Jambinai - A Hermitage review
|Release date:||June 2016|
02. Echo Of Creation
03. For Everything That You Lost
05. Deus Benedicat Tibi
06. The Mountain
08. They Keep Silence
Wielding an array of Korean folk instruments in addition to a standard metal four-piece setup, Jambinai already stands out as an unusual sight. Combine that with uncommon songwriting intuition and you've got a wondrous, expansive, and engaging album the likes of which rarely stumble across your path.
A Hermitage comes in waves, cycling through moods and sounds multiple times throughout its 47 minutes. "Wardrobe" charges into a maelstrom of flailing percussion and howling winds, made more than a mere wall of sound by the unorthodox tones used in its contruction. "Echo Of Creation" carries the torch with a steady march of percussive blows, shortly slowing down the tempo and shedding volume and layers as the album slips into "For Everything That You Lost." With its minimalist approach to both melody and atmosphere, "For Everything That You Lost" beautifully demonstrates Jambinai's delicate side; where the mayhem of the first two tracks conjures up images of war, strife, and vigorous motion, the meditative ether of this song feels like a leisurely stroll through a summery wood. Yet once again this song builds back into something grander and more enveloping.
For me, the album's high water mark is "Abyss," a calculated, creeping mass that evolves into a many-layered beast. Helmed by the commanding monotone of guest vocalist Ignito, a rapper by trade, "Abyss" is as dark and foreboding as its name suggests; the threatening torrent of Korean words brandished like weapons and thick, droning undercurrent make the song a powerful centerpiece to the album. With competition like "Deus Benedicat Tibi" and "A Mountain," however, it is impossible to have only a single favorite.
My exposure to traditional forms of Korean music is admittedly limited (the most traditional thing I've encountered is probably DBSK), but A Hermitage sounds to me more like post-metal played on Korean instrumentation than folk metal; a quick trip to the liner notes confirms the lack of "trad. arr."s. The songs are designed for the bass-heavy, crescendoing crunch administered by the band's distinctly metal half, and Jambinai's talent for forging uniform, endless clips of melody into vast, engulfing seas certainly suggests a more modern approach to songwriting. On more than a few occasions, the band incorporates elements of entrancing drone and turns repetitive motion into a remarkably dynamic composition. Played on guitar, bass, and drums, these songs would be outstanding enough, but with the addition of piri, geomungo, and haegeum, A Hermitage becomes extraordinary.
Unique instrumentation plays a vital role in the construction of Jambinai's aural signature; the array of equipment allows Jambinai to play with tones and textures unavailable to most other bands out there, metal or otherwise. Jambinai's other greatest strength is the ability to harness this potential for variation, seamlessly melding songs of crushing heaviness and idyllic calmness; at times, A Hermitage feels like a single, enormous piece of music rather than eight distinct tracks. The contrasts between dark and light, solid and ethereal, aggressive and harmonious, and horrific and serene make A Hermitage continuously enjoyable and highly memorable. Jambinai have the tools for greatness, the drive to use them, and the satisfaction of complete success.
||Written on 06.01.2017 by Reviewing since 2010. Reviewing competently since 2013. More metal than you since before the dawn of 'istry.|
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