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Better than ‘Old Ways’ … - 69%

oneyoudontknow, August 5th, 2011

The latest release of the American band would be this and it would also be output number two in the year 2010. Again, seven tracks appear on it and the overall length shows a striking resemblance, too. It should not surprise further, when also the music itself follows a similar direction as in the output discussed above: but let us start with the general description again.

Well, the music is noisy, has black metal screams, comes at times with a voluminous sound and a drum-computer (later also normal drums seem to appear; Glory at Hand), whose programming shows the obvious and all too common flaws. Young Eagle opens with a thunderstorm and music in style of Gräfenstein or Setherial. No neat opening, no small introduction … a barrage of riffs is unleashed upon the listener and the tempo heads for that of an ICE. Even though this tendency is not kept as a main concept on this album, Jute Gyte like to return to it again and again. So, while one facet is rather fast and aggressive, the other one is much calmer and comes with a more in variety.

Melodic might be a proper description for these and the tempo as well as the style is then reduced to a minimum. It is a counter-point to what was discussed above. Acoustic and ambient interludes or breaks – whatever you might want to call it – provide the listener with a different set of emotions. The band does even take it so far as to compose music that is so calm and inoffensive – What a Bird Bore Away Over the Deep Ocean – that one might describe it as something on the other side of the spectrum; when you use the black metal parts as the other extreme.

When you take a look at the lyrics, then something odd or interesting – depends on certain preferences on the side of the listener – might unravel themselves. Unlike a lot of other black metal bands, here the idea behind the texts is something different; this would be true for both releases. No satanic clichés appear here and also no call to arms in order to fight Christianity. Mysticism of a peculiar kind is the red line which binds those two releases somehow together; even though the actual content is not connected. Philosophical in style and with references to Hegel for instance, this American band wants to step out of the shadow of the ordinary approach, which has been done to death. Memories on Satyricon and the metaphorical language in the texts are evoked and Jute Gyte wants you to listen and to read, wants you take some time and to figure out the meaning behind it all. Some examples will make this clear:

  • 1: A world of automatic doors and concrete dinosaurs. Cherubs born of depleted uranium.
    (taken from Glory At Hand; Young Eagle)

  • 2: In winter we make the spring. In summer, the harvesting.
    (taken from What a Bird Bore Away Over the Deep Ocean; Young Eagle)

  • 3: The beasts arrive in waves. All are slain, infolaser rounds exiting their bodies from obscenely large wounds before extinguishing.
    (taken from Waves; Old Ways)

    So, we have sort of dystopian, post-apocalyptic impressions (1), Blake-inspired mysticism (2) and somehow science-fiction like stories (3). Of course the music reflects this in some respect: 2 would be a calm and ambient/acoustic piece to name one example.

    Again, the band seems not to be entirely sure on which path to walk upon. Would it be appropriate to follow the acoustic and atmospheric one or is the metal and noisy one. Similar to the other album discussed above, Jute Gyte has some difficulties in getting their stuff done right. Maybe it has to do something with the point of view from which someone actually approaches this kind of art, but the lack of consistency, these absurd switches and breaks in the style are not only disturbing but they fail to create a lasting impression; aside from the one named boredom. Those elements do not fit into the rest of the art and could easily be used for other purposes and it would not make a penny of a difference. When you take a look on the discography of the band, then you will notice what kind of facets the oeuvre consists of. There is the electronic side and there is the metal side… but when you merge them together, like to was attempted on these two releases, then they appear rather separate from each other and not coherent. Well, it is easier this way, but the outcome is all too obvious: partial shallowness, no synergy effects and confusing arrangements.

    On the positive side can be noted that the band worked on their art and got rid of these endless monotonous passages and replaced them with something more friendly to the ear. Switches in tempo, breaks and interludes make an appearance in one way or another. And even though the performance is still not convincing and fails to impress thoroughly, it is at least preferable over the one on Old Ways. This is neither good nor bad. It is something strange or odd, and while it is possible to listen to it, to reach the level of being ‘entirely enjoyable’ would be too far-fetched. Some nice moments can be found on this recording, but the negative ones have an impact as well.

    Based on a review originally written for ‘A dead spot of light (Number 7)’:
  • An exhilarating turn towards violence - 91%

    lord_ghengis, July 23rd, 2010

    Young Eagle, the second foray into black metal by typically industrial/noise focussed musician Adam Kalmbach is an impressive piece of oppressive, devastating raw art. It's not ultra grim, nor is it needlessly harsh in production value, instead Jute Gyte hit us with wave after wave of merciless riffs, surprising stylistic changes and harrowing vocals. This achieves in being what most one man BM bands want to so badly without resorting to a single cliché or accepted norm.

    Jute Gyte's previous journey into black metal was more or less standard raw black metal with a noise twist and better sound than many, this one shows a much further development musically and conceptually. No longer is the music simply Darkthrone worship with the odd disturbing noise effect thrown in, Adam Kalmbach instead chooses to offer us a pretty cool mix of the aforementioned Darkthrone, more vicious faster black metal riffing, occasional melody, some crushing mid paced riffage, and a few avant-garde leanings in the forms of noisier sections, ambient sections, haunting acoustics or creepy almost industrial touches. Despite the plethora of directions this album goes at times, by and large this release is all about the metal, and considering the largely unassuming nature of Old Ways it's a nice shock. This release hits in so many more ways than pretty much all the other ultra grim raw BM bands could ever dream.

    This does genre hop quite a lot from song to song, but luckily the songs themselves tend to stick to one or two styles for their duration, instead the mix and match nature of the album is really only noticeable over the course of the whole running of Young Eagle, each song remains an understandable, logical entity. It's isn't as flawless in it's flow as last time, but the music itself is so much more exciting and full of ideas that it's pretty forgivable. Some of the slower sections, most notably the off-time groove in the second song never really fits in among the violent blasting that surrounds it on all sides.

    The album does lose out a little on the noise and effect side of things when compared to Old Ways, as there’s nothing from that side of the band that comes close to touching "Round", but the massive improvement in black metal quality more than makes up for it. This definitely is not a part of black/noise style like the previously mentioned album, this is genuine black metal through and through with experimental touches popping up every now and then. The first two songs alone showcase more improved riff layering, more complex riffs, weird atonal melody, and amazing vocals than occurred over the whole duration of the previous album. This is just as thrilling as it is devastating and malevolent, which takes to a whole different level of greatness. Something like the weird atonal jamming around 5 minutes through “Glory at Hand” simply wouldn't have worked before, but this busier, more exciting, blast-beat laden music helps Kalmbach explore all of these new areas and ideas. This isn't by the numbers black metal either, the riffs are ever shifting between melody and atonality, apart from "The Might of Ash Spears" almost every moment of this release feels fresh, yet it doesn't lose any quality in its pursuit of originality.

    Vocally, Kalmbach has improved tenfold, in the past his standard black metal rasping was solid enough, but not all that impressive, this time around he goes all out in his screams. It worked for Anaal Nathrakh and it works here, it's intense, huge, unique and just as vile and destructive as the music demands it to be. Along with this he tries his hand at clean vocals on "What a Bird Bore Away Over the Deep Ocean", which are certainly bearable, but nothing to write home about by any means.

    Guitar-wise this album is miles ahead of his previous work just two years prior as well. To imagine Jute Gyte releasing something like the title track or "See the Abandoned Throng" compared to the project's earlier black metal effort is hard to comprehend. It's just on a whole different level of technicality, competency and originality and is where the album truly shines. The guitar based sections are largely a mix between standard fast buzzing riffs, weird lead melodies, and chugging midpaced grooves, and apart from a couple of the mid paced riffs, it's all of A-grade quality.

    The other noticeable changes in sound are the drums, which are now fully realised and meaty helping the music step free of it's bedroom BM constraints and become something which appeals on levels beyond simply grimness. The new shift towards blasting and intensity certainly helps the music belt your face in quite a lot more. Secondly is the use of keys, which have several opportunities to really shine and take control, such as the middle section of "Young Eagle" or "The Flower and the Chain" are quite new areas for the project to explore. With all the various directions this album throws us in there are 4 or 5 more albums worth of ideas here that could be expanded on in the future.

    This is one of the most impressive black metal releases I've heard in the last few years, particularly the first two songs and the title track, it maintains the harsh atmosphere that the genre strives for, still sounds unique and sonically appealing. This is experimental but it never really threatens to be a mess, I suppose it could be flawed for trying maybe a few too many things over the duration, but the quality of the metal is outstanding. In fact the only songs which didn't leave me impressed were the acoustic, "What a Bird Bore Away Over the Deep Ocean" and the most typical number, "The Might of Ash Spears". This is vicious, hateful music delivered in ways which are both familiar and surprising combining extremely well composed black metal with the various experimental elements, giving an exceptional balance between the two.

    This is the day of Your sweetest mercy - 82%

    autothrall, July 7th, 2010

    Young Eagle is another excursion into the realm of the unholy impulse below the existence of all thinking beings, courtesy of Missouri noise musicians Adam Kalmbach. It is the 6th long player from the Jute Gyte project, and while a worthwhile successor to Old Ways, it actually expands upon those ideals and takes the aggressive maneuvering into new directions, untapped abysses through which a broader palette of atrocities are committed. For a great deal of its playtime, Young Eagle is simply not as noisy as its spiritual predecessor. The harsh distortion that once was the rule is now the exception, but Kalmbach's brutal delivery is carried out through other means on this 61 minute audio terrorist extravaganza.

    Kalmbach maintains the early, unrepentant black metal influence, but here it is amped up through a generally faster execution. He's also come some way as a guitarist for this, and incorporates some nigh on technical noodling and busier rhythms, which make a very interesting dent on the poetic, smoggy din of the percussive landscape. The drums are patterned in a mix of straight rock, metal and varied patterns, and and there's a strong presence of the distorted bass here, which I barely noticed on the prior work. Young Eagle is a more potentially random experience, as songs will segue in and out of depressive, slightly distorted guitars-only passages or other diversions. It's still highly destructive, despite the fact its easier on the ears, and I'm reminded of what might occur if some avant-garde luminary like John Zorn danced on the precipice of black metal, rather than the Merzbow meets Burzum & Darkthrone feeling that permeated Old Ways.

    The heretical floe of sewage begins with "See the Abandoned Throng", a rather straight black piece with chugging, strange bass and drums that often seem as if they're moving so quickly you can no longer hear them. If Transilvanian Hunger were re-written as a concept album about the abandoned caverns and sewers beneath and beside a metropolitan subway system, it might have come across something like this, though I doubt the Norse would have incorporated the schizoid guitar weaves and chugging patterns that break up the crashing forceful gale of the verse. "Glory at Hand" explores the dynamic contrast between slow, dirty guitar drone and grim, blasted hubris, with some sludgy rock rhythms added, for over 11 minutes, while "The Wine-Halls Are Crumbling", one of the albums best tracks, micro-manages dingy guitars, a muddied, subtle pipework of throbbing bass and the overall feeling that your brain is being extracted through your ears and nostrils by a very clever mind flayer who doesn't wish to tamper with your skull, instead saving it as a trophy for his lair.

    In another stark contrast, the album moves into the gloom of a rolling ambient piece, "What a Bird Bore away Overwith clean guitars, soon layered in the cystic fibrosis of hell-scarred distortion winds, with some trippy, moaning vocals that I was not expecting. "The Might of Ash Spears" transforms from an acoustic guitar intro to a chugging, bizarre metal force, later affixed with strange electronic signals like aliens trying to break a communication satellite code. "Young Eagle" is pretty much a straight black rocker with some strange start/stop drumming and a melancholic, off-kilter guitar melody that arrives above some distorted, retch inducing vocals. "The Flower and the Chain" explores a jarring, desperate piano line with an unnerving mix of subtle dark ambient architecture and summery sounds of nature.

    The lyrical talent here remains impeccable, and perhaps superior to that found on Old Ways, though the imagery being conveyed has the benefit of grasping from a wider collage of images both beautiful and frightening. Many noise artists or noise/black artists do not even attempt to incorporate lyrics into their composition, much less good ones, so Jute Gyte remains a treat to the imagination, an added dimension that elevates the listener to a rapture of both sound and word. Yet some of the statements are noticeably subtle, and gentle in their passing:

    In winter we make the spring. In summer, the harvesting. I feel the nothing accumulate as days go by. I feel the weight of every passing sun and moon. In autumn we search and store. In springtime, we wanted more.

    Though some of its contents are superior to the previous album I've listened through, I did find Young Eagle a touch less consistent. Several of the tracks are brilliant and breathtaking, like "The Wind-Halls are Crumbling", "What a Bird Bore Away Over the Deep Ocean", and "The Flower and the Chain", or for the aggressive fare "See the Abandoned Throng" and "Glory at Hand". However, "The Might of Ash Spears" and "Young Eagle" had a few minutes there that I could have lived without, where suddenly the album felt a lot less interesting than I'd expect of Jute Gyte, largely due to some mediocre metal riffing tucked in there. Still, for an album that is largely diverse and experimental, it rather holds its conflicted aural imagery together well, and still worth purchasing. What it might lack in coherence it compensates for with an increase in sheer musical skill, and the inclusion of the pianos and more ambient range from other, non-metal Jute Gyte efforts is welcome. Combined with its curious packaging (DVD case, lyric sheet, minimal black/white text and cover image) it makes for another exquisite journey into a nexus of corrosion and rainbow light.