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An unconvincing release - 55%

oneyoudontknow, September 24th, 2012

A curious release with two bands, whose conceptual differences are, at least on this output, rather slim. Each of the compositions – yes, there are only one per participant – has nearly the same length, follows a similar metal approach – doom metal in this respect – and even in terms of the conceptual background both of them like to trod on the same path. Each has their own identity but there is nevertheless a proximity that leaves a slightly bitter taste and confusion.

Hesper Payne – The Deathless Dreamers Will

The first of the two would be Hesper Payne, a band that hails from Newcastle upon Thyme. Having been founded in 2004 and a good amount of releases out already, it can at least be suspected to discover some kind of developed framework in which this latest instalment fits somehow.

A striking aspect is the general melancholy in the music, which finds expression through the use of a mellowing guitar, a meandering through realms of minimalism and some rare aggressive counterpoints, while all progresses with a somewhat sedative, calm but also appropriate dynamic. There is no hectic in here and the overall dark atmosphere is able to unfold itself.

Dissonance or noise elements are not allowed to appear, which is a sad thing, because these would add a certain kind of insanity to the performance; something that is commonly associated with the stories of Lovecraft. Harmony, (at times) vague melodies and a certain setting in terms of the sound follow a rather conservative approach, which seems to be the general idea when it comes to Lovecraft and his works. There is nothing overtly innovative, disturbing, intense or confusing here. The same can also be said of the concept itself. Guitars, clean vocals, solid drumming, well balanced production … everything is appears in such a way as can be expected. Doom stretched a bit for too long and with some additional amount of heaviness – compared with the standard set of the genre – can be found here.

Whether the performance is good or bad might depend on personal preferences, but it all feels a bit too thin and hollow.

Sabazius – The Madness from the Sea

Another band … and more of the same. Sabazius deliver what they have always done: extensive composition/s, generally slow progression in terms of the riffs, often distorted vocals, a good amount of repetition and samples. These had been the basic elements on the preceding albums and they make an appearance here as well.

At times, the vocals remind on 'Death’s Eternal Sleep' from the band's debut album, which is kind of odd in case you are familiar with the band's outputs. Once they appear in this fashion also the guitar show a similarity, which increases the amount of confusion even more. Why does the band have to return to something they did already? Is this all they can offer in terms of Cthulhu? (Both tracks deal with the same issue)

Sabazius' metal parts are interrupted or accompanied by piano segments, whose minimalist and repetitive play create a nice counterpoint to the riffs. A point brought up in terms of Hesper Payne would be true in this respect as well: the insanity or extreme nature of the topic can hardly be felt in this long composition. Some voice manipulation can be found, but other elements like noise samples or disturbing effects are equally non-existent.

While those unfamiliar with the music of Sabazius might find the performance appealing and interesting, the other fraction might be irritated by the re-appearance of older ideas.

On the design:
The CD comes with a cardboard-like hull with two inserts; one for the CD and one for the booklet. I have damaged mine already by simply trying to move the rather large piece of folded paper back into its proper place. Also the CD cannot be removed easily. Something handmade is always nice to have, but some more space for removing and replacing the stuff would have been nice indeed.

To sum it all up:
I am not impressed. Generally, the music drags on for far too long and is not of a kind that leaves the listener motivated to take a second spin.

100 copies, handmade and with a A4 poster.

Based on a review originally written for ‘A dead spot of light (Number 20)’: