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Quite Unlike the Waves - 65%

BeholdtheNicktopus, November 7th, 2013

Waves crash on what can only be a deserted beach. A plaintive note announces itself. Then it stops. Shiny, well-produced guitars overpower what might have been a build-up. Instead, we have a long, plodding introduction utterly lacking in dynamics. Chords are repetitively struck, as if announcing something that hasn't yet shown up, almost fanfare-like. Finally, in comes the blast beat section—but is it that long-awaited thing? No, it's actually pretty dull and uninspired. Everything here is sterilized, carefully controlled, and thus lacking in that continual overstepping that makes long-winded black metal great. There's a lot of repetition here, not necessarily on the level of notes, but more glaringly on the level of dynamics and progression. Sure, some acoustic notes invite one to take part in the dry atmosphere, but they quickly recede as if produced only to show off, to present to the listener some type of display-value.

Finally, about two-thirds of the way through the first of the two tracks, we get a good riff, one that integrates the acoustic and electric parts fairly well. Again, it's not fantastic, but at least it had more energy, if only for a second. This is more or less WITTR minus the mystical atmosphere, minus the energy and anarchic abandon. In fact, for a release having only two mega-length songs, atmosphere ought to be the one thing guaranteed. Unfortunately, the songs are dry and in-between, neither progressing in a sensible way nor building atmosphere through repetition. Loosely speaking, this is more an attempt to do atmospheric metal without atmosphere, an interesting exercise, but it doesn't make for a particularly good album.

The second track is quite a bit better than the first due to the greater degree of difference between the riffs, but that can't make up for the dull half-blasts and forgettable melodies. Don't get me wrong, there are a number of good moments on the album, mostly contained in the second track, but it is overall only decent. If the music were allowed to build in emotional intensity, to really concentrate itself into unique moments, to not force itself into mostly uninteresting melodies, to let the songs grow and crash like the waves at the beginning of the album, then perhaps Lake of Blood could really do something great.