Posted by Nick Skog on Tuesday, October 17, 2017 Under: English
Published: October 12, 2017
This sophomore from Odradek Room has been a long time coming, given that the debut was actually first self-released in 2012. Hearing it for the first time, I'm not altogether surprised. It's a complicated beast - as expected, if you're familiar with 'Bardo. Relative Reality'. Once again informed by the Buddhist and literary concepts that inspire band founder Artyom Krikhtenko, 'A Man Of Silt' focuses on the cycle of human life, and the way each individual travels from nothing to nothing in the same, yet different, way. That's explained in more detail in the CD booklet, alongside all the lyrics and necessary details, in a joint-release jewelcase package from Hypnotic Dirge/BadMoodMan.
There's a clue that things aren't going to be so simple in the above, however. 'Bardo', broadly, was a Death-Doom/Post-Rock synthesis with enough off-piste moments to throw 'avantgarde' into the mix. 'A Man Of Silt' toys with a much wider sonic and compositional palette: clearly, one that Solitude Productions consider appropriate for their sublabel rather than the Doom-focused parent. In that, I agree entirely. Whilst it contains recognisable elements from both Doom and Post- space - a riff, a guitar texture, a tribal-style drumbeat, some growled or snarled vocals, all of which cover familiar ground - it seldom combines them into a specific whole.
Now, I'd be the last person to consider non-genre-adherence a valid musical criticism, but this is a Doom site, and from that perspective, it's certainly appropriate to observe that 'A Man Of Silt' hovers in dark Progressive Metal, rather than Doom, hinterlands. And, sometimes, not even that dark. There's a strong cinematic feel to the tracks, as they paint their intriguingly abstract pictures of life, and the soaring guest sax and female vocals on 'Rain Trip', or the squalling urgent guitars in 'Divide', for example, conjure more optimistic, even uplifting images. Elsewhere, the similar opening and closing instrumentals are peacefully tranquil themes heavily featuring woodwind melodies, while at any moment within the rest of the album you can expect digressions and interludes between aggressively hard-edged Metal and spacier, more atmospheric-acoustic sections. Frequent guitar leads bolstered by sometimes-leading keyboards carry the melodies along, sometimes converging, sometimes separately, with the backing of some high-quality and creative percussion.
It's very well done, have no doubt of that. As someone with strong ties to original '70s Prog, I love the way this brings a more contemporary approach, rooted in more modern musical styles, to that kind of framework. The well-developed, intelligent ideas within it are brought to life by compelling and dynamic songwriting and arrangement. And with the core band members having been together for some years now, it's delivered with completely convincing execution - adopting equal measures of passion and technicality, and pulling both of them off with practised ease. If I had to reach for a comparison, it would be to endorse the PR statement's own reference to Opeth - and possibly mention Green Carnation in passing - rather than anything in the extreme Doom canon. At a pinch, perhaps, you could say that when it's at it's doomiest, it's in a The Fall Of Every Season way.
So - the bottom line. And, you know what, this is one of those occasions where I feel any sort of mark would be both irrelevant and misleading. From my purely personal viewpoint, it's an album of unrequited brilliance - but, nonetheless, one which is also essentially a moody, reflective Prog release, tangentially related to Doom. In reality, that means 'A Man Of Silt' is most likely to be something you'll either love or hate, largely determined by your musical taste outside of the Doom sphere - and trying to fudge that into a meaningful number on our comparative scoring system is an exercise in futility. Fortunately, it's only a click away to check it out and make up your mind, with the whole album streaming on Solitude's YouTube channel. And that is something I'd thoroughly recommend doing.
Reviewed by: Mike Liassides
In : English
Tags: odradek room a man of silt progressive doom metal doom metal progressive metal ihsahn katatonia