|Age Of Silence - Acceleration
01. Auditorium Of Modern Movements
03. The Concept Of Haste
04. A Song For D. Incorporated
05. The Green Office And The Dark Desk Drawer
06. The Flow At 09:30 AM
07. Of Concrete And Glass
08. 90º Angles
09. I No Longer Know If I Am Mad
10. Synthetic, Fabricated, Calculated
Quit your world of dreams and fairy lands, welcome to Age Of Silence's world, our world, where most of it is gray but most of all a dimension prone to reflection and melancholy. Described as a venture involving renowned members of the Norwegian scene, the combo Age Of Silence is indeed some kind of a project that took shape with the mighty Jan Axel von Blomberg (a.k.a. Hellhammer) on drums, Winds' mastermind Andy Winter on keyboards and Lazare (Borknagar, Solefald) on vocals to name a few. The line-up is rounded up by two experienced guitar players/guitar engineers and Lars Eric Si [aka Eikind, ex-Khold, now with Winds] on bass guitar and additional vocals. The idea was obviously to play some experimental metal on the atypical theme of the oppressing corporate world and Age Of Silence does that with flair.
It's evidently hard to pinpoint what type of music this album is about, but the one thing I can tell you is that it's quality metal. The same melodic feeling that emerges from any Borknagar, Vintersorg or Winds albums is there. Now, Age Of Silence has nonetheless its own sound, crazier than Vintersorg, less pure than Winds and altogether more melodic and less aggressive than Borknagar. The vocals are 100% clean vocals, no growling here, no Black Metal involved either, albeit some rhythm lines. If Black Metal is your only interest, look away. Some very Thrash Metal riffs flourish throughout the album and they give "Acceleration" a powerful feel. The only qualifier for the whole thing would be Atmospheric Progressive Symphonic Thrash Metal! No less than that…
More seriously, it sounds like each project member enjoyed himself during the recording. Andy Winter doesn't stop showing what he's capable of doing while Hellhammer is as usual impeccable, and it's worth for everybody else. The songs are complex, progressive and most of the time sorrowful. Which is fine with me, one doesn't expect from a song called 'I No Longer Know If I Am Mad' to be shampoo commercial background music.
Now, the major drawback of the album, may I say, is that it's so progressive and experimental that it sometimes sounds too much for me. I don't say that they need to stick to a basic tempo or melody, I'm a prog fan myself, but it's often hard to know what to do with all the sounds. It's a common observation to all progressive albums but at least, that show how far they went into experimentation. It may just be a breakable feeling along the listens but right now, it's still there.
Second observation, I'm not really familiar with Borknagar's music but the voice of Lazare surely stamps the songs with a constant melancholy, it might sometimes sounds too monochord though. But hell, he's good and I'm surprised that he's not the lead singer of Borknagar even though Vintersorg is probably one of the best singers around. Also to be credited, Lars Eric Si from Winds was a perfect pick to perform some additional vocals. I would pay good money to hear this trio of singers on the same record. But too of them is plenty enough for Age Of Silence's music.
The lyrics are great, it's so rare nowadays with all the fabricated standards and marketing strategies pushing behind them to stick to them. Ironic, sarcastic, demurred… you name it. And now the uplifting lyrics award goes to Age Of Silence for the following:
"Philosophy a set of guidelines for inefficiency
Religion a fluffy cushion of synthetic feathers
Life itself a mechanical movement from A to B
C is always an though but never an option"
[excerpt of the lyrics from the song 'Acceleration']
You also have to give them credit to have songs about annoying invoices, boring buildings, frustrating traffic… essentially the corporate world basics.
As for the production, no need to introduce Andy Winter. It's fluid and appropriate. If you have to keep one name in mind from the Norwegian scene, that would be his. Amazing producer, genial songwriter and expert keyboard/piano player, he is the man of the year 2004 if you ask me. Finally, with the internationally acclaimed Travis Smith in charge of the artwork, one has to concede that he is the reference in the matter. Another outstanding work for his portfolio, another delight for your eyes.
Overall, "Acceleration" is a very interesting release with a peculiar melancholic atmosphere and hyper progressive moments. It's hard to say if Age Of Silence will grasp everybody's attention but this album shows once again that Norwegian bands proves themselves savvy in experimentation. Alongside bands like Ark, Pagan's Mind, Jorn and Winds, Age Of Silence justify once again that the time when Norway was the land of great Black Metal bands exclusively is behind us. And honestly with the skills and savoir-faire that these guys have, you ought to be delighted. Listen to the soundtrack of your dim life, welcome to the real world!
Favorite tracks: the whole album!
Written on 29.09.2004 by
Bringing you reviews of quality music and interesting questions such as:
"A picture is worth a thousand words. How many words is a song worth?"
I have only got so much patience and skills, you do the math.