Burton Wagner
A Sentinel's Eyes


4.5
superb

Review

by Jared W. Dillon USER (118 Reviews)
November 25th, 2006 | 62 replies | 9,649 views


Release Date: 2006 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A post rock album that isn't full of a cliches.

13 of 15 thought this review was well written

Post-rock is a dead genre. In the early '90's, bands like Slint and Tortoise were crafting guitar-based rock that had nothing to do with any other music that had since been released. While strands of alternative rock and hardcore could be found in the music that was being created by mostly Louisville-based bands, Slint and their brothers in arms had stumbled upon a new and interesting sound. Bands like Talk Talk, Mogwai, and Godspeed You! Black Emperor would all in the years after post-rock's inception add their own influences and ideas into the genre's mindset, until we came up with the current definition of what is post-rock. While in the early '90s, dynamic build-ups, crescendoes, and epic guitar songs were completely original, it is now 2006, and every post-rock band I hear reminds me of the last big deal in the scene. Sure, some bands like Yndi Halda are still making worthwhile music, but the method for what they are doing is completely ripped off from the post-rock forefathers. Basically post-rock, like hardcore in the '80s, is collapsing in on itself due to the extreme similarities between all of the bands in the genre. And so enters Burton Wagner, with his second LP "A Sentinel's Eyes".

"In The Realms of The Unreal", Burton's previous release was a solo guitar endeavor, recorded on a home computer, using minimal effects. Perhaps minimal is the best way to describe Burton's music, because while "In The Realms of the Unreal" certainly represented some grandiose ideas, it was always beautifully orchestrated in the minimalist mindset. While some may label Burton's music as post-rock because it is the easiest label to pass on it, I like to think of it more as a combination of ambient and noise techniques. Burton rarely uses the crescendo, a staple in the post rock genre, and his dynamic shifts are few and far in-between. Instead of building, Burton is constantly layering and shifting his riffs, which is something more reserved for bands involved in the post-metal field that Isis and Neurosis brought forth. Yet even then, Burton isn't in the same league as those metallic giants, because he has only himself to create music with. "A Sentinel's Eyes" is the culmination of the 2000's new desire for epiciness and emotional connection in music. Burton's musical peers (Radiohead, The Mars Volta, Godspeed You Black Emperor) have in recent years shown the public what epic music is, and Burton has certainly took notice of this new shift in the thoughts of emotional music. "A Sentinel's Eyes" may be based solely upon one man's guitar, but it certainly rivals the emotional power of 2006's most epic releases (Kayo Dot's "Dowsing Anemone With Copper Tongue" and Converge's "No Heroes").

In terms of sonic evolution, "A Sentinel's Eyes" is a noted improvement over "In The Realms of The Unreal". While "Realms" was burdened by repetition and simple guitar playing, "A Sentinel's Eyes" has upped the mastery of execution in Burton's style. While there is still repetition in his music instead of being a negative force, Burton has decided to use it as a way to make his throbbing sound scapes more familiar with the listener. This is perfectly demonstrated in the final "act" of the record, "Blind Eyes Turn Skyward". Relying on a melody that was established in the first stages of the album, Burton carefully experiments with those beginning chords, and makes them even more desperate and lamenting than they originally sounded. This strategy is used on various occasions of the record, but nowhere is it more bombastic and cathartic then in the dying moments of it. Another important aspect that has changed since "Realms" is the improvement of the production. Where "Realms" was muddy due to the lo-fi style recording that Burton had at the time, it seems with "A Sentinel's Eyes" that the production is another element of what makes the album beautiful. Instead of falling victim to his financial shortcomings, Burton instead uses his minimal production by making the record sound better muddy, similar to the post-metal scene I compared his music too earlier in the review.

While in my opinion, "A Sentinel's Eyes" is one of the best releases of 2006, I can see others having problems with it's minimalist nature, as well as it's lo-fi production. The music presented here isn't ridiculously experimental, but it's certainly not Hawthorne Heights. Really, if you are a fan of post-rock, ambient, or solo guitar, I think "A Sentinel's Eyes" would be an enjoyable listen for you. It represents amateur music at its emotional and compositional peak, and for that I think it deserves way more attention than it'll probably ever receive.



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user ratings (29)
Chart.
3.6
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
SubtleDagger
November 25th 2006



737 Comments


If anyone wants it, it isn't currently being hosted but a few people have it on Soulseek
Also today is my birthday :7)

JohnXDoesn't
November 25th 2006



1247 Comments


this was a very nice review for this Burton Wagner character. i'm sure he is headed for stardom on an internet near you...

good work on the review. very nice.


SD you didn't even rate the review, lol...
This Message Edited On 11.25.06

The Jungler
November 25th 2006



4827 Comments


Yeah, good job on the review.
I've heard some of the stuff off this (via myspace) and some of the stuff off the last CD. All good.

Serpento
November 25th 2006



2351 Comments


Loved the review, and I agree with the first paragraph (a friend at school says the same thing to me all the time, so 2 people can't all be wrong...)

I might check this out now. GY!BE is running thin in my "I like it" department.This Message Edited On 11.25.06

SubtleDagger
November 25th 2006



737 Comments


SD you didn't even rate the review, lol...

I'm trying to be modest this time

Jom
Staff Reviewer
November 25th 2006



2597 Comments


I liked In the Realms... a hell of a lot, and this album looks like it's going to top that convincingly... but I don't have Soulseek
Good job with the review, Jared, and good job at making good music, Burt.

711
November 25th 2006



1342 Comments


Hey, Great review :thumb:
I quite enjoyed Realms, so I definately plan on listening to this, if I can...

team7disorder
November 25th 2006



40 Comments


solid review. i really liked in the realms.... and am currently obtaining the new stuff. also, happy birthday.

DFelon204409
Emeritus
November 25th 2006



3995 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Who has it on slsk? I'm DFelon204409 on that business, believe it or not. However, I'm currently living off of random wireless connections I find up here in the mountains so somebody soon prease.

Syncratic
November 25th 2006



756 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I need to hear both albums.



Kage
November 25th 2006



1173 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I have trouble taking this review at face value when the reviewer and the reviewee seem to be such good buds.

I still want to hear this though.This Message Edited On 11.26.06

SubtleDagger
November 25th 2006



737 Comments


Jared is actually very critical of my stuff (mostly the stuff off the old album)
Actually he's just critical altogether
I'm getting on Soulseek (SubtleDagger) so I'll be able to transfer either album
I'm currently playing Guitar Hero 2 today though since I got it for my birthday so don't bug me too much

Kage
November 26th 2006



1173 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Do you have Slsk 156 or 157?

SubtleDagger
November 26th 2006



737 Comments


156c according to my slsk

SubtleDagger
November 28th 2006



737 Comments


http://www.sendspace.com/file/55cl0p
Download here

IsItLuck?
Emeritus
November 29th 2006



4925 Comments


Sounds good. Nice review. Is there any other place I can get it besides soulseek? myspace/purevolume/AIM?This Message Edited On 11.29.06

foreverendeared
November 29th 2006



14678 Comments


ummm you mention Louisville based bands but it says in Burton Wagoner's profile that he is from Florida... so i'm confused. i'm from louisville that's why i ask.

DFelon204409
Emeritus
November 29th 2006



3995 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Hey the sendspace link isn't working. Everything looks cool but there's no automatic download, and I can't find a download link.

Mister Mop
November 29th 2006



266 Comments


i downloaded like 4 songs of this from burton wagner's myspace... to me its like the instrumental art rock sonic youth thing

its pimpin'!

JordanS
November 29th 2006



319 Comments


I would love to hear this, especially since it is from a site member. My band is yet to record, but we have 4 or 5 original songs just about wrapped up. When we are finished, I'll post them up.



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