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There is just something that really captures my imagination with this album. Is it that album cover? That could be it. Being one of the most fitting album covers I have ever seen for an album. Or is it the feeling of intense pain in the first shriek from the vocalist? Or is it the wonderful epic and melodic guitar playing on this album. Is it the intense drumming that sounds so raw and organic? All of these answers are hidden somewhere in my subconscious and I know that my subconscious has really impressed me this time.
The production of the album sounds very "moist." Now I know that this really isn't a way to describe production but I believe that the production reflects the album cover really well. It feels foggy and damp and just so full of moisture. This is not a bad thing at all. It makes the atmosphere of this album so great.
The guitars play is very skilled actually, sounds very refined for a band that was relatively young at the time. It is pretty amazing seeing how much this band had progressed from their demos to this CD. The guitars really do evoke a sense of beauty but they can be unsettling at times which is welcomed very much so. They range from sounding upbeat and almost bright sounding to murky and seem to personify the depths of the Cascadian forests. The pace of the album ranges from rapid extreme tremolo picking to deep and heavy really slow doom like passages. The use of power chords is also fairly common during a climax in a song.
By the time "Face in the Night Time Mirror Pt.1" comes around you are fully immersed in the moist depths of this album and then something wonderful happens. Something totally unexpected, Jamie Myers happens. She is a guest vocalist on this album and I have never heard such beautiful vocals on an album black metal or not. They fit SO WELL with the song and the pace that she sings at and the imagery in the lyrics is absolutely wonderful. It is a huge highlight of the album. After her singing at the beginning the growls are back and the song progresses and continues at a relatively fast pace, with a wonderful climatic episode around the 5-7 minute mark. Then the song suddenly comes to halt and one of the doomiest parts of the album takes over. It sends you into a trance and you are lost in the song for the rest of it.
The drumming on this album is very tight and relatively creative. It is rarely the same simple beat throughout the song. I love the sound of the snare it sounds very organic and hollow. That is the best way to describe it. It wouldn't seem totally out there if they used sticks as drumsticks haha.
"Face in the Night...Pt.1" has a really heavy breakdown about 1:30 in which sounds almost death metalish, and then the song continues on with filthy shrieking that sounds like he's spitting out the words to make sure he's being heard. At 3:40 the song goes into another really interesting proggy break that counters between a proggy riff with lots of overdrive and crazy black metal blasting. Then we are back to the assault of riffs. This song has another breakdown into doomy areas that lasts for quite a while with sharp power chords piercing through the marching drums.
The bass on the album is somewhat audible. It certainly helps to create a murkier and deeper atmosphere but it does nothing out of the ordinary.
By the time "A Shimmering Radiance" comes around you are totally absorbed by the album. The first bit of the song is full of heavy majestic power chords with an arpeggio in between them occasionally. This is another very doomy feeling part of the album. This progresses to another proggy feeling part of the song with an interesting riff. When the song picks up again it brings back the lovely vocals of Jamie Myers to my delight. She sings along with Nathan Weaver while he does his frantic screams and the clash between them fits so well with the music. As the song moves along it seems to contain some of the best head banging aspects found on the whole album. The vocals at times seem to have become almost like snarled whispers at times similar to "Velvet Cacoon." The riffs continue to assault you and you once again become absorbed like you have been 3 times already. With another doomy breakdown we experience some more passion from the voice of Nathan Weaver. The drumming done by his brother Aaron is particularly awesome here. With an almost offbeat snare hit that sounds awesome. This is one of the many awesome things about the album. There is plenty of variety throughout the songs yet it still can put you into a wonderful trance. As the song builds up to the climax one can feel a sense of urgency and expecting that something is going to happen, and it does. Nathan begins to scream the lyrics out once more and Jamie Myers comes back repeating what she sang at the beginning of the song. The harmony with the two vocalists is amazing. This part of the song gives me chills. It gets even better, the climax builds and builds and such a passionate riff if played and then the song explodes and the vocals of Jamie Myers take over and she sings something different this time. It sounds so wonderful. Nathan shrieks in the background as the guitars and drums pound away and the song starts to fade out to the passionate sounds of Jamie's voice. This concludes this journey.
This album was interesting to review because I hold so dear to myself. Like I said before, I cannot fully explain it. You just have to "get it" and if you do...well then wonderful. You are lucky to be able to understand something that is so beautiful. It almost makes me sad to think that many people would consider this garbage and not music. It seems totally unfathomable to me now. This album is the perfect album for listening to at night, when you feel totally introverted and reflective. It is also wonderful to listen to in nature, where the influence for this album comes from.
Job well done, job well done. Thank you WITTR.
"Oh the strength that resides in contemplation, bathes me in silver star light."