Friday, 8 July 2011

Auspicium – Hope is all you Have (Curt's review)

     I usually don’t like to shit on other people’s creativity, especially when they are trying to express themselves through unique music in a genre I love.  I also like to generally give demos the benefit of the doubt and provide artists with constructive criticism; rather than unnecessary ridicule. 

     The first time I listened to this demo, it immediately reminded me of depressive black metal acts like Trist and Hypothermia (especially Trist.)  I thought that the swirling reverb, atrocious guitar tone and off time melodies were meant to conjure a spirit of nihilistic bleakness... they don’t.  After listening to “Hope is all you Have” a second time I realized that it was actually just another “post rock/black metal” band attempting to make a name for itself in a flooded genre. 

     The first song is an instrumental and doesn’t really feel like a proper intro; it feels more like a stand alone track.  It has some dumb noise in the background and some atonal guitar riffs going on as well.  There is a “melody?” over top that is out of key with the background noise (if that’s possible.)  The timing is so horrendous in this track, I question whether or not this dude could even be bothered to use a metronome.  This intro made me think of a half assed attempt at Xasthur and is one of the reasons I mistook the band as depressive black metal.  

     The rest of this album has lots of layers of guitar that all bleed together into a homogonous mass of nonsense.  Many of these layers have misplaced notes which render them out of key with the rest of the music.  The guitar tone doesn’t help much ether; it is drenched in reverb and the distortion sounds incredibly weak and muffled.  I think that the overuse of reverb was an attempt at covering up all the mistakes, if that is the case it didn’t work.  There is a LOT of places where the timing is totally off, the tremolo picking is inconsistent and the guitarist hits wrong notes.  The most common mistake is when his finger hits the wrong part of the fret and makes a buzzing noise, it is obvious he recorded this demo in one take (or at least I hope so.) 

     There are a few positive aspects of this demo as well, there are a few melodies here and there where every layer comes together and is on time!  These moments really shine and provide hope for this band.  The clean vocals are also surprisingly well done (although misplaced) they are like a cross between early Ulver and Alcest.  The harsh vocals on the other hand are really dumb… they don’t display any emotion and are there just so they can “look like a black metal band.”  It sounds like the vocalist was trying to do his vocals really quietly so that he wouldn’t wake up his parents in the next room.

     This demo is really bad… plain and simple; this doesn’t mean that Auspicium suck.  I think that there is some potential with this band.  Auspicium have 2 full-length albums making a release like this inexcusable.  Apparently this demo is going to be re-recorded with real drums, hopefully when this is done everything else will be also reworked.  Until then, hope is all I have for this band. 

Curt’s rating: 37%

Just because I don’t like it, doesn’t mean you won’t like it!  Check these guys out and support the underground!

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