Issue - Nov '03 Firing Squad
Review by Dave Benner
Book of Illusions: Chapter III
"Eclectic Dark Experimental Soundscapes" - That's the band's self-apponted genre claim, and I can't really put it into better words than that. This band should be signed to The End Records. I can't really compare the compositions on this, the VLE's third release (all following a complex story line, each album as a chapter) and it's some of the most drawn out space-filling post-metal I've ever heard. I guess more than anything I hear a lot of the same guitar sounds and jazz/classical guitar elements found on any of Agalloch's releases, built with the atmosphere and subtle depth of Nest. Small elements of Opeth, or the toned down Amorphis stuff creep through a bit, but the record is strikingly original. Drumming is kind of sparse, and played lightly when present, completely acoustic on the first track. A few times in the record the mood shifts to the exact opposite of the light impact on most of the album, building lightly to or jumping in one split second to a charring, sonic blast of excruciatingly coarse yet still flowing chaotic melody.
The songwriting is completely focused and brilliant, laying down change after change after constant change, but all in a perfectly molded flow that surges and winds around itself, more like blood flowing freely through a vessel system than a band playing a few instruments. The exceptionally talented and genius songwriting is so completely focused and perfected that the end product can't really be fucked with. You won't say, "I wish they did this different" or "Why does this part sound like this?" You also won't be picking up change and windmiling in the pit to this. Turn out the lights, get dosed and just let this band take you wherever the hell it wants to. I listened to it on the subway going to work, and missed my stop, I was so drawn in.