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NewOldLive sounds indeed somewhat old and seems to present some filler material from the early days of the ambitious Senmuth project. Some tracks are reworked versions from previous records, others are mediocre bonus tracks and we don't get the high quality level we got used to by Senmuth over the last great outputs. Even compared to the entire discography, this album is one of the weakest releases by Senmuth but surprisingly still not a failure which speaks volumes for the unique quality of the music of Valery Av.
Musically, we basically have a return to the Industrial Gothic sounds of the first two records on this compilation record. This can be seen as a step back, especially as the instrumental parts and the vocal skills didn't improve on this album compared to what Senmuth has delivered before. I would add to this that the album is too long with fifteen tracks and lacks of focus as there is not a single truly outstanding song to find on this record even though the entire material sounds quite coherent and entertaining. Once again, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. On the other side, this record could find its positive value as a good introduction to Senmuth's roots and early days for someone that hasn't the time, money and patience to listen to all of Senmuth's records.
We still have a couple of good piano melodies, danceable tracks and even a few atmospheric darkwave tracks on the entire album that could easily please to the fans of the genre and even get some airplay in the underground radios or discotheuqes. As highlights, I might maybe point out the collaboration with Annie Red Hat on "Cutting The Last Threads", the title track "NewOldLive" and "A Short Song About The Eternity (Apocalyptic Farewell)". Any fan of the more progressive and ethnic sounds of Senmuth might though easily skip this record and discover the great Oracle Ocatve double pack right now.
Finally, Senmuth seems to be tapping into his style and talent correctly!
While not necessarily being the greatest leap forward for this Russian artist, 'NewOldLive' definately shows Senmuth taking his typical folk-infused style of industrial metal and channeling it into a relatively successful product that flows from start to finish as an album should. There is little true musical development here (hence, it does not make for lasting appeal) in the scope of Senmuth's overall career, but as always, there are a few tracks here that really stand out as being quite good.
Anyone who has heard a metal-styled Senmuth album before will know what to expect from this music. Overbearing layers of guitar noise rumbling underneath light synth/ethnic melodies and the somewhat irritating distortion box vocals of Senmuth is the norm. What works to distinguish this album from the others before it however, is the great sense of flow and structure the album has, as well as a improved meshing of the lighter and heavier parts Senmuth is defined by. With this in mind, this is the closest album to reaching 'excellence' for Senmuth since his first two albums with this project, which were both still fresh and exciting.
Despite releasing such a wealth of music (as is visible from his extensive discography), there are almost always a couple of tracks that are really good on any Senmuth album, no matter how poor or mediocre. Among these tracks for 'NewOldLive' would be 'Борьба за Познание Истории' and 'Я опять дожидаюсь рассвета.' The first of these is a typical Senmuth heavy track, but made all the more memorable for it's Indian raga sound, as well as a female vocal sample of a Sanskrit vocal hymn. 'Я опять дожидаюсь рассвета' on the other hand, is a strong track for it's fantastic blend of Senmuth elements and dynamic, and is undeniably the strongest track on the album.
Having familiarized myself with Senmuth's discography up to this point in his career, I really get a sense of why the artist chose this name for the album. This is definately a contrast between modern and ancient music in his music, but many musical ideas from previous albums are recycled here; but used in different ways... That makes for an interesting and rewarding experience for anyone who has decided to journey this far into Senmuth's discography.
I must admit, I did think 'NewOldLive' was possibly the first truly great Senmuth album since 'Cognitive Discord' when I gave it a few listens, but after listening, the effect and appreciation generally dwindled, whereas on other Senmuth albums, my appreciation for them has grown over time. As it stands however, Senmuth has made a great development here by solving some of the structural and 'cohesion' issues with his music, and comes that much closer to releasing an excellent record as a result.