Vowels - _Hooves, Leaves & the Death / As December Nightingales_
(Sun & Moon Records, 2012)
by: Chaim Drishner (8.5 out of 10)
Italian band Vowels play black metal and shoegaze admixture; even though that in itself is by no means a novelty, _Hooves, Leaves & the Death / As December Nightingales_ is unique due to its theatrical essence, what with the semi-operatic and clean vocals incorporated occasionally and the disjointed nature of the songs. Strangely flowing, their dynamics askew, the metallic parts are laced and embraced by ambient interludes and melancholic soft-spoken chants. But wait, there's more -- much more!

In addition, some classical instruments have been introduced into the mix: string instruments such as cello and violin, as well as piano, that add a singular dimension and colour to the body of music. These, combined with the strange electronica and the human a cappella, ancient-sounding keyboards and acoustic parts, all contribute to the pleasant oddness of the album, which is comprised of two of the band's EPs pressed on a single, 32-minute disc.

If music is a drug, then Vowels' output would be of the hallucinogenic kind; a ghost train ride with lows and highs and abysses of nothingness in between. Eclectic to the core, the band go to great lengths in order to cram into these 32 minutes any musical genre, style or aesthetics they are familiar with, or have been influenced by, therefore creating an idiosyncratic yet beautiful monument to their effort and fervent collective mind. Instead of failing miserably in such a pretentious effort, the recording sounds surprisingly whole and almost flawless (other than the occasional filler), theatrical, melancholic and fresh.

From Devil Doll to Mindrot, from Fen to Arcturus, from Bauhaus through Swans to Pink Floyd's _The Wall_, you'll be hearing insinuations of the aforementioned echoing from every single moment, coming at you from every direction, while the music still plays. Creative and bold, and at times beautiful beyond belief, _Hooves, Leaves & the Death / As December Nightingales_ is a masterwork that needs time to sink and enjoyed. It's both contemplative in nature and emotionally aggressive, yet its violence lies within its insidiousness; its quiet, almost romantic guise will find its way into the hearts and minds of almost any music lover out there and fuck them good for a while.

Contact: http://www.sunandmoonrecords.com/

(article published 29/12/2012)

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