an experimusic.com review
So I have a desk full of records for review from some heavily established acts, some of which have been lying around for several weeks. As soon as A Death Cinematic (ADC) dropped on the system though, this reviewer has been listening to very little else and was compelled to write a review as soon as. Being a sucker for the Godspeed school of post-apocalyptic post rock, ADC’s sombre and charred soundscapes that glisten with a glimmering ray of hope totally captivated from the first listen. Self-taught and hell-bent on utilising a fully DIY approach, the tracks on ‘A Parable….’ are improvised pieces that are constructed simply through the use of a guitar, amp and some effect pedals with computers only being utilised in post-production as a mixing and clean-up tool. A quick gaze upon the timeless and emotive urban landscape imagery and short-videos adorning ADC’s website reveals a fascination with the uneasy meeting of decayed industrialisation and the boundless and epic beauty of nature, a phenmonena that is sonically documented on this release.
Sprawled across two discs and packaged in a beautifully crafted DIY box, the 11 movements on ‘A Parable….’ shift slowly and strategically between lushly textured post-rock compositions, that are steeped in an apocalyptic atmosphere, and discordant drone symphonics whilst all-the-time wringing out that ultra emotive ray of hope. The fusion of these post-rock melodics and fuzzy drones are composed with aplomb and are designed to squeeze out every last drop of emotive audio-melancholy possible. Occasionally, on tracks such as ‘When I leave….’ and ‘Knives At My Brain…’, ADC breaks into bouts of perpetuating fuzz-laden skree which is reminiscent of the hypnotic bob and sway of Skullflower, Vibracathedral Orchestra or Ashtray Navigations. Most of the time however this skuzz sound is integrated amongst cleaner and more focused melodies that form into epic soundscapes which crystallise the very fabric of emotion that is portrayed by pre-apocalyptic fear and post-apocalyptic mourning.
After the lushly textured, hazy driftcore of ‘The Grasses Will Grow…..’, ‘The Sun Glints Through…’ stomps authoritatively with a psychedelic metallic doom aesthetic. The charging momentum provided by the perpetually chunky riffage seeps right into your cerebral making your head automatically twitch and nod whilst the lilting Eastern-esque feedback melodics disorientate and captivate wholeheartedly.
With its twin layers of solitary guitar and atmospheric feedback ebbing and flowing, ‘The Heart Races…’ is a genuine masterclass in emotionally isolated expansiveness and proves to be the perfect follow-up to the dark energy of the previous track. On the second disc, the opener once again pits deliciously engaging liquid-guitar melodies against a charging wall of moody fuzz to visceral effect . After the desolate and paranoia-inducing sci-fi decay of ‘Knives at My Brain…’ mellowism ensues on the follow-up track allowing one to take heed of those glory-times now destroyed. ‘…And All The Leaves….’ goes on to reverberate with emotive majesty, the glistening liquid guitars locking into idealistic melodic motifs whilst an effervescent burble plays out in the distance. At the end of this epic sprawl of an album comes ‘Brilliance of the First Morning Snow’, a perfect closing piece which fuses a pessimistic low-end turbulence with an optimistic guitar haze, the strings quivering with a sense of expectation amongst the sea of hopelessness. Beautiful.
Scoring what sounds like that golden but brief period of time when the sky is black and society is under no illusion as to its devastating fate, ADC composes sweeping cinematic sound for the lost soul. Some may complain about the lack of explosiveness and how tracks peter out instead of ‘rising to the fore’ but they would be missing the concept. With ‘A Parable….’ ADC has travelled to the very core of the concept of post-rock and has carved out a unique, dark and luscious territory that stands up there with the genre’s forbearers. To immerse oneself in the work of ADC would be a thoroughly recommended experience as the audio and visual go hand-in-hand and are designed to stimulate your emotions by showcasing a tangible peek into the world of post-apocalyptic melancholic romanticism. (KS)
For fans of; Godspeed, Esmerine, Vic Chesnutt, Hotel Hotel, Skullflower, Vibracathedral Orchestra
You have been marked for the apocalypse
Gloomily. Improvised. Robbing your senses and hand-made.
The title of the current double disc full lengh by A Death Cinematic is truely a colossus. Hardly comprehensible for the average english-learning people, full of possiblilities for interpretation, full of questions and full of heart and soul put in by an Amercian, who avoids to mention his name in such a clever way that even avowed anonymoholics might take a leave out of his book.
Yet, some information about the nameless from nowhere can be wormed out of the internet. Accordingly, besides his audio/sound/music entity A Death Cinematic he runs the design-project simple box construction. The latter is accountable for CD covers, T-shirt- and book-printings, as well as photography and other extraordinary graphic designs. This is mentioned because A Parable... not only represants a colossus syntactically but constitutes an artwork-feast for the eye designed with a great love for detail as well. Noble cartons, adorned with marvellous photographies envelope the even more beautiful actual cd-packaging: A picture perfectly reflecting the atmosphere of the release printed on chipboard, stamped songtitles on wonderful hand-made gatefold sleeves and the two discs which, presumably, might have found their new home in the CD-player.
1. a short story on the theme of a broken dream
2. the grasses will grow tall over our cities
3. the sun glints through the dust risen form their hooves
4. the heart races with black worms and my blood is on fire
5. when I leave I wish to kill the sun
When the sky darkens as the cd is put into the player and the first sounds of a broken dream reach the ears, a new world will be opened up to the listener. A new world, which seems lost despite all of it's beauty, which will fall into the apocalypse with all of their marked inhabitants. Part 1 of the completely improvised evocation of the end of the world strikes with drony parts, covered with clean guitars, similar to the fog which lays itself upon the valleys, while the view in the distance is blurred and even the last remaining sunbeams are segregated from our surroundings.
1. vengeance runs forth, deep through the veins
2. knives at my brain in the discordance of sleep
3. their blood crawls through frozen fields and dead nights
4. onward (as the vultures take the sky) we slip into the apocalypse
5. ...and all the leaves trembled (with the dawn sirens)
6. brilliance of the first morning snow
As drony and noisy as it began in the first part, the second disc continues. Layer by Layer the beauty of sadness is again assembled to an unfathomable atmosphere, which lets the emotions strike out for vengeance. The middle section's fuzzy guitars are manipulated beyond recognition, just to sound as if they're accepting their fate in brilliance of the first morning snow. With the certainty in the back of the head, that the end is near and marked for the apocalypse with an blood-red X on their backs.
Available now through Myspace. Make sure to get your hands on a copy, there are only 250 them.
The whole album can be previewed at lastfm.
Genre: Experimental / Ambient
Part 1 (46:04)
Part 2 (48:51)
A Death Cinematic – A Parable on the Aporia of Vengeance and the Beauty of Impen
It took me a long time and a great deal of contemplation to finally organize my thoughts on A Death Cinematic’s A Parable on the Aporia of Vengeance and the Beauty of Impenetrable Sadness. Sure, the interview I conducted with the man behind A Death Cinematic had given me some much needed insight, as had the time spent poring over the sprawling double album itself. But things didn’t completely click until recently, as I was reading The Gunslinger, book one of Stephen King’s The Dark Tower series. As I read the story of Roland, the last Gunslinger walking across the arid, endless desert in search of The Man in Black, it occurred to me that A Parable… would make the perfect soundtrack.
In many ways, the music of A Death Cinematic is Roland the Last Gunslinger re-cast as the Last Guitarist, a lone musician wandering across a post-apocalyptic wasteland in search of redemption. Armed with only a guitar, an amp and some effects, A Death Cinematic creates the sonic equivalent not of ultimate catastrophe itself, but of the equally dark and terrifying repercussions. A Parable… is a sonic rumination on the days following the end of the world, filled with sorrow, yearning, anger and perhaps just the faintest glimmer of hope, no larger than a pin prick.
From a purely musical standpoint, A Death Cinematic recalls to an extent the spaghetti-western doom of Earth’s Hex… album, as well as the droning ambience of SunnO))) at their most subdued. But these are merely points of reference, because A Death Cinematic is ultimately its own unique entity. Although the guitar/amp/effects setup may sound deceptively simple, A Parable… is anything but an easy listen. Layers of guitar envelop and entrance the ears of the listener, from washes of modulating static and noise to thick doom riffs to eerie, jangling arpeggios. While the tempo of the album is almost uniformly glacial throughout its duration, it never becomes boring or inert thanks to A Death Cinematic’s mastery of dynamics and variation within this leaden pace. The grim sonic alchemy created through the deft arrangement and interplay of sounds transcends such conventions as tempo and structure, creating an utterly engaging listening experience.
The production perfectly suits the album, warm yet sparse and minimal. This allows the various nuances created by the layers of sound to come through, yet leaves just a little dirt caked around the edges. Special mention must also be made of the incredible artwork and packaging, painstakingly hand-assembled by the artist. Holding the this piece of functional art in your hands while listening to the album only adds to the feeling that you’ve stumbled across the last will and testament of the Last Guitarist, left behind as he set off to wander the wastelands on some unknown quest.
Overall, A Parable on the Aporia of Vengeance and the Beauty of Impenetrable Sadness is an exploration of pure, unadulterated sound at it’s most bleak and harrowing, the last strains of music to escape from a dying world that has long since moved on. Are you ready to experience the end of days?