Howling Sycamore - Howling Sycamore review




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Reviewer:
7.5

14 users:
7.43
Band: Howling Sycamore
Album: Howling Sycamore
Release date: January 2018


01. Upended
02. Obstinate Pace
03. Let Fall
04. Intermezzo
05. Midway
06. Chant Of Stillness
07. Descent To Light
08. Dysphoria


Howling Sycamore does feature quite an impressive roster, with members of Necrophagist, Ephel Duath, and Watchtower, and also some guests from Obscura, Yakuza, and Burials. Bound to be a formula for great things, right?

Well, Howling Sycamore is weird and takes time to get accustomed to. While boasting an impressive roster of really talented progressive metal musicians, they're all of different nuances and it's mostly the blend of these nuances that gives the album the avant-garde feel. Right from the get-go, the music is very confusing in that the listener is met by pounding death metal-like drums of Hannes Grossman, but the guitar work of Davide Tiso seems to completely ignore the drums. And just when you're expecting (gr/h)owls, Jason McMaster kicks in. And like that wasn't enough, a saxophone screams in your face. It's a weird experience.

The initial shock and the impression of the disjointed mess do fade, and while under normal circumstances the layering would be called lazy, it does lead to some outstanding moments in which you can't not appreciate how over-the-top the music is. Not to say that the music is always disjointed and the instruments always independent of one another, when in fact most of the time that's not the case, but rather it feels like uncovering a new way for music to be that isn't supposed to be.

Perhaps the most over-the-top element of the mix is the saxophone, but that only appears once in a while, so the second over-the-top element is McMaster's vocal performance. McMaster's vocals are quite high, mostly something you'd expect from a speed metal band, so hearing such vocals over some experimental extreme metal noodling is bound to keep you excited, whether because you're intrigued or because you hate it.

The performances on this album are great and it certainly is one of the most out-there prog metal albums I heard, but I can't for the life of me decide if it's genius or way too avant-garde for the sake of avant-garde, so it's kinda like the David Lynch of metal. Going with my gut feeling, I'd say it's rather the second one, but I'm glad this exists.


Rating breakdown
Performance: 9
Songwriting: 7
Originality: 10
Production: 8


 



Written on 19.03.2018 by My opinion is objective, sorry if you don't agree, but you're wrong.


Comments

Comments: 5   Visited by: 92 users
19.03.2018 - 13:53
Karlabos
Weirdo of MS
Speed metal vocalists should experiment more on other genres
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2016 - 2017
2018 - 2019
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19.03.2018 - 18:22
RaduP
CertifiedHipster
Written by Karlabos on 19.03.2018 at 13:53

Speed metal vocalists should experiment more on other genres

Absolutely
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Take off those stupid glasses and kiss me
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07.06.2018 - 04:15
The Galactician
Good review. I think you hit the nail on the head as it pertains to the oddball blend of elements. On first listen I'm in a very similar boat of being unsure whether I really like this or not.

I love Hannes Grossman, and I'm a Watchtower and Dangerous Toys fan going back to the '80s, but...wow. David Lynch is a pretty cool comparison indeed.
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07.06.2018 - 04:17
The Galactician
Good review. I think you hit the nail on the head as it pertains to the oddball blend of elements. On first listen I'm in a very similar boat of being unsure whether I genuinely like this or am just happy it exists.

I love Hannes Grossman, and I'm a Watchtower and Dangerous Toys fan going back to the '80s, but...wow. David Lynch is a pretty cool comparison indeed.
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07.06.2018 - 04:20
The Galactician
Good review. I think you hit the nail on the head as it pertains to the oddball blend of elements. On first listen I'm in a very similar boat of being unsure whether I genuinely like this or not.

I love Hannes Grossman, and I'm a Watchtower and Dangerous Toys fan going back to the '80s, but...wow. David Lynch is a pretty cool comparison indeed.
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