Friday, November 18, 2016

Angela Martyr : "the November Harvest"

Here is a rather interesting project.  Not what I expect out of Italy. The mix is very weird with the drum machine is more lo-fi than the vocal production with the guitars falling some where in the cloudy middle path. There is an almost 90's alternative sensibility to the vocal melody of these songs. This more hard rock edge is further accented by the guitar solo that kicks off the second song.  Things are dense and atmospheric, but I would not be quick to say these guys are in anyway shoe-gaze. The vocals almost  border on finding themselves in the zip-code of catchy post-grunge . They are more influenced Hum and Alice in Chains than Swans like their press release claims. "Deathwish' is less focused and the melodies drift over the hanging chords.

"Serpent" proves to be not only a heavier song , but a more effectively crafted one as it's atmosphere has more direction and adds to the song rather than allowing you to become lost in it's distraction. The first hint of anything that could be derived by Swans also carries a hint of industrial, though this is almost approached in a manner similar to HEALTH, though with less polished production. Then I recognize the sluggish drug glaze of Failure, which is one of the album more dominant influences after coming to this realization, but it is most evident on "Carsleeper". Even with the rather weakly programmed drums which are this project's weak spot he still uses the guitar to add more stomp into "On the Edge of Next Time".  Overall this song seems a little more detached, from an emotional perspective and it effects how I connect to it. The grunge feeling does return again this time with more of a Nirvana feel.

I am not sure how I feel about band's with songs named after themselves, generally I don't like. I do like the slightly higher shift in the pitch of the vocals on this song that closes out the album. It carries an almost doom like feel to it, and I think some comparisons can be made to Jesu or even Godflesh at times. At 13 minutes it's the album's longest song and begins to drone before the breakdown at the six minute mark.  This kills most of the song's dazed momentum. It does band back to life, but the damage is already done and the time wasted makes it a song I would listen to once, but never put on my iPod. The last two minutes is just a whirl of white noise that scared my cat.

I'll round this one up to an 8, if you are looking for an album that sounds like it's a cross between Jesu's heavier moments and Failure then this is a must. For my jaded ears it needs more love in the drum department and some of the fat trimmed here and there, but otherwise I think this project is heading in the right direction.

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