Пути к Поднебесной' lacks both the catchiness of 'Cognitive Discord,' and the intricacy of 'Izoteri- Ka,' the album's focus on cohesion and melding ethnic styles seamlessly into Senmuth's metal foundation makes it a rather worthy addition to the Senmuth project discography.

The music generally revolves around light oriental synth melodies bouncing around overtop downtuned guitar riffage, and the typical electronic industrial ambience that Senmuth seems to throw into every project he worked on in 2004. Despite the work of this man typically being labelled as 'doom metal,' the mood here is generally light hearted and whimsical, with a few mentionable exceptions. One such exception is the dark ambient piece 'Chinese Theatre,' which is thrown in the middle of the album. While it is an effective, even haunting piece of soundscaping, the dark and imposing tone here feels very out of place next to the melodic, upbeat pieces that surround it.

Another very prominent sound here (besides the oriental ethnic style) is that of the martial, Industrial beats that run throughout most of the album. While Senmuth has always had an Industrial side, it always meshed into the metal side of the music; never being showcased on it's own, or with any other genre combination. While it gives the music a very militant, aggressive feel (perhaps a commentary on Chinese culture,) it feels like it robs the music of what could have been a much more melodic inclination. Due to the fact that the instrumentation generally relies on melodic synth work (and some of the melodies work remarkably well,) it feels a bit disheartening to hear the percussion drowning out songs which might have been a more effective experience, had they been kept 'lighter' overall.

Senmuth seems to have melded some of the aspects of his last two albums to create a new piece that retains some of the qualities of his catchy pop-based work and the more complex orchestrations of his sophomore. By this point in my listening experience with Senmuth, I am definately drawing patterns in his music, but if anything, the man has proven that he has the ability to reinvent himself within the space of a few days. 'Вдоль Пути к Поднебесной' is an enjoyable listen with some strong melodies and a more upbeat sound, and while not all of his musical innovations are entirely convincing here, the merging of oriental, industrial and metal styles works surprisingly well in parts.

As I trip and stumble through my dreams... - 90%

Misainzig, February 4th, 2010

This album holds a special place for me. Of his entire enormous discography, this is the album I heard first. At first, I was put off by the light-hearted and catchy synths. I had never heard anything like it. After I got used to the style, it’s brilliance showed itself to me. Of course, I immediately tried to make a few comparisons to other similar (?) artists, if not simply to try and put this kind of odd music in perspective. Nothing came even close. I still can’t even figure out what genre this album would be, other than simply Senmuth. The man is beyond classification.

While his later sound is much different from his earlier sound found here, it’s still unmistakably Senmuth. This album flows along in a very dreamlike nature, with synths out the wazoo. Senmuth’s sense of melody on this album is seems rather sensitive at times. Srazhenie. Vechnost’. Spravedlivost’. has probably the most sensitive melody. It’s very uplifting, and Senmuth’s powerful vocals really can inspire at times. Each song has it’s distinct melodies. Yav’ Ili Son has one of the most magical melodies I’ve ever heard (I think it’s the chorus), before switching it up with some standard hard rock guitar. Along with the magic melodies, there are many slow passages throughout the album that really reaffirm this mysterious dream like state your ears are in as you listen.

Fragment (Chinese Theater) is a very atmospheric piece, as it features little real music. It’s got some small waterfall type of effect over it, with a very low chorus bellowing (pretty sure it’s a synth again, but it sounds quite real). It has a sample of some Chinese guy, who I’m assuming is an actor. After a while, it breaks into some “heavy” drums, then it switches between the different parts. Ho Chang Kung continues with more of these “heavy” drums. They’re basically extremely loud deep drum sounds with a heavy industrial effect over them. That, coupled with the comforting melodies, make for an extremely interesting song. Then out of nowhere, here comes Senmuth to deliver some chunky guitar riffage that follows the melody. The storm calms down once again. Then boom! Shift this baby into fucking overdrive! The riffage towards the end of this section is basically thrash!

Simply dreamy. I cannot stress that enough. This album is like a world full of candy in vibrant colors in my head as I sleep. Yet that only covers about 60% of the album. The dark and heavier passages tend to bring the album down to Earth, while still keeping the atmosphere relatively intact. Tai- Chu closes the album with some familiar melodies from Yav’ Ili Son, and a few others from throughout the album. There are some new ones as well, which manage to be just as memorable and great as the rest.

For a Senmuth fan, this album shouldn’t disappoint. It’s got all of his off the wall elements, along with some probably not found on any other Senmuth album. This album is truly unique, and anyone who hears it is going to have their mood improved. Unless happy music pisses you off or something.