The Protagonist - _Songs of Experience_
(Cold Meat Industry, 2005)
by: Quentin Kalis (7.5 out of 10)
This is the follow-up to 1998's _A Rebours_ (excluding 2005's aptly titled _Interim_ EP). Sole member Magnus Sundstrom has not been idle during his hiatus of Metallica-esque proportions, opting instead to focus on his other project des Esseintes and launching his own label, Fin de Siecle Media. While des Esseintes is apparently a power electronics band, The Protagonist is, by all accounts, a very different beast. While, des Esseintes would probably never be described as "beautiful", The Protagonist's neo-classical explorations can certainly be described as such. Although there is a strong -- and expected -- tendency towards the bombastic, it is never over the top and is balanced out by a strong focus on ambience -- far more so than others of his ilk.

This slightly ethereal atmosphere is further enhanced by the complete absence of anything that can be considered as vocals, barring a few spoken word samples of recitals of works by literature greats such as Shakespeare and William Blake, who, of course, provides this album with its title.

An enjoyable listen for anyone with a propensity for the experimental and the grandiose.


(article published 28/2/2006)

2/13/1999 A Bromley 8 The Protagonist - A Rebours
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