Wednesday, 2 June 2010

I did some harsh editing on a few articles a while back. It was mostly part of an experiment to see where my own refinement would lead me. I thought it went well, and it was pretty fun too. Below are two articles which I felt read better.

Devin Townsend Project, Addicted! 2009

My first published attempt: Album Review: Devin Townsend Project - Addicted!

Blue-penciled attempt:

To the cynic, each Devin Townsend Project is simply new personnel with a different focus in its crosshairs. Perhaps part of the ploy, but the announcement of the project and in particular, the release of Ki shook the metal world into recognising how Townsend would react to his post Strapping Young Lad present. Ki was at the very least a success. It spanned of everything deep within the Townsend vein, marvelling a level of unpredictability rarely found in his metallic archive, which even scribed defining nuances into American prog rock. The following from Ki, “Addicted!” was set to be deflation, as the press release indicated a collectively ‘more fun and straight to the point’ record. Addicted! is Townsends most direct reaction to the SYL break-up (as stated in numerous interviews), and he wants us all to know, setting this record commercially humble and to strike worldwide appeal.

If warning shots were fired by Townsend prior to the eventual criticism of Addicted! then we’ve taken two the chest. He’s dead right, Addicted! has no where near the same care or depth associated with Ki. Instead the ethos of ‘let’s rock’ is Townsend’s mantra behind everything on the album. There’s not meant to be any undertones, it’s not meant to have a heavy handed metaphor, it’s just meant to rock’n’roll with enough impact commercially to make a boom. And that it does, very well.

Taking in the guile on the production, first time around however, isn’t exactly rock’n’roll. The amount of layering, and added quirky decals, makes Addicted! Townsend’s wackiest achievement in his chronology. “Universe In A Ball!” goes a long way for an explanation. It begins on a metal hammer, but mid way through adapts a silent-era, circus screen-play, only to throw us back into a wall of heavy metal. Surprisingly this is all pulled off with an elegance of realisation, that these elements swim with each other in the same water comfortably, yet somehow are centuries apart - and it’s a testament to Townsend, that he’s been able to weave it all together. There’s much to say about the others on the record too. “Bend It Like Bender!” claims the pop crown on Addicted! It retains a heavy metal coefficient but at the same time, can side by Weezer for a radio friendly rock-out tune. Whilst the self titled track “Addicted!” maintains a darker, and heavier weight, reminiscent of Strapping Young Lads early work. “Awake!” has much disco jive to it, and industrially fades out the album on a typical dance pulse.
7.5/10 Posted on Sputnik Music

Dioramic, Technicolor 2010

First attempt: Album Review: Dioramic - Technicolor

Blue-penciled attempt:

Technicolor’s press release is riddled with the sorts of hyperbole best described as inextricably pretentious. Language like “Art-core” (not hardcore), “opposing acoustic concepts”, and “scientific law”, already say much about a band with a lot to say, but in the completely wrong way. This not at the very least, proves a massive disservice to Dioramics music (if I’m allowed to mention ‘Dioramics music’ in one swoop without breaking sweat, aligning them with the stars and some sort of theory about the abacus) misleading you every word.

This is Lifeforce Records first 2010 offering. And, whilst the underwhelment doesn’t take long to kick in, it says much for the attitude of the label. That being, a willingness to publish ambitious projects that wriggle far from the conventional, and we can only applaud Lifeforce and Dioramic for their efforts, if even the finishing line hasn’t been quite reached. Notably this is Dioramic’s full length debut, with only uploads and an EP to have completed their otherwise baby-steps to inception. If you feel that’s enough to warrant a sympathised critique, we digress; there’s enough promise present on Technicolor to recognise the trio amongst others, but not near enough nous needed to pull off this technical, progressive and hardcore experiment.

Dioramics meat and vegetables (like most technical acts) is their guitar riffing, fulfilling mostly a melodic component on the record. The shifting flavour of the ‘chug’ and chord progressions throughout the guitar playing, help give Technicolor a diverse complement, as finding both played at the same time (in the said genres), is rare at best. The vocal floats between clean and higher pitched yelps that are reminiscent of Freak Kitchens, Christer Örtefors. It being second seated beside the guitars, it lacks the muscle needed to punch above them, instead creating melodic layers often lost within the guitars mid and fuzzy frequencies or quasi technical plucking. You’ll find a very strong and talented drum performance present, adding the needed flex of a percussive undercurrent, along with the bass throbbing taking the back seat. Samples are often thrown in, adding further depth to the tracks, and invariably Dioramic do experiment with various instruments across the board, which help only to mix things up.

With so many ideas flowing around the mix at once, Technicolor ultimately fails to come to the boil on any of its laurels (its progressive nature, its hardcore nature, and its art). What strikes, as most disappointing is the records broken structure, with each track feeling 50% complete, whilst the other half begins or ends in a complete slouch. The complete material lends a hand at demonstrating the potential for this act, but also reinforces that Dioramic’s ideas have no were near been fully realised. Its artistic ideas overflow genius, but it’s piecing together into one coherent package, is clumsy and ineffective. This is great art, poor execution.

A 2010 reboot by Lifeforce that comes across average at best. 6/10

Posted on Sputnik Music

Posted by Posted by Andy at 10:58 pm
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