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Johan Klovsjö (Göteborg, Sweden)

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Offered by jim-exselecky
Price: £7.95

6 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars New Directions!, 19 Sep 2011
This review is from: Heritage (Audio CD)
Some may have already heard the pre-released song from the album, The Devil's Orchard, and so you got a taste of what this album is like. But I wouldn't say any one song on Heritage is able to represent the whole album. And if you're expecting something like Damnation (2003), you're way off. So prepare to be surprised!

There is a logical progression from the previous album, Watershed (2008), to Heritage, but the leap is quite far. There are no death vocals on this one, only clean singing, and it suits the album perfectly. The metal sound is rarely on the heavy side (for one used to Opeth's previous albums), and there certainly isn't the kind of powerful blazing guitars and drums we're used to. Instead there's more of an exploration of sounds and melodies, which are allowed to reverberate through the whole album. The music can leap from evil, psychedelic flute sounds to spanish guitars, with an interlude from an off-tempo piano diddle. The opening of track 9: Folklore, for instance, sounds just like an old Swedish folk song, except it's played by an electric guitar. This is possibly my favourite track, but at least partly because of the beautiful way it makes the album come to a strong climax before the final instrumental song. It all works out in a magical way.

I read a pro review that claimed something like Heritage being a trial on the potency of metal, and I couldn't agree more. The album is thoroughly progressive and experimental, utilising a lot of old 60-70's hard rock influennces mixed with Opeth's classic sound and song building. No song on the album ever takes the easy way out, but progresses in unexpected ways that may at first be hard to understand. Naturally, this makes Heritage one of those albums you got to listen to several times in order to come to grips with it. The reward comes when you do.

I'd call this Opeth's strongest release since Blackwater park in 2001. And here's to 20 more years... cheers.

Invisible White
Invisible White
Offered by Fulfillment Express
Price: £8.75

4.0 out of 5 stars Off-track interlude between full-lengths., 13 Sep 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Invisible White (Audio CD)
I found Ancestor's record Of Sound Mind sometime 2010, and since then it has become one of my most played, though it's a new style for me. Other fans of that album will only recognise the 14-minute closing song Epilogue from this EP. The two previous songs are much more mellow and laid back.

If you're unfamiliar with the band, they play a heavily 70s influenced progressive rock with some psychedelic tendencies, with long mammoth pieces (10-20 min) being their trade mark.

The opening title track starts off as a lullaby, but builds after a few minutes to a lamenting ballad of slow guitars and a high note organ/keyboard.
The second track, Dust, is another ballad more focused on the vocals with slow guitars and other sounds beating easily in the background.

Both those songs are well-made and quite moody, but you can't exactly get into the EP expecting something that will rock you.

The closing instrumental Epilogue is something else altogether though. In my opinion it could fit very well onto Of Sound Mind. It's 14 minutes and has two sections of similar lengths. It starts off centred around a key-striking melody on keyboard. Guitar and drums soon pick up to enhance and eventually take over. It goes into a lull and picks up the beginning of what after some minutes will be a crescendo for the first section of the song. It's heavy on guitars and drums by now. The song building here reminds me a lot of the band ISIS who were masters at creating long winding melodies building to a glorious climax. After 7 minutes the first section is over, the song goes into another lull before picking up a new version of the melody, centred on a guitar solo, which will break through to the end in a magnificent finish. I love this song, and have to hear it over and over again.

As the band mentioned on their facebook page, this EP is something they produced a bit on the side of the direction in which their new album will take, which should be more logically a follow-up to Of Sound Mind. But it's a good EP, and fans of the previous record will love it simply for "Epilogue", or hopefully for all three tracks.

Evinta -Deluxe-
Evinta -Deluxe-
Offered by Vinylhead
Price: £19.99

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Collector's Item, 17 Jun 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Evinta -Deluxe- (Audio CD)
This review pertains to the Deluxe version of the product. As for the music on these discs, see my review on the regular edition. I will just add that the music on the extra disc follows suit. But the total runtime is less than 130 minutes and could have fitted on two discs as well, which is why some buyers of the regular edition may feel cheated.

This version comes with a fine quality 64-page hardback booklet, in which the discs lie. These 64 pages contain the same information and images as the 16 page booklet for the standard edition, but in larger format (almost the size of a vinyl sleeve). The rest of the pages contain more images in the same style, but no more text except the lyrics to the new songs.

So this is purely a collector's item, though if you really liked the music on the standard edition you will also enjoy the extra 40 minutes on the third disc here, which is of equal quality to the first two.

Evinta (Standard Edition)
Evinta (Standard Edition)
Offered by Vinylhead
Price: £4.99

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars New soundscapes for old melodies, 4 Jun 2011
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If you didn't know it already, this is NOT the new My Dying Bride Album!

This is an experiment with an almost completely new sound and feel. There are recognisable elements of the band's sound, and certainly some old melodies that are the basis for these new songs. The result is completely different, though, and you won't feel cheated that they re-used old stuff.

Think of bands like "Autumn Tears" or "Elend" and you are on the right track to figuring out what kind of music this is, or certain instrumentals from Cradle of Filth (Humana Inspired to Nightmare, The Graveyard by Moonlight) though My Dying Bride takes it one step further in removing the music from Metal. This is slower and more peaceful music than any of that. The operatic sound is more prevalent, especially in the arias by the female singer. Aaron Stainthorpe's vocals are familiar in his spoken lines from earlier songs. Long instrumental passages with cello, viola, and an ethereal synth create atmosphere, deep soundspaces, and melancholia, though sometimes the theme is more hopeful.

The result is definitely interesting, and beautiful I think. Doomy and gloomy in a softer version, more pensive, far away from metal.

I think it's great, but you have to be open to new ideas, and I doubt everyone will like it.

Price: £13.84

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Death to Doom., 22 Jan 2011
This review is from: V (Audio CD)
"Best of modern Doom" was proudly boasted on the wrapping to my purchase. In that case, let's go back to the early 00's...

While there are some interesting bits in this album, I don't feel there was much innovation or bravery in the sound. It's very laid back, familiar melodies in different sounds, but a lot of the time just falling back on a rhythmic doom-doom-doom beating with heavy guitars and percussions. Vocals are OK, could use more variation (like the melodies). It seems that they have gone for the heaviest possible sound, whatever the melody/instrument/lyrics. I wouldn't call it so much Doom metal as slow Death metal.
But some songs are fine and well worth a listen. I guess you should do as was also mentioned on my wrapping: play it loud! It's definitely that kind of music. But if you have listened to them before, or were recommended, I suggest you move on to Kongh - Counting Heartbeats. An album in the same style/sound, but which is much more inventive.

Unearthly Trance will have to do better to keep me interested in another album.

Marrow Of The Spirit
Marrow Of The Spirit
Price: £14.74

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An infusion of power, 13 Jan 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Marrow Of The Spirit (Audio CD)
Like all *really* good albums, this one takes a while to get into. At first listen it just seems more extreme and not as well-built as previous albums. But after listen 4 or 5 you start to really get it. The strong and intricate melodies are there, the definitive Agalloch sound shines through.

So what have we here? Is it the next logical step for the band? I'd say yes, the previous three albums are way more alike to each other than any of them is to Marrow of the Spirit. This one explores new highs and new lows, progressive metal at its best.

Agalloch fans need not hesitate in buying this new piece. And for others, if you're a fan of bands like Isis or Opeth, you definitely need to give this a try.
Great stuff!

Attack and Release
Attack and Release
Price: £9.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A rocking gem!, 1 July 2010
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Attack and Release (Audio CD)
I am a long time heavy metaller (mainly death/doom metal) that happened to see the live version of track #2 "I got mine" from abbey road on Swedish TV. I got curious and tried out the rest of this album. It's a cool piece with a lot of rock n' roll. Admittedly the best track, #2, is a cover, but the rest of the album is great too. Since this is far from my usual listening I can't describe it very well, I just wanted to give it my rating. One star knocked off for being slightly too slow for my taste sometimes, and a short-ish album. You can never have too much rock n roll in an album after all!
Anyway, this music works well to vary my heavier music with, great songs.

The Circle of Reason
The Circle of Reason
by Amitav Ghosh
Edition: Paperback

18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Reason rules passion, 18 April 2006
This review is from: The Circle of Reason (Paperback)
I recently finished my second Amitav Ghosh book: The Circle of Reason. But there's no way to compare this to the other book, The Hungry Tide, for they have nothing in common.

The 'circle' was an interesting read... but it felt a bit disconnected. Everything and everyone had its story, but it didn't seem to fit so well together. About halfway through I had been getting more and more interested in the story, cause it had been building up for quite a while, but it seemed like the climax was at the end of the part called "reason", whereas the last two parts, "passion" and "death" only managed to contrast against "reason" but not make the story fully interesting.

The plot is centred on a young Indian, Alu, with a large and bumpy head, but the majority of things that happen in the book happen to the people around him, now and in the past. Alu is orphaned and adopted by his uncle with a passion for determining people's personalities by examining the shape of their heads. The uncle gets caught up in a personal war with another man in the village, ultimately leading to chaos and death, when the police storms the village.

Alu flees across India and to Africa, where he has an Epiphany that money is the cause of all disease and creating a community revolting against the use of money. Once again the authorities comes to clash with the people around him, and the final part of the book takes place elsewhere, but I won't reveal too much.

It's definitely an original book, and the language is quite good, evoking a sense of reality. But the story doesn't make much sense on the large scheme, and the books leaves me with the question, what did the author wish to accomplish? And did he really accomplish it?
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 30, 2011 9:02 AM BST

The God of Small Things
The God of Small Things
by Arundhati Roy
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.29

4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Similicious!, 18 April 2006
The quantity, quality and originality of Roy's similes are astounding! Take a plunge into a book so riddled with new ways to bend the English language that you feel like you have stepped into a mythological maze of ancient Greece. Add to that characters both good and bad so real as to make you question whether you read about them or met them in person. And finally a story that, though leaning heavily on the false suspense of always hinting at what's to come, is deeply moving. Shake and bake and you get The God of Small Things, a modern masterpiece.

Now if someone could convince her to write more fiction...

General of the Dead Army
General of the Dead Army
by Ismaïl Kadaré
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.54

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An important book., 12 Feb 2006
Kadaré's book takes us on a journey through the Albanian landscape, and through the mind of an Italian general, who has come to Albania to collect the remains of his country's soldier from the second world war. This plot allows for a lot of deep thoughts and emotions, which Kadaré examines properly. Through glimpses into the minds of Italian soldiers during the war he also delivers comments on the pointlessness of war, the loss of identity, and many other topics which could have been explored more. But that is left to the reader, and the philosophical reader may remain with these questions at hand long after finishing the book. A very moving book, and an author I simply must explore further.

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