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Senmuth offers us what seems to be one of his most progressive, experimental and diversified albums. Let's just take a look at the inspiring and epic cover artwork, the length of the six songs and the topic about the creation of the world. Well, Senmuth got us by surprise again and instead of delivering a splendid album with many changes in style to recreate the images of the creation of our universe; our Russian mastermind delivers his calmest release ever to date. This album is entirely atmospheric and focuses on soft enchanting electronic melodies with a few folk snippets and some minimalistic metal riffs every tenth minute or so. I wouldn’t even call this album progressive, it’s simply relaxing.
If the dating with the Indian girl that I suggested you in my last review didn't work and she left your candlelight supper in shame and anger, this record here is the perfect soundtrack to drown your sadness, get torn away into a different world and falling asleep with a peaceful smile on your lips. The first time I listened to this soporific album with a friend late at night it truly worked better than a couple of sleeping pills and was much healthier, too. You can analyze this in a positive and a negative way and you may be right in both cases depending on your personality.
Of course, this here isn't Senmuth's most exciting release but the album presents a new style he has never explored before. If his goal was to create a peaceful, natural and tranquilizing atmosphere, we should consider this record as a creative and intellectual success. I know a lot of quite albums no matter if I take some old multi-instrumental records such as "Tubular Bells" from Mike Oldfield, some New Age music from Enya such as "A Year Without Rain", some intriguing ambient stuff such as Empyrium's "A Wintersunset" or even progressive rock in the vein of King Crimson's "In The Court Of The Crimson King" or progressive metal like Dream Theater's "Octavarium" but Senmuth's "Evolution: Exodus" has its unique brand and is probably the most minimalistic work in this list. The lazy and repetitive mood makes me actually think of Iron Maiden's "Virtual XI" to which I accorded quite the same rating. I only added a few points in here for the consequent radicalism of this release even if this last term is rather not appropriated for this smooth gem. If you know or like any of those albums I have just listed in this review, this one is a definite must have for you. It's all about the atmosphere and that's why I don't want to point any particular song out. The album is great for what it is and wants to be but surely not always easy to digest and an appropriate record for any traditional metal music maniac.
Even though I personally prefer any of the mentioned records, I must underline Senmuth's talent, sensibility and courage here. This meditative album is a great gem for very special occasions and it may not often find its way in my stereo system but the next time I will get upset and want to calm down, relax and think, this album is definitely my new first choice. That's why I begin to like this record not only from an objective but also from a subjective point of view. If you feel that you need some time for yourself and an introspective break, this record here may help you to focus.
While there is no argument that Senmuth is indeed a metal-related artist, he is much more than that. The man behind this project refuses to adhere to any single prescribed genre; he instead chooses to also delve into a number of softer styles to give some variety to his vast musical output. 'Evolution: Exodus' is one such album that instead goes for a more mellow approach to Senmuth's brand of exotic music. Clocking in at seventy three minutes, this is certainly one of the longer albums of the discography; it is far from being the most challenging, however. Focusing on long winded and atmospheric passages over conventional structure, 'Evolution' may bore some listeners looking for more eventful music, but for what it is, the album is relatively effective.
Upon first spying the track listing (with all but one song topping the ten minute mark), many listeners (including myself, admittedly) may expect 'Evolution: Exodus' to be a dazzling stream of 'epic' compositions; filled to the brim with dynamic, energy, and a thirst for innovation. While this preconception turned out to be far from the truth, the album does suceed at being a potent ambient journey. Each of the album's six tracks are made long due to repetition of musical ideas. Each composition generally revolves around two or three main ideas, throwing in a refreshing variation once in a while to spark a bit of interest along the way. While this may seem like a recipe for disaster, the music's unchanging vibe makes it a great vessel for relaxation and deep reflection.
While being a 'meditation' album for all intents and purposes, it is surprising how dark the tone can get. While there are certainly lighter moments emotionally, there is an exotic and unsettling feel brought on by many of the ethnic instruments Senmuth uses. Drawing upon a mixture of Middle and Far Eastern instruments on top of typical guitar and percussion, he makes use of these exotic sounds to create music that makes 'Evolution' often as haunting as it is soothing. While it is true that most of the instruments used on Senmuth recordings are synthesized and artificial, Senmuth has polished his use of the software to the point where most 'instruments' in his music sound more or less genuine. 'Evolution: Exodus' is a very well executed piece of music, but the ambient nature of the work will turn off some from enjoying it. However, someone looking for a period of reflection and sonic meditation might find that this album comes in handy.
Atmosphere is perhaps the most important element of music, giving albums a unique air, making them different, and allowing the user to be drawn into the waves and motions of the album, this album is no different. While you may not think it looking at the ridiculous amount of albums this Russian band has put out, each of their albums (that I've listened to) has a very unique flair, with an overall feel to all of them, and a specific atmosphere for each one.
The primary thing making Evolution that way though, is the combination of techno and folk, with some metal elements. Don't get fooled though, the metal is nearly non-existent, and there are no vocals to speak of, but it's better that way. The techno beats make one think of space, of alien things, while the weird folk and catchy drumming give this album its real flair.
But other than that, where does it go? All of the songs sound unique, but still have this same feel. Depending on how far the atmosphere goes for you, its very possible that this album could get a hundred listens without seeming too much, while others might get bored in the very first song. It doesn't help that these songs are long and winding, and they all have the same feel. That said though, for anyone who does get it, it is a very satisfying package, combining seemingly conflicting elements into a well-constructed, and nearly flawless piece. If you listen to a song from this album and like it, then it can be nothing but a good buy (or download, it's offered for free by the artist at LastFM).