Oct 21, 2012
Whales And Aurora - "The Shipwreck" ...
I will get my gripes out-of-the-way first. The black metal influenced vocals get tedious very quickly with this album. I like a good growl as much as the next doomster but on this album they seem overbearing and they tend to overshadow the music at times which takes away some of the focus from the very well thought-out musical passages. The other little nit-pick is it seems a bit over produced but that is a personal criticism and many listeners are bound to disagree with me on that. The album starts with 'Refused Recounting Words' and if you haven't figured out yet that this is indeed a concept album, it soon becomes obvious what the band intentions are with this release. The songs are about the negative kind of consciousness that we all face on a daily basis and the resulting anger that tests our patience regularly. Life often pushes us to the breaking point where emotions become frayed and musically this album backs up that concept.
Now of course a lot of listeners couldn't care less about lyrical concepts so what about the riffs? This album is not exactly a mind-blowing riffing adventure but it is interesting. The arrangements are well thought-out and it is far from generic doom metal. Some of the timings are a little off-kilter and there is a great deal of ominous, suspenseful dramatics at play with 'The Shipwreck.' Where as the opening track is interesting but not all that memorable, the second cut 'Achieving the Unavoidable' is mesmerizing from start to finish. There are more interesting, unique timings and a good mix of mellow and heavy sections. Third track is also very good; 'The Aground Hard-Ship' is easily the albums best track for me personally. They inject some heavy Sunn O))) like droning, blending doomy ambience that gets under the skin very quickly putting the listener into a trance-like state.
'Abandoned Among Echoes' and 'Awakened By The Aurora' is where the band bring in some 70's psychedelic and progressive doom elements. There are variations in tempo, mood and instrumentation including some fine piano touches. 'A New Awareness' is one of the songs where the growls bring down what is a very fine track otherwise and I am sorry for dwelling on that but it is all I tend to hear when I listen to this track. The album ends on 'Floating On Calm Waters' which is a natural closer for this atmospheric album; heavy, distorted, mellow and aggressive at the same time, Whales And Aurora are at least not your run of the mill doom act. If there is a criticism to be made about this genre that we all love called doom metal, it is; it can be predictable at times but this band and album could never be accused of taking the easy road. It is hard to say how many doom fans will be blown away by this album. It is always intriguing but at times it is also a kind of frustrating release. There seems to be a vital element missing but pin-pointing what that ingredient is also debatable. As it is, this is a fine album that stands up on its own when put back-to-back against similar doom albums released recently but it is one you will have to judge for yourself. For fans of prog-laden doom and doomy post rock - check this out.....7/10.
Tags: Whales And Aurora