Showing posts with label El Schlong. Show all posts
Showing posts with label El Schlong. Show all posts

Jan 7, 2012

El Schlong - Time/Place ...

Have you ever heard a metal band from New Zealand?  Well, I certainly had not, and that was a point of interest for me in reviewing this record.  El Schlong is a three piece, originally from Dunedin, New Zealand, though they have moved several times since their conception and they play…well…  I am not quite sure.  It is certainly metal, but it crams many different styles and plays with many different musical mechanics; avant-garde, perhaps?
Well, aside from trying to place El Schlong in a genre box, something too commonly practiced these days, let us focus on the songs in this strange release.  One thing to note is that these Kiwi wizards do not take themselves too seriously.  After all, with a band name like El Schlong, who would?  With this in mind, the first track off their sophomore effort, Time/Place, is entitled: With Trousers On.
With Trousers On begins with a brisk, chunky intro that is eventually accompanied with some particularly constipated sounding vocals.  Over all, the beginning is standard sludgy metal.  That is until the middle of the song, where heavy riffs give way to some bizarre clean guitar work and some beautiful female vocals.  With Trousers On is a good indicator of what El Schlong are about, concise song structures, melody and song writing.

The Alchemist, the album’s second song, is much stronger then With Trousers On.  The opening riff is a bizarrely timed monster and is followed up nicely by some layered vocals that sound like a medieval choir.  The middle of The Alchemist is an extended doom laden soundscape with a menacing oath being proclaimed over it.  It is very effective.
Next is Clocks; this is Time/Place’s strongest song.  It is rich with atmosphere and strong in song writing.  With the vocals being mostly clean and ethereal in quality, Clocks sounds like something out of a dream.  Low in the mix is the occasional clock sound effect, which is a real nice touch and increases the mood.  The song eventually builds up and explodes into more of the melodic metal of the previous two songs.
The Persistence of Time, 2 ½ Dalis, Number 42 and Moving On, all follow suit.  It is much of the same, heavy riffing, strange signatures and moments of dreamy calm.  There are even some stand out moments, like the Mexican trumpeting on Number 42.  However, these few moments do little to save Time/Place from eventually stagnating.  At the halfway mark, the oddness in El Schlong's bag of tricks lost its magic and the songs become tiring.  This could be due to the poor and uneven recording quality, which often left the guitars and vocals with a distant room sound, or the mix, with vocals too loud and the drums much too low.

Overall, El Schlong is a group of very talented individuals, and their sophomore album Time/Place is a good effort.  The song writing, compositions and creativity are simply stellar.  With a better recording, mix, and perhaps without the harsh vocals (they became very irritating), I believe this would have rated much higher, but as is, Time/Place’s charm wore off about half way through, leaving me trudging through the last half, wondering when it would end.  7.5/10

Words:Brenden Butler

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