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伏羲 > 在寂静的路上 > Reviews
伏羲 - 在寂静的路上

Not entirely conclusive but still interesting - 65%

oneyoudontknow, May 19th, 2013

Of course it is a certain interest in the Chinese culture. A country with such a rich history should be able to come up with folk metal bands, whose art reflects this on one way or another. How 伏羲 fits into this is difficult to explain from an outside perspective, due to my limitation in understanding Chinese as well as my lack of information on or of the lyrics. Aside from the translation of the track titles there is not much to deal with. But why complain? The band delivers as one might expect them to.

Elements and their part tend to vary a lot in terms of folk metal bands. While some stick to a rather complex set of these and merge these contrasting genres rather freely, others are more nit-picky and put the emphasis on either side and without giving a clear indication on how to label them properly. 伏羲 are an example for the latter one and they are neither completely metal nor completely folk. The seven compositions on their one and only release 在寂静的路上 offer this mixture of extreme contrasts, which enable the listener to enjoy facets of the traditional Chinese music scene, while being reminded now and then that the times have changed; it is up to the electric guitars to create counterpoints to the sound of an erhu for instance. The composition 在寂静的路上 is a charming example for this: the main melody is carried by Chinese instruments, while towards the end Western guitar elements accompany these and create such a charming example on how this “combined alliance” can play out. It is heavy, intense and quite appropriate for some head banging.

Sadly, 伏羲 only dare to bring the music to such extremes on a small scale. Bits here, a bit there, while the Chinese melodies and characteristics play a dominant role throughout the album. Actually, this is not a metal album, despite the metal elements in some of the compositions. It never feels this way, it never gives the impression of attempting to reach out for the Western scene in a convincing way. Like in the Chinese economy also here the West remains at the level of a partner, someone who is allowed to present some ideas, while the local firm or company runs the show. This kind of joint venture has led to some embarrassment in the past and even though this is actually quite a different story, it helps to point in the right direction. Nevertheless, also 伏羲 take what they can use and do it the “Chinese way”, like friends of mine from over there tend to describe it to me.

If there is one aspect that needs to be criticized and pointed towards then it has to do with the rather bland style of the drums. Judging from their sound, their dynamics as well as the very limited variation it can be expected that these had been programmed, not played by a real person and maybe even added as the last element to the recording. Having said as much, its appearance should not surprise in any kind of way; its presence is anything but convincing. Especially from the point of a reviewer it is it is somehow tiring to have to endure this reluctance of the bands to deny this element the proper care that would actually be necessary. Also from the perspective of the listener such a state offers hardly any pleasantries.

Whether metal fans will be able to enjoy this piece of music is an open question. To label it as belonging to such a genre might be misleading though and should be a cause for serious scrutiny. It is definitely interesting … but lingers around in the outstretches of the metal scene.

Based on a review originally written for ‘A dead spot of light (Number 22)’: