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|TROGLODYTE DAWN - s/t review by Jason Hillenburg @ Doomantia
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|Author:||trogdawn [ Thu Oct 09, 2014 11:57 am ]|
|Post subject:||TROGLODYTE DAWN - s/t review by Jason Hillenburg @ Doomantia|
http://www.doommantia.com/2014/10/trogl ... wn-st.html
Jason Hillenburg wrote:
Troglodyte Dawn - S/T ...
We're all in it for the inspiration. Writers, painters, musicians, songwriters, anyone working in an artistic medium lives for those moments when everything falls together in their work. The heart speeds up, sweat pops out of the forehead, and even the hands slightly jitter. In that moment, we feel connected to some reservoir deep within where we hide the truth about ourselves, experiences, and what we love. Even rarer still are those moments when we sustain that same flush of inspiration over the course of an entire work. Troglodyte Dawn's self-titled release from Stone Groove Records manages that impressive feat.
The band describes itself as "doom with ambient tendencies", an amusing way to phrase it, as if those ambient tendencies are bad habits needing curtailed. The album opens with an expression of those ambient tendencies, "667", an introductory instrumental establishing the general tone for what's to come. "Fallen World" is a model of tight songwriting. The crushing, uncluttered opening riff pile drives its way into memory like a piston, the percussion dodges self-indulgence, and the tempo shifts contrast with each other in a compelling way. The lyrical content never lapses into clichés or tropes. The lyrics are tailored to serve the musical content rather than standing on their own, but full of brief flashes of observant detail.
"Redeemed" is imaginative, idiosyncratic, and yet wholly accessible. The song startled me on first listen. I've heard nothing in my thirty-nine years alive like its serious unblinking delivery of religious subject matter over an orchestrated march. Orchestrated, in this sense, means structured by melody and the stellar vocal pulls it off. This is someone testifying about the faith for redemption and the melodic sweetening surroundings the chorus with a grand air. The sparkling guitar work on "Longing" has, thanks to its "circular" feel, a romantic air, but is never maudlin. "Forever After" is a brilliant rewrite of Black Sabbath's classic "After Forever". The lyrics have a completely different slant - rather than succumbing to the cynicism and despair strewn through the Sabbath lyric, Troglodyte Dawn stresses the seriousness of its subject while offering hope for a better life. A loose, informal-sounding performance approximating the original benefits from raw and inspired guitar playing - it sounds full of joy, proud that it has successfully co-opted a resonant aspect of a great band's vision and turned it into something uniquely its own. Pouring old wine into new bottles doesn't always work, but it does here. The tacked on excepts including Tommy Chong emphasize another element of this performance - tribute, not just to the track and band, but to an earlier era in their personal lives.
Troglodyte Dawn shows their scope with "Flower", a tuneful track driven by an artfully expressed metaphor. The song's vocals and nylon-string acoustic guitar sound recall Jimmy Page's mid-80's collaboration with Roy Harper, Whatever Happened To Jugula? The clear, resonant timber of the singing cuts through the music in an authoritative way and impressively mines palpable emotive highlights from the lyrics. The blurred chanting and skeletal backbeat of the brief instrumental "Dood" is the album's oddest moment, perhaps, but its traditional strengths, like a beautifully simple hook, aren't easily forgotten.
We're dropped back in doom territory for "Lust", the album's longest piece thus far, and it's worth the wait. Troglodyte Dawn blast through a melting pot of tempos, but each section flows into the next and the band never fails to cover their tracks and hide any stitching. Another impressive aspect of the song is how the composition invokes its influences, predominantly Black Sabbath, without ever immersing itself in full-on imitation. "Look On The Cross" is another spiritually themed song and has a hazy, hallucinatory edge. The fuzzed out rhythm guitar and languid tempos work well with the theatrical vocal delivery. The effect is almost hymnal and contrasts sharply with the song's vague psychedelic stylings. The album concludes with another ambient piece, "Dawn", that is an evocative bookend to the first track.
Inspiration and structure. If you have one without the other, you've met half of the potential in anything. Troglodyte Dawn's songs are full of passion and skill, cross genres with admirable confidence, and never waste the listener's time. Highly recommended.
Words: J. Hillenburg
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