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(44 min, Sensory)
TRACK LIST: 1. Enter Nothingness 3:32 2. Instinct Solitaire 3:35 3. Torrents 4:15 4. The Thin Layers of Lust & Love 7:04 5. Tear 2:12 6. Manumit 3:43 7. The Flutter Kings 4:25 8. Erased 2:51 9. House of Nadir 6:40 10. Coda 6:04 LINEUP: Kaj Gornitzka - guitars Leif Knashaug -vocals David Husvik - drums Erik Aadland - bass
Prolusion. Featuring two former members of the cult Norwegian Prog-Metal band Spiral Architect, guitarist Kaj Gornitzka and singer Leif Knashaug, TWISTED INTO FORM salute you (certainly from the same country) with their first offering, "Then Comes Affliction to Awaken the Dreamer".
Analysis. Not surprisingly, this album has rather much in common with the debut Spiral Architect outing, "A Skeptic's Universe". If you haven't heard that disc, imagine a cross between "Awaken the Guardian" by Fates Warning and Voivod's "Nothing Face", having additionally taking a note that Leif's way of singing in most cases bears a strong resemblance to John Arch's one. Bringing to mind "Life Cycle" by Sieges Even might help you to add some additional touches to the picture. Zero Hour would've served as another reference point if their music were more intricate. In all, "Then Comes Affliction to Awaken the Dreamer" is a very impressive recording whose stylistic diversity well matches its compositional profundity. Seven of the ten tracks present are relatively short, but since the music is ever changing almost everywhere on the album, only the ignoramus will find it to be boring, whilst the prepared listener will just be happy to undertake a dive into these waters, both stormy and deep. The first three numbers, Enter Nothingness, Instinct Solitaire and Torrents, and also The Flutter Kings, are each sophisticated technical Prog-Metal delivering the best you can expect from that style, e.g. avalanche-like heavy music with lots of unexpected shifts of theme and pace, baffling stop-to-play maneuvers with the endless use of odd meters, and so on. At times, there are three guitar solos/riffs in the picture, either all moving in completely different (yet harmonically compatible of course) planes or forming layers on each other - a method widely applied in classic Minimalist music. Enter Nothingness is the most uncompromising and is both intense and heavy throughout, as also is Torrents, even though the lacing of a few guitar solos in its finale is melodically more pronounced than, well, is usual. Instinct Solitaire contains one relatively brief movement whose Jazz-Fusion-related nature brings another experimental Prog-Metal band to mind, namely Cynic, whilst the mid-section of The Flutter Kings is rooted in Industrial. Astonishing, and no repetitions in these dances of everlasting musical force majeur! Coda and Manumit, each is a combination of Techno- and Doom Metal with occasional elements of guitar Art-Rock, the latter tune being the band's strongest achievement in the field of originality. The fact is that this is the sole track on the disc that reveals not only clear, but also Black- and Death Metal-related intonations (screaming and growling respectively) in its vocal palette. Personally I strongly regret that Leif didn't use his amazing 'chameleonic' possibilities on all the other songs too, as these not only would have enriched the album's overall sound, but also would've stood the group in good stead regarding the strengthening of their style's individuality. The longest two tracks in the set, The Thin Layers of Lust & Love and House of Nadir, are the most diverse and contrasting alike bringing together Techno Metal, classic Prog-Metal and Art-Rock with acoustic guitar-laden arrangements, infrequently employing quasi improvisations as well, though on the former can also be found two wonderful oriental music-inflected movements (still with the acoustic guitar to the fore), as well as some blues elements. Brilliant. Fates Warning's "Perfect Symmetry" comes to mind when listening to Thin Layers of Lust & Love, but only episodically. The two shortest tracks, Erased and Tear, are almost equally interesting, but they are, say, less dangerous for beginners, especially the latter. The only instrumental here, this is slow Doom Metal of the first water, thus instantly evoking the founders of the genre, Black Sabbath. Erased in turn is largely instrumental and is almost of free of heaviness, standing out for its splendid acoustic guitar clearly in the Spanish style.
Conclusion. "Then Comes Affliction to Awaken the Dreamer" is in all senses a remarkable album, without making any allowances to its debut status, and will be an excellent addition to any Prog-Metal collection. What is really wonderful is that the band's name, Twisted Into Form, vividly mirrors the quintessence of their music.
VM: January 9, 2007
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