Posted by Nick Skog on Monday, November 5, 2012 Under: Album Reviews
From: Hierophant-Nox Webzine
Published: April 14, 2012
Published: April 14, 2012
I’ve been following Stroszek since 2007’s beautiful “Songs of Remorse”, and was thrilled to receive the third instalment in Claudio, Davide and Richard’s whimsical, pensive, emotional ride along abandoned night-time highways, “Sound Graveyard Bound”. The aforementioned debut set the bar extremely high with its quiet power and ability to touch on so many raw, melancholy nerves, and I wondered if it would always remain my favourite Stroszek release, but no; it seems I am to have a new soundtrack for those ‘sitting by the window, watching a rainstorm and nursing a whisky’ evenings. “Sound Graveyard Bound” is a treasure.
Stroszek’s sound is a smoky, wry blending of delicate, bluesy, acoustic guitars, gritty American alt-rock riffs, rumbling, introspective bass lines and intimate, murmured poetry. On “Sound Graveyard Bound”, the contrasts are a little sharper than before; Claudio’s lovely, near-whispered vocal is louder, and the ‘plugged-in’ guitar layers are a punchier in their heaviness, particularly on the driving “Shipwreck” and subtly heart-wrenching “Crows”. Not that Stroszek’s style has changed; the three philosophers just seem to have grown, comfortably, into their creative niche. An organic, pure production allows the listener to relish the manner in which all of Stroszek’s ingredients come together; how the beautifully economical percussion sits perfectly under the emotional weight of a track such as “Hope I’ll Never Know”, or how the sliding, moody bass provides counterpoint to the plaintive vocals of outstanding opener “I Can’t Make Things Undone”.
A further sense of experiment and confidence on “Sound Graveyard Bound” is created by the inclusion of “Spirits Dwell”; starting with some gorgeous major key play, this track grows into a toweringly emotional surge of beauty. The contribution of guest vocalist Nat is the aural equivalent of a brilliant sunrise; I simply cannot stop listening to this song. It’s bigger and bolder than previous Stroszek compositions, but there’s never anything ‘mainstream’ or ‘predictable’ about this band; throughout the album, there’s an authentic passion and dedication to musicianship that keeps things unique and satisfyingly underground. It speaks volumes that the artist to whom Claudio has chosen to pay homage is Mike Johnson, with a lovingly personal version of “If The World Hadn’t Gone Insane”. You’d be hard-pressed to find someone who made such an impact on independent rock in the States whilst still remaining obscure, particularly with his solo work, and that spirit suits Stroszek down to the ground.
Accessible but secretive, sad but knowing, solitary but full of shared feeling, “Sound Graveyard Bound” is a fantastic testament to the talent of Stroszek. It works brilliantly as an album, moving from one dreamy frontier of feeling to the next, each track well-considered and carefully wrought, but also building an extremely coherent overall atmosphere. The guitar work alone will stop you in your tracks; this is the perfect album for musing, remembering and wrestling with the gentler inner demons.
Reviewed by: Ellen Simpson
In : Album Reviews
Tags: stroszek sound graveyard bound life failures made music claudio alcara frostmoon eclipse acoustic country folk black metal melancholy all the bad days in the world