Music Reviews

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Artist: iVardensphere (@)
Title: The Methuselah Tree
Format: CD
Label: Metropolis (@)
Rated: *****
After some appetizers on Metropolis from this interesting Canadian "fusionist" band, the announced new album by iVardensphere got finally released by Dave Heckman's label and it doesn't let high expectations down. Named after the Great Basin bristlecone pine tree, the second longest living tree in the world, whose exact location in a grove on the White Mountains of Eastern California nearby Los Angeles has been kept secret in order to safeguard it, "The Methuselah Tree" seems to expound and unroll the theme of natural grandeur and silent majesty clashing with human misery and self-destructive attitude. Such an "environmentalist" declension of eschatology, where the knotty pine and its branches which looks like arms of a prayer striving compassion could subtend a silent teaching to mankind (the sombre voice of Jamie Blacker sings on the final lines ofthe title-track, a collaborative song with Mlada Fronta, "I See A Future So Bleak With Only Dead Leaves/And A Hundred Broken Dreams"), exudes a kind of somewhat fatalist awareness, which is quite common in the scene, but the way they musically transmute this concept is really good: they tempered their porous style, which melts tribal pulses and industrial sonorities, by means of epic and eerie moods and cinematic insertions so that iVardensphere rolls along synaesthetic lanes and arouses mightily visionary suggestions which could surmise a possible crossbreed between Juno Reactor and Two Steps From Hell. Besides some unconvincing tracks such as the song "Society Of Dogs", whose meaningful lyrics and good sonic doornails got somehow neautralised by a predictable song structure with hackneyed arabesque insertions, which makes quite predictable other tracks such as "Observing Bartok (Stamping Dance)" or "Snakecharmer" as well, the stylistical miscellany of this release set many memorable moments aside: even if some tracks ("Eclipse", "Bloodline", "Narada") could sound perfect for action moments of a possible new chapter of Assassin's Creed, I prefer these unchained tracks to other moments of the album due to the devastating energy and the brute force they can emit, but the listener won't fully enter into the spirit of the record without the astonishingly epic introduction on "Mother Of Crows" which features a masterful interpretation by Twilla MacLeod, who also enhances the evocative power of "A Black Sun On The Horizon (Invocation)" or the gothic medley "Second Sleep".



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