Vertigo Steps - _Vertigo Steps_
(Self-released, 2008)
by: Paul Williams (8.5 out of 10)
_Vertigo Steps_ is not necessarily a ground breaking album; the sounds you hear have already been established in the metal world, but the captivating and soulful way that the songs are structured to penetrate the listener's sub-conscience and develop a dark atmosphere is remarkable. It is one of the only elements which is consistent through out the album, and transcends the idea of a group of people making music. Instead we are left with what should be a glimpse into a realm where the music has "feeling", instead of being soullessly blurted out at you through your speakers.

This blend of heavy metal incorporates a variety of sub-genres: goth, melodic black, progressive and ambient, which may not seem like a majestic leap in innovation as they do seem to be rather cliché; but again I admit that musical boundaries have not been broken, and again I say that it is about how much of themselves the band have put into the music which sets it apart from every other band that decides to employ such a grand mix of sub-sub genres.

With varying musical styles, vocals and artists having input into it, _Vertigo Steps_ starts to make me wonder just how many cooks in the kitchen can spoil the broth. From the sweet and peaceful "Scarheart", with its beautiful piano piece, to the evil and abusive "The Gruesome Smile", one of the heavier tracks on the album, the constant jumping around the broad spectrum of metal is in no way annoying or confusing -- in fact, it is probably what keeps this album from being like everything else. Yes, it has technical riffs and time sequences, as on "Vultures in My Dying Bed", but it also incorporates slower and heavier, more "mainstream" sounds that are just as acceptable. The haunting vocals and lyrics on "Synapse (sleepwalking metaphorms)", for example, are reminiscent of the depressing tunes you may hear from Radiohead.

Of course multiple listens to the album will have you realising that, production-wise, more could have been done to allow for a smoother sound, especially on the faster songs, like the aforementioned "Vultures...". That said, these multiple samplings allow the listener to hear things they may not have heard the first, second or even third time around, which just shows the depth of _Vertigo Steps_ and the musicianship behind it.


(article published 15/3/2009)

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