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(53 min, IntroMental)
TRACK LIST: 1. Humanitix 4:27 2. Rebound 5:08 3. Jonestown Slumber Party 4:56 4. Xerox Nation 4:51 5. Autumn Lord 4:30 6. Destruction Time Again 4:15 7. Symbiosis 6:06 8. Falself 5:37 9. Talk 5:05 10. True Deceiver 3:33 11. Gestalt 4:34 PERSONNEL: Teddy Moller - vocals; guitar Niklas Kupper - guitars Alvaro Svanero - drums Tomas Jonsson - basses Fredrik Klingwall - keyboards
Prolusion. Once upon a time Teddy Moller, the drummer for Swedish melodic Prog-Metal outfit Mayadome, found himself dreaming about playing a more intricate kind of music. As a result, Mayadome ended its existence and another group was formed instead, LOCH VOSTOK (named after the subterranean lake in Antarctica), Teddy having exchanged:-) his drum kit for a microphone and a guitar. This CD, "Destruction Time Again", takes second position in the band's discography and marks my second encounter with them as well. Meaning, I've heard their debut album "Dark Logic" too, inasmuch as it was originally issued by Russia's label CD-Maximum in 2003.
Analysis. Already after an initial listening to "Dark Logic", I made note of the specificity of Loch Vostok's style. By getting more and more acquainted with their creations, I feel that some aspects of my knowledge of Swedish heavy progressive music are smashing against the wall of the band's independence from their national Prog-Metal traditions. "Destruction Time Again" sounds much like as if it came out of the precincts of Florida's "Morrisound", the creative laboratory of brothers Jim and Tom Morris, producers and engineers working mainly with the genre's extreme and, say, mixed manifestations. On the pan-musical level, the band's new effort is stronger than their first brainchild, but their style hasn't undergone any noticeable changes, and I would've been upset had it been otherwise. Loch Vostok's music is by far not 'your typical' Prog-Metal, but is a genuinely polymorphous (I'd even say volumetric) entity combining Techno-, Black-, Doom-, Thrash-, Power Metal and Prog-Metal as such, thus pushing the boundaries of the genre far beyond its customary framework. In a way, it's like a giant puff pie appearing in all its multi-dimensional grandeur. (Did I really say "multi" instead of "three"? Perhaps it should be just so; after all we aren't obliged to apply a physical approach to music, which is the most abstract of the Arts and is practically immeasurable). Keeping all the aforesaid matters in your mind, take also into your consideration that each composition contains from six to twelve different thematic storylines, and you will come to conclusion that it will hardly be within your grasp to put together all the parts of this intricate mosaic upon the first spin. This is highly progressive music, with many dramatic transitions within the same song. If I were forced to describe it extremely briefly, I would say profundity, melody and brutality all delivered in one bag. Those acquainted with "Burnt Offerings", Iced Earth's only masterwork, as well as their only truly progressive album (a product of the Morris brothers' studio, by the way), might have a more or less clear idea of what they can expect from "Destruction Time Again", although this particular offering embraces some more styles. As a former drummer, Teddy Moller appears to be an excellent chameleon singer, so be prepared to meet a whole array of different voice types (many vocal parts were surely overdubbed) in this one-man Metal opera, which is yet another stylistic aspect of this amazing album. More often however, Teddy alternates Black Metal screaming with dramatic vocal styling, which is traditional only in timbre. The aforementioned fascinating cocktail of various styles is typical of all eleven of the songs present, without exception. Much of the music is performed rapidly and is abundant in machine-gun-fire-like solos from each of the musicians, those Alvaro Svanero elicits from his twofold bass drum being especially fast and frenetic. Well, now I only have to point you out the most notable of the songs' structural peculiarities. Keyboards are present on all tracks, but only on Symbiosis, Autumn Lord and Falself they share playing the first violin with guitars. Some islands of calmness can be found only on the album's 'boundary' tracks, Humanitix and Gestalt, while Jonestown Slumber Party is the sole piece that features a more or less long Art-Rock-like movement. Apart from the others, the title track, Xerox Nation, Talk and True Deceiver also reveal elements of Death Metal here and there, adding some additional colors to the mix. Finally, Rebound finds Teddy singing along with a session female singer, having really few brutal intonations in the vocals.
Conclusion. If your interest in Progressive Metal isn't confined within the genre's most widespread quasi-symphonic manifestations and if you are open-minded enough to accept such different units of it as Iced Earth and Dream Theater, Voivod and Atheist, you will not miss with Loch Vostok too. These musicians are mighty in the style they've chosen, and their second CD is a visual (OK, audial) evidence of the fact. Excellent.
VM: June 21, 2006
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