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(52:10 / Progrock Records)
TRACK LIST: 1. Strip Search 4:32 2. Ancient 5:13 3. Talitha Cumi 5:14 4. Serpentine 4:13 5. Poison Drip 4:57 6. The Everlasting 6:20 7. My Absinthe Lover 5:22 8. Soft Asylum 8:25 9. No Quarter 7:52 LINEUP: Cage - guitars, bass; keyboards, drums Viggo Domino - vocals
Prolusion. American duo INVISIGOTH (Invisible Goth, I suppose) present their first official CD; you see its title, "Alcoholocaust", is a compound word as well. The press kit, while shedding no light on the outfit's history or the musicians' bios either, offers their Weltanschauung instead, specifically mentioning that both of them are keen on esoteric philosophy and musical experimentation - especially through composition and chemistry. It seems the guys, who hide their real names under the pseudonyms of Cage and Viggo Domino, both consider the world we live in to be an illusion, which is called Maya in Sanskrit and is one of the fundamental aspects of both Hinduism and Buddhism.
Analysis. Whether they prefer to work being drunk or crapulent:-), these men are indeed kind of musical alchemists who, while being guided by the legacy of both Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath, could make an album whose sound is often not only fresh, but also marked with distinct signs of innovation. Besides, some of the nine songs present (no instrumentals here) are beyond comparison, though of course, this remark does not concern the duo's rendering of No Quarter, which concludes the CD. Take note, I didn't say cover: Viggo Domino could have without any exertion imitated Robert Plant, but he didn't. One of the most ingenious chameleon singers I've ever heard, the possessor of a highly flexible voice, he embraces no less than three octaves, very frequently changing his tone (within each of the songs!), but never resembles anyone else. I would have easily believed that several different vocalists took part in this recording if I hadn't known the real state of affairs. All in all, it's in many ways thanks to Viggo's efforts that almost all of the tracks here have at once a very original and diverse sound, while the first three, Strip Search, Ancient and Talitha Cumi, are all basically relatively simple. Unlike any of the other cuts, Ancient is completely free of hard fabrics and is also the only one of the outfit's creations that arouses distinct associations - again with Led Zeppelin. But then how beautiful it is, with its spicy eastern aroma, equally striking in its use of acoustic and electric instruments, especially when the string pads come to the fore. Contrary to Ancient, the slow-paced opening number, Strip Search, is heavy almost throughout, representing nothing other than symphonic Doom Metal which however appears to be strongly modified, due to the singularity of the piece's vocal palette. One way or another, the first two tracks both turn out to be in a way crucial to the album's overall sound, as all the subsequent ones combine symphonic and hard textures, most often still in the presence of oriental tunes and lush string arrangements as well, and even if one of those, The Everlasting, is poor in heavy guitar riffs, the music retains a dark gothic aura throughout it. Talitha Cumi follows the first two tracks, revealing a perfectly balanced blend of all the said substances. However, the music only starts to become diverse on all levels beginning with the fourth track, so it is the remaining six songs that form the progressive nucleus of this CD, all frequently shifting in style, theme, and pace all alike. Serpentine and Poison Drip both for the most part consist of intense arrangements, suggesting genuinely progressive Doom Metal, and while a symphonic element is still here, holding up its position almost throughout each, the quantity of art-rock-like moves is relatively small. As hinted above, The Everlasting brings to mind the idea of a doom-metal take on Art-Rock or rather Doom Metal embodied in atmospheric Symphonic Progressive. Meantime, the number of overdubbed vocals continues growing, the vim of a virtual choir reaching its apogee on the last two of the duo's own compositions, My Absinthe Lover and Soft Asylum. Both these sound very much like Rock Opera overall, besides which the recording's two primary genre ingredients are enriched here with elements of Classical music. Excellent.
Conclusion. It is so far rather early to make up a conclusion whether it's a positive or negative tendency that the lion's share of contemporary prog-rock production pertains to debut albums, their weight increasing constantly. In short, I'd like to express my hope this very talented duo will not supplement the rank of the so-called one-shots and that the release of a successor to their first brainchild is not far off. It is enough to make a little journey through my Prog-Metal Band Lists to know that I've always been a lover of progressive Doom Metal, particularly when such music is original, so it is no surprise that I sincerely enjoy this creation. Highly recommended to those who share my opinion on the topic.
VM: Agst 7, 2007
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