Jun 30, 2012
Futility - The View from Here ...
Starting with a track called 'Drowning' with all the haunting guitar and keyboard melodies you would expect from a band with the goth-doom tag, the band show their diversity by bringing in heavier, darker, ominous riffing and the track slowly builds with some killer chugging. The song is insanely depressive, bleak and without too much sugar-coated gothic romanticism that often wrecks many other songs from death-doom bands. This track is one of six songs that go way beyond the 8 minute barrier which does take away from some of the albums intensity and it does get overly tedious so a little trimming would have been nice. That overly long track is followed by an even longer track, 'Another Black Day' which follows in the same vein. What I do appreciate is the blend of the simple and complex. The guitar riffs can be straight-forward heavy and chugging but often they inject a short dose of intricate playing which really adds to the dynamics. The drums also have a good blend of straight-forward pounding and complex fills so for stock-standard death-doom, this is all very interesting.
The hardest track to sit through is the 15 minutes of 'And Still I Hate' which highlights their expertise as players and composers but also highlights how their songs can seem overly bloated and extended way beyond their effectiveness. This track features haunting acoustic guitar and a hypnotic approach to minimalism which would have been perfect if it wasn't so long and drawn out. This is followed by a track called 'Nothing' which seems almost short by comparison even though it is still almost 9 minutes long. The piece is a good blend of the frightening and the beautiful. Menacing riffs clashed with gorgeous blasts of guitar melodies so this is a kind of relaxing head-banging death-doom that they unleashed here. This track has what I think is the albums best riff, or at least the most infectious so this stands out as a very memorable track indeed. Up next comes another almost 9 minute tune titled 'Misrecollections' and this seems to be the most "stock" track out of the bunch. A highly listenable piece but nothing out of the ordinary by death-doom standards.
Then comes the Pink Floyd cover and I must say I have heard dozens of Floyd covers in my time but this stands right up there with the very best of them. Rather than just doing a death-doom take on the song, they make their own and give it a whole new vibe. When you hear versions of classic songs like this one, it makes you realize how great the original was. The only downside I feel is it highlights the weaknesses of their original tracks. It is not that much of an issue but I think when a cover turns out to be a highlight of an album, you have a slight problem and it makes you look a bit closer at the band's original works. I have always thought Pink Floyd were often a very doomy band without anyone being really aware of it and Futility certainly backs up my theory. 'Comfortably Numb' is actually a very bleak piece of music and Futility squeeze every depressive note out of the song in mesmerizing fashion.
Perhaps the Floyd cover should have been left to last in the albums playing order because the track that does end the album is the 15 minute epic 'Mantra' which really seems forgettable after what came before it. To be fair, it is a good track but like 'And I Still Hate' it just seems horribly long and slightly bloated. Despite some tracks being a little tedious, there is still a lot to love about 'The View From Here.' The album flows fairly well and each track has its own identity. The band is diverse in the way they approach their songs, simple one minute, a little complex the next so that keeps it interesting. The one element I haven't mentioned as yet is the vocals and they are also something that makes this release way above average by death-doom standards. The vocals are growls, shrieks and howls and they convey a sense of depressive bleakness that is perfect for these songs. The actual voice isn't that different from a lot of other vocalists in the genre but the way the emotions are presented are honest, passionate and most of all...believable. There is a lot of great doom coming out of Australia and this is right up there at the top of the pile. Highly recommended....8/10.
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