Posted by Nick Skog on Sunday, July 20, 2014 Under: Album Reviews
From: Heathen Harvest Periodical
Published: July 12, 2014
If anything is most clear to me while writing this, it’s that Vin de Mia Trix wrote and recorded Once Hidden from Sight with the best of intentions. Impressions of melancholy and inner-looking sadness seep from every moment of the Ukrainian act’s debut. Though the death-doom hybrid genre is rarely known for its urgency, Vin de Mia Trix’s painfully slow, hour-long testament to woe and solitude seeks to test the listener’s patience. Through their plodding pace, predictable dynamics and atmospheric focus, Vin de Mia Trix come off as a sort of Esoteric-lite, at times echoing the twisted spirit of the UK masters, but often coming up empty in terms of satisfying song structure and convention. Once Hidden from Sight is the end-result of some not inconsiderable effort at the hands of its craftsmen, but the homogeneous sequence of similarly melodic, brooding melodies and chord progressions grows tiring long before the album is over.
If I might enlist the help of a tactical cliché, Vin de Mia Trix have bitten off more than they can chew here. It’s a fairly common misstep in the case of debut releases, really; a band conceivably has all the time in the world to make a first album, and it’s perfectly understandable that they would want first impressions to reflect the variety of material they have to offer. In this case, Vin de Mia Trix apparently spent three years piecing their opus together, the results of which — as one might expect — offer plenty of well-crafted, powerful ideas. Once Hidden from Sight seldom departs from its sombre, plodding tempo, but the band has still managed to feature an unwieldy number of concepts per song. The potentially Arthur Conan Doyle-inspired “A Study in Scarlet” is a little more concrete than the rest (thanks to a cautious build-up and enticing lead motif), but the compositions lack a clear sense of rising action. Most of Vin de Mia Trix’s take on the emotive death-doom formula can be described as a leisurely game of pass between growled vocals and melodic guitar leads, the likes of which being just as sombre as you might expect.
Of that latter half of their sound, there is another dichotomy: a game between the heavy parts that are all-too-typical of the death-doom aesthetic, and lighter, yet every bit as depressive, instrumental ambiance. This theme of duality runs heavily throughout the album, not least of all on the cover, which evokes the perennial concept of the yin-yang. There’s plenty of thoughts and concepts to be gleaned from Once Hidden from Sight. As mentioned, the album is a work of some considerable thought and effort. What’s ultimately lacking is the structure and urgency that would have made these concepts otherwise exciting.
In jamming their compositions with as many like-sounding ideas as possible, Vin de Mia Trix have inadvertently accomplished the exact opposite of what I presume they were aiming for. Instead of constantly refreshing and stimulating me as a listener, it becomes all too easy to drift off; the ideas begin to blur together, and with that, the potential for true emotional impact is gutted. Unsurprisingly, the track that has impressed me most is the one that truly stands out from the rest. “Là où le Rêve et le jour s’Effleurèrent” possesses the same sleepy vibe as the band’s doom material, but it draws from a much different musical palette — in this case, specifically Romantic-era classical piano. For a few moments, Vin de Mia Trix absolve themselves of all potential comparisons to My Dying Bride and other doom stalwarts; instead, I’m reminded of the work of composer Frédéric Chopin. I really enjoy the musical risk Vin de Mia Trix took with this departure; even so, the track feels detached from the rest of the album, and would have been more effective had the band found a way to properly integrate it with their regular style.
Vin de Mia Trix’s seemingly rhapsodic dive into doom is promising and — save for occasionally muffled-sounding production — well-executed. I am certain that there is a great album lurking somewhere within Once Hidden from Sight, and there are times where I even get audible hints of it here. Unfortunately, Vin de Mia Trix’s everything-but-the-kitchen-sink approach to the death-doom style is frustrating, moreso than anything. An album with this many individual melodic ideas usually takes many listens before it starts to feel familiar. The problem is that Once Hidden from Sight isn’t engaging enough to warrant all that listening. Vin de Mia Trix are ambitious and well-intentioned here, but their failure to condense and energize the music has resulted in an album that frankly challenges the listener’s patience more than anything.
Reviewed by: Conor Fynes
In : Album Reviews
Tags: vin de mia trix once hidden from sight death-doom funeral doom experimental post-rock kauan melodic blackened blues modern classical