Saturday, December 4, 2010

Sleeping Peonies "Rose Curl, Sea Swirl" CD

You have to be careful when stepping into the world of non-violent black metal. It's a world I generally avoid, but every now and then I'll hear something I like. English band Sleeping Peonies is def the kind of band you have to be in the right mood to listen to, if you want hatred, chaos, and noise you won't find it here. This is happy person music. In other words, you'll need a fistful of drugs to really get the most out of this. In many ways this is a pop album, it's "feel good" music. What I like about this band is it is very freely composed, there are no laws or rules it follows, and shows a good deal of genuine musicianship and theoretical understanding, which is def not a necessity to making great black metal, but your brain needs to hear some complex and richly detailed compositions every now and then. Then again if that's what you need it's probably a safer bet to throw on some Shoenberg and let your ears run wild with some *true* genius, the kind of genius that comes from pure prodigy talent coupled with decades of studying composition as a craft and allowing the quality of the craft to become the art in itself, but that's not the point here. As for instrumentation, I really wish they used live drums, it's the one thing that kills this album for me. Although the programming exhibits some interesting ideas, and finds a nice balance alternating from speedy blast beats to technical intricate advanced patterns, the executions falls a little on the flat side purely due to the nature of electronic drums. The guitar sounds mix up a lot, it is certainly not a single static tone throughout. Running the gamut from broken arpeggios to suspended chordal sweeps, the distortion of the guitars is all over the map, from soft lo-fi fuzz to clean to chunky lo- and hi-fi. Also somewhat unique to this band in the realm of black metal is there are real basslines pretty much throughout, so if your brain craves a single contour melody it will be pissed off at this. I find the basslines they use to be hit or miss, sometimes greatly adding to the primary phrases and sometimes detracting. And another thing I find it necessary to address is that the layout/font/etc of the insert is just atrocious. I really believe they could not have chosen an uglier font. The pictures inside the insert are just as retarded, some hipster-faggot girl sitting in front of a pink barn? What looks like a run-of-the-mill "indie" college kid's dorm room with little artsy pieces of paper hanging from strings from the ceiling? God, no comment. So do I recommend this CD to black metal maniacs? Probably not, well, I guess it depends on what type of maniac you are. This is def something different, it's probably most accurately described as a happy-sounding Depressive Black Metal with many experimental qualities, so if that idea appeals to you I'd say give it a try. If it's anything it's something a little different.

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