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Post Rock anyone? - 63%

nilgoun, December 18th, 2011

The introduction is done quite well, as it carries a lot of atmosphere and has a lot of details in it, but it also disguises the true intention of the record a bit. There are melancholic guitar melodies accompanied with equally melancholic piano sounds and everything is underlined with the sound of a clock ticking. As you could get the impression, that the record will be another post-black metal record with some social critic intentions you are totally wrong, as you will realize some tracks later that Tales Of Wanderings is simply an indie/depressive rock record without real highlights. At least the instrumental passages are well done though, but there are some points that are badly going wrong on this record.

As I said before, the instruments are well played, but who would have thought otherwise, as he or she read that the members of Drudkh were responsible and Alcest isn’t bad either. The root of all evil can be found in the general composition: The fundament of the songs is done through really shallow melodies which have nothing im common with black metal and there is nearly no tremolo picking on the whole record. The whole sound reminds of post-rock and the songs are similar structured. The drums are playing mostly standard beats with some really slow blasts appearing now and then. Post-rock influences doesn’t have to be bad, as Drudkh have shown with their latest output A Handful Of Stars which was hardly post-rock influenced. If you take some songs of their latest output and slash all the black metal roots you’ll come to the sound of Tales Of Wanderings which could scare the Drudkh fans off.

The vocals are somewhat monotonous and completely clear on the whole record, although they are mostly deeper than the ones on the Alcest records. If he uses the high-pitched, spherical ones the songs usually gets a bit more exciting as they are merging with the orchestration which results in really beautiful moments. The songs are nevertheless mostly surfing on a big wave of easy accesible melodies without big variation and they rely on dense layers of guitar sound which everybody knows from several other records and even the sparsely sawn piano melodies can’t really make up for the lack of highlights, though. To conclude with some positive points: The production is done really well, as the instruments have enough room to breath. The bass lines are quite convincing and I like the allusion of Star Catcher to A Handful Of Stars in terms of melody and its name, although the track in general is quite boring.

Conclusion:

Tales Of Wanderings is a mediocre record which can’t really stand out of the flood of records in the post-rock genre. You surely could be drawn into the atmosphere for a while, at least if you like the romantic atmosphere and if you can ignore the lack of highlights, but the half-life period is quite low either way. The record will be fine, if you want something you can listen to while doing other stuff but it’s nothing you would like to enjoy while concentrating on the songs, as they are a bit monotonous. The lack of black metal elements is the main flaw of the record which surely can be tracked back to my expectations, as the record is way worse than everything both, Drudkh and Neige, ever produced before. If you are really into the stuff Neige is doing you could try listening to it anyways and you should like it.

Originally written for http://threnodies.com