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Not Bad, Just Pointless - 50%

Sean16, June 9th, 2009

I obtained a free copy of this release in a pretty surprising, unexpected fashion which would be of little interest detailing here; but still I somehow felt the need to justify, if only to myself, writing a review for something which doesn’t happen to be worth any sustained attention. Hell at least you thought from a guy who had among others played in Impaled Nazarene a minimal amount of energy could have been expected. Though, even before hearing the music it may be highly suspected, looking at the artwork or the songtitles (By the Moonlight! All Love is Gone!), this recording is likely to rely heavily on the so-called introspective, emotional string; without mentioning the token avant-garde touch almost mandatory for a band to be signed on Holy Records. All this meaning in other words: BORING.

The prospect of a guy half-asleep on his electric guitar keeping on playing a suite of unimaginative, slow mid-tempo gothic riffs for fifty minutes doesn’t sound anything like exciting. Well, this release isn’t, because it’s basically what it consists in. We’re in the typical case where the songs are short, but seem to drag on for ages for the reason they’re all fully predictable once their first thirty seconds have elapsed. If there’s some reminiscence of depressive rock a la Katatonia here (especially in a song like All Love is Gone), at least Katatonia does it with some distinctive feel. Granted, the singing sounds a bit surprising at first listen as while deep, low-pitched clean vocals would have been thought to be the logical complement to this kind of music, the band opted for an exclusively harsh, almost black-ish voice instead. However as it’s as characterless as everything else here the listener quickly gets used to it, and goes back to sleep. There’s eventually a lick of keyboards, but those aren’t the most prominent feature – some common epic layers on Legend as well as on a couple of others tracks, some piano in the intro of Wolves Honey Wolves, or a lonely note on the first twenty seconds of the album (this one must account for the aforementioned token avant-garde touch, as must the ending thirty seconds of looped indus noise). Note that the thirteen tracks are undeniably different, though. Even if the mood remains fully homogeneous there’s still some kind of variety: unfortunately, everything is equally uninteresting.

Still the most frustrating here is the fact the musicians, obviously, can do better. The drumming is on the vast majority of songs elementary, even simplistic, closer to rock than metal, and the cyclic appearance of military drum rolls appears like a welcomed monotony-breaker. Though, on a track like Luciette it becomes obvious the guy can actually play the drums, and play them well; so why couldn’t he display the full extent of his talent on the whole album? The same could be said about the guitars, their flat-as-Earth riffs, and the total absence of genuine solos: once again one gets the unpleasant feeling Kimmo Luttinen is wasting his time, and so does the listener. On a sidenote the reason why, playing all other instruments, he nonetheless cared for recruiting a bassist will remain a mystery given the bass isn’t anything outstanding either, and certainly nothing he couldn’t have played by himself.

Good tracks? Bad tracks? There aren’t any, there just can’t be any. “Good” or “bad” would imply some relief, some bumps, some personality. I can’t even objectively say why a couple of tracks – Bloodred Sunset, Wolves Honey Wolves, All Love is Gone – managed to fleetingly catch my attention. Maybe are those a tad more energetic, a tad more personal? Hard to tell. In fact, this is just the kind of release I can’t find a valid reason for the existence of to begin with. The band couldn’t seriously have considered getting any success or money from it. It doesn’t convey any kind of message either. On a mere artistic perspective, there isn’t a single bit of it which hasn’t been recorded elsewhere. And, more important of all, the musicians themselves don’t seem to have taken any pleasure in recording it. Now tell me, where’s the point?

Highlights: Bloodred Sunset, Wolves Honey Wolves, All Love is Gone