Saturday, March 3, 2012

January 2012 Surprise Of The Month

The 11th Hour: Lacrima Mortis

Lacrima Mortis is the follow-up for their debut Burden Of Grief released in 2009. The dutch multi instrumentalist Ed Warby is a very ambitious and self-demanding guy, who is well known for his contribution in e.g. Demiurg, Hail Of Bullets, Star One and Ayreon. The 11th Hour is his own project and he has put a lot of work and effort to please us with his music.

When I first heard Ed's crisp and theatrical clean vocals, they didn't connect me on emotional level. His singing technique is stellar, but what left me cold at first was the tone of his voice. However, with repeated listens I found out that the phrasing might be done on purpose to contemplate the growls. The harsh vocals on this album are done by Pim Blankenstein from Officium Triste and he does a great job. On a sidenote: if you are not familiar with Officium Triste before, do yourself a favor and get to know to this great death/doom band. 

What you will hear immediately is that the production is very well done: powerful, crisp and heavy. Some might complain it is too sterile, but I wouldn't go there. The guitars, bass and drums sound as they should to my ear for a doom metal record. The songs are versatile, clocking from five minutes to eight making the total album length 52 minutes. Lacrima Mortis doesn't push the boundaries of death/doom metal into another level, but this album is very fresh and interesting listen. The melodies and vocals harmonies are done masterfully and I can warmly recommend this to any doom lover.

Check out
Rain On Me

January 2012 Best Cut Of The Month

Alcest: Les Voyages De L'Âme

Alcest was introduced to me by a very good friend and I am glad he did. Alcest has been around from 2005 and made its breakthrough with their 2007 debut album Souvenirs d'un Autre Monde. They started with raw black metal, but soon evolved into black metal with strong post-rock and shoegaze influences. As you can tell the lyrics are in French and that is a fresh twist in their music.

The 26 year-old mastermind Neige (Stéphane Paut) does the vocals and plays all the instruments on the album except drums. You could describe their sound as fragile, light and down-toned. The vocals are mainly soft and subdued but Neige does also harsh vocals on only a couple tracks on this album. However, he has stated that on the next album growls will most likely be all gone as he intends to take the music into another direction. Les Voyages De L'Âme is a journey consisting of eight beautifully crafted melodic and moving songs which send you exactly to the fairyland where everything is possible and nothing can harm you.