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Senmuth - Precession - 50%

ConorFynes, December 21st, 2010

His obviously musical talent and skill aside, one begins to wonder how many times the same industrial metal sound can be tweaked and recycled, before the composer himself begins to tire of it. With Senmuth's 5th piece of music, the man behind the extensive music this project has produced seems to haved aimed to make a spiritual sequel of his strong debut, 'Cognitive Discord,' in terms of sound and approach. However, while 'Cognitive Discord' was a fresh venture and had quite a few strong tracks under it's belt, 'Precession' feels like a bit of a weak afterthought in it's shadow. Indeed, there are a handful of lively tracks which redeem what would otherwise be a bland and uneventful industrial metal and the addition of some pleasant vocal talents, but it is still only enough to make 'Precession' a mediocre installment in the Senmuth saga.

As a general rule, the music here is very much like the dense, electronic metal from 'Cognitive Discord,' except there is much less of a 'dance' vibe here; the riffs and electronic melodies are less catchy than they were before, although the sound is still as dense and complex. What perhaps makes 'Precession' unique from any of it's predecessors is that throughout the album, Senmuth has enlisted the help of many friends to fulfill different vocal/mixing roles. While a common complaint I had with alot of Senmuth's music before this was that his vocal style deterred from the overall enjoyment rather than adding to the experience, the singers he has brought along for the ride are all very skilled. Once again, we get the operatic soprano of a woman credited as Annie Red Hat, as well as a strong alto woman's voice, and a strong male voice to top off the guest vocalists. While Senmuth's own voice makes it's own contribution, I can easily say that it doesn't compare to the much more professional deliveries of the other singers, and he should likely stick to his skillful composing and instrumentation, or find a new vocal style to work with before singing again.

The highlights of the album would rest on the handful of tracks in which guest vocalists are used; the songwriting in them seems to be more thoughtful and the use of electronics in them is more effective. To top off the album, the work finishes off nicely with a remix of one of the better songs from 'Cognitive Discord,' the first appearance of Annie Red Hat in Senmuth's music, titled (in English) 'Cutting The Last Thread.' This remix is almost entirely electronic in nature, and has done away with practically all of the metal sound in the song, making it strictly an electronica track. With the operatic soprano voice overtop, it gives a very unique sound to the music, and a pleasant way to end 'Precession.'

'Precession' certainly doesn't impress as a whole, but there are a couple of songs here in which Senmuth really demonstrates some keen songwriting and arranging abilties. At the risk of sounding like a knock off of the debut, Senmuth has retrogressed back a year to revisit the sound he once had; perhaps it may have been a wiser choice to keep looking forward.