Vulture Industries - The Dystopia Journals review
|Album:||The Dystopia Journals|
|Release date:||September 2007|
01. Pills Of Conformity
02. Blood Don't Flow Streamlined
03. A Path Of Infamy
05. The Benevolent Pawn
06. The Crumbling Realm
07. To Sever The Hand Of Corruption
08. Grim Apparitions
09. Ende [Ragnarok Records vinyl bonus]
How is it possible for a band to use so many artifices already worked by other bands, and yet sound so unique? Vulture Industries must be the most perfect example for an answer. Considering Metal as a sort of soup, this album would be filled with weird ingredients, generating a thick mixture of symphony, experimental, progressive, doom and black elements, but so properly distributed that the taste is not compromised. Leaving to us listeners solely the pleasant avant-garde sweet flavor.
This sweet flavored music is performed by 5 experienced musicians that have already shown talent in bands like Sulphur, Black Hole Generator, Malice In Wonderland, Syrach and even session participations with Enslaved and Taake. Vocalist and producer Bjørnar E. Nilsen joined the band during the demo successful release, two demos back, in 2003-4 (which earn for the band a contract with Dark Essence Records), and his skills with programming had lead the way for The Dystopia Journals to reach the shelves in 2007. It must be said, without Nilsen's participation, this album would lose a lot of his theatrical progressive characteristics, which were possible due to his assistance considering the production… and his voice.
Despite being frighteningly similar to Garm's, the vocal work performed by Nilsen is stunning. Clean vocals are predominant, but there are a few moments chosen to reach the extreme, and gutturals arise from where least expected. However, not one of these vocal variations reaches the quality in musical atmosphere as the spoken moments. Songs like "A Path Of Infamy" present a tormented schizophrenic tone able to cause unsuspecting panic, also mocking and declaiming jeers as pleased. As a complement to the dramatic voices, we hear synthesizers, cello, piano, keyboards, samplers, and hallucinating basses and riffs building the suspense that surrounds a conflicted mind… but also bring to light the major influences of their sound.
Noticeable from the beginning, bands like Solefald, Winds, and especially Arcturus are main influences, but even a relatively long time on the road was not sufficient for the band to straggle away from the precursor's sound, leaving marks heavily compared to Arcturus of La Masquerade Infernale and The Sham Mirrors. And Nilsen's subconscious enthusiasm of sounding like Garm is not the only thing to blame, as the production allows the same bizarre ambient feeling, the rather timid slow drumming, and the leadership of guitar work controlling the flow of the sound. Therefore, the differences must be found within the details. Simple details, like the use of keyboards, which are displayed in an infinitely lower magnitude, as are the samplers and sound synthesizers, making The Dystopia Journals not a inch as close to industrial music as Arcturus were. Instead, the experimentation on this album was manufactured through the strings, with the help of violinist Kim Hellgren and cellist Ben Nation, that have an important participation on "Soulcage," by far the most complete track when the subject is the use of instrumental repertoire.
Another interesting aspect was the way chosen to exhibit the theme. As it was told, this album is about inner turbulence, conflicts within the mind (or "The Pawn" as the lyrics reflect), and other psychological disorders that lead to insanity. The man choking himself on the front cover is the perfect representation of this battle against one's own demons, and the face of madness is personified by Norwegian actor Helge Jordal, with a stage set in the background, which exposes perfectly what this album is all about.
The Dystopia Journals may not be the pinnacle of originality in music, but the exploration of this specific kind of sound is far from uninteresting, and finding negative points other than watery analogies with Arcturus is an arduous task. Meanwhile, the ones who were not impressed by previous attempts in experimentation have now a chance to testify a different approach on the vast avant-garde field.
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