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Technically solid but EP lacks a distinctive style - 65%

NausikaDalazBlindaz, June 5th, 2014

As of this time of writing, recent events in Odesa concerning the massacre of pro-federalism rally activists by fascists hiding in the city's Trade Union Building who then masked their murders by burning the building and the way these incidents were covered in the Western news media have left me with very few illusions about the capacity (or rather, non-capacity) of mainstream news to stick to accuracy and truth in their reporting. Well, let's turn to Odesa-based band White Ward to enlighten us about the reality of life as they see it in their 2012 EP "Illusions". And illusions these guys certainly do not hold about life generally! This EP is a 25-minute taste-test consisting of three songs.

Track 1 "Walls" begins solidly with an extended introduction of introspective solo guitar flanked by steady percussion and rumbling storm weather field recording ambience leading into a post-BM song about alienation and the realisation that one's assumed life is nothing but … illusion, and real life is empty void. The musicianship may be consistent but the music itself springs no original surprises from left of centre and listeners are left with a fairly generic piece that doesn’t anything they've not heard before in this genre of black metal. "Guilty If I" continues in a similar style with the addition of occasional melodies on piano. The rhythm and bass lines are strong and lay down a powerful base for the rest of the music to fly over, especially a shrill lead guitar solo in the later part of the song. A rather too steady pace detracts from the song's impact though and energy and forcefulness are lacking.

Onto the last track we go and while this is as technically solid and consistent as the others, again it turns out a bit too workman-like and not inspired or distinctively "White Ward". As on the other tracks here, the lead guitar solos are quite good if not very impassioned and fiery, and perhaps the best moment on this song and on the EP generally comes right at the very end when the lead guitarists lets off a clarion call to sleepy-heads to wake up and realise that they too may be sleepwalking through life and need to divest themselves of their own illusions.

The EP does a good job in introducing White Ward to a wider audience and if the band were shopping their work around to interested labels, this recording, touched up with a few additions like maybe a more distinct ambience in the music and a more individual sound in the guitars, would be ideal. On future recordings though, the WW guys need to rethink their songwriting and playing approach because the music as it is, is not distinctive enough to fight against an ever-growing horde of melancholy and depressive post-BM / shoegazer bands all baying for our attention.