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Vladimir's Change, Our Crushed Harmony: New Sound - 76%

Riven Obyss, July 28th, 2016
Written based on this version: 2015, CD, Apathia Records (Digipak)

Weeping Birth was my first "true" extreme metal band that I had listened to over a year ago and with the expertise of Vladimir Cochet, I think it was a good place to start.

The Crushed Harmony was specifically my first album from Vladimir Cochet and Weeping Birth, but this album by far, is his most tame if you can imagine that by the overall genre of music styles that is showcased on this site. This was surprising when I finished this album and went back to his earlier work, thus revealing that Weeping Birth may not be at it's peak in my opinion. With that said, it doesn't spoil anything for me, it gets straight into the brutality, but with less outright hate and anger. The Crushed Harmony shows a very major turn in music style for Vladimir and for Weeping Birth. Earlier works showed some very disturbing ideas from Vladimir and they were almost flawlessly translated to multiple full length albums. This album doesn't do that at all for me, it shows me a very different idea from Vladimir, almost like he has slowed down to give us a much more melodic album, whether that is a good or bad thing is up to you.

Instantly from the first song, The Crushed Harmony gives the impression that it will be a much more (in terms of production) polished than Anosognosic Industry of the I. But to me, the more polished production and sound helped me hear those crushing drop tuned guitars and the usual blast beats that Vladimir likes to put in his music. It gave songs like the first opening track "Atonality" some very heavy introduction, especially considering that Vladimir does play in a lower tuning, so given that the quality of the production is up, you can really hear the guitars vicious and guttural entrance to the album. A few other songs give off some strange departure in the music style that you would usually hear from this artist, like the song "Meant To Be Wrecked" is full of guitar solos, many of which do fit the song, but are so common place that you could flip through the song time stamps and probably hear a guitar solo more times than you would like. Another very strange and almost completely out of place song is "Sunburnt". The track needs to be touched on to understand it's out of place nature, it opens with a break-down guitar riff and quickly turns into the regular melodic music you would hear on this album, then it backtracks and returns to the break-down riffs at the mid-section and at the end of the song and finally closes with a fade out of the music after a admittedly enjoyable vocal passage. Vladimir to my knowledge has never done a song like this in any of his solo projects, so it is a strange departure from the usual. Some would call the album inconsistent and all over the place on their first listen, but I have listened to the album quite a few times and I can say that I wouldn't share the same criticism with that person.

The drums are just the same in production quality as the guitars this time around, more clear but less outright insane. They also feel more mechanical and less "organic" than previously displayed, which may possibly give off a feeling of lifelessness to the album in some listeners minds. But that didn't stop the drumming from being any less impressive since Vladimir does it all through programming, considering that some drummers wouldn't be able to deliver drumming skill even compared to a more tame programming from Vladimir in many years of practicing.

The overall sound of the album is less "evil" and sickening and more a treat for the ears of any person who adores heavy music. The album is also much shorter than anything Vladimir had put out as a full length album. Timing this album and looking at the finished song listing clocks it in only at a measly second away from being thirty-two minutes! That's horribly short for most listeners of extreme music and certainly too short for me, making it one of the biggest issues I have with this album. I would also like to point out that most of the songs are dreadfully short compared to earlier songs created by the same band and Vladimir's other solo projects. Examples like "A Surface", "Resurrection of Resentment" and "Hollow" showcase the incredibly short song structures of the album, all of those clock in under three minutes. Because of this short song structure, these songs fly by so quickly, you might as well have listened to a very well produced demo instead of a full length album.

Overall my feelings toward this album is that it comes along very quickly, but ends too soon. It delivers heavy riffs and very strange departures from the usual style of Weeping Birth, but gives in my opinion some enjoyable, but very short songs which can be listened to on the fly. Some could argue that Weeping Birth or any of the other projects of Vladimir are not intended to be listened to on the fly or quickly rushed through, but this album is what it is, meaning that it's more accessible and much easier to listen to than anything he has ever put out.

Finishing the album will probably leave you wanting more, if not giving you a teaser of the other music that has come from Weeping Birth. I suggest using this album as a placeholder for what is to come, holding back the itch or the fever for further release.

My favorite songs on the release:

- "Hatefilled"
- "Life In A Blood Spasm"
- "The Crushed Harmony"