The Angelic Process
Weighing Souls With Sand


4.0
excellent

Review

by Lewis P. STAFF
December 6th, 2007 | 449 replies


Release Date: 2007 | Tracklist

Review Summary: The Angelic Process’ latest (and last?) effort brings their grungy, metal shoegaze to a fitting, if purely coincidental, end.

The Angelic Process are on hold, indefinitely. Having broken a hand that never fully healed and waiting out an extensive two year reconstruction, K. Angylus has brought the Process to a possible eighth year conclusion. It’s strangely fitting then that the band’s latest (and last?) effort, Weighing Souls with Sand, would come at the time it did. Filled to the brim with mood-altering melodies and boasting a central motif of one’s personal life journey, Weighing Souls with Sand includes all the essences of an ambient swan song, tinged now with tragic irony.

Told in fragmented segments and constantly breaking off to spiral into itself, Weighing Souls with Sand treats its trajectory like the long, central journey of its story. The album title, which, coupled with the fiery, Hellish scenery of the artwork, treats its protagonists like poor souls heaved into a slow, treacherous hike through Hell. The Angelic Process parallel this focus by taking belabored steps, sliding fitfully and erratically from grungy, sonic bouts of scaled riffing and slower, chord-centered arcs. But by realizing the difference between presenting the story and finding themselves in danger of becoming it, The Angelic Process are sure to react appropriately, never stooping into lulls or pratfalls.

This is a testament to the sharp songwriting skills of the two-man band, the guitars and drums attributed to Angylus, while MDragynfly (…) lends herself to the bass and other textures. This male/female dynamic not only allows the vocals to stretch and clash in their respective styles, but also allows the overall tension of Weighing Souls with Sand to round itself out well in tone. MD can certainly hold herself well when matched against Angylus’ brutality, never letting up if she’s called upon. This is immediately apparent in “The Promise of Snakes,” a track that grows traditionally in a doting, reverberating drone before the drums settle into a cathartic rhythm that underlines the hollow hum of the reverb. When the two-minute mark hits, the production is amplified to crowd the sonic boom of the bass and the chaotic pick of the guitar.

Here, like on the rest of Weighing Souls with Sand, Angylus hides his vocals behind the noise, letting his clean shouts become distorted pleas. It’s worth noting the lack of harshness to the vocals outside of the production, the duo riding the airwaves in wisps and cracked whispers rather than a driving force. In this respect, and with a tight grasp on unnerving melody, The Angelic Process call to mind a more diversified Jesu or bombastic Neurosis. When “The Resonance of Goodbye” rises into a primal climax before the song has reached the one-third mark, it packs as huge a wallop as any track off Conqueror when it fades the grainy vibration into the electronics and battle worn blasts. Even the waterlogged “Dying in A-Minor” (cloaking itself in the speaker-bumping reverb which allows the cymbals and drums to lie heavily on the forefront) sounds like dubstep producer Burial showed up to record a metal song.

Although Weighing Souls with Sand’s biggest draw is the way The Angelic Process handle the shifting tone with ease, the album stumbles in briefs patches of spotty mixing. In the otherwise excellent “We All Die Laughing,” the intro finds the now expected drone overpowered while the drums march fervently on, too clean and loud to the point that it’s distracting and off-putting. But before too long, the drums are pushed back to be the blasting backbone to the song, allowing the band to segue from its muddled first half into its short instrumental passage. Ending with the ferociously constructed, black metal strings of its last half, “We All Die Laughing” stands as one of Weighing Souls with Sand’s most notable tracks, heaving on more prominent, wind-channeled melodies. This same principle surges into “World Deafening Eclipse,” the album’s shortest track, which wastes no time shirking its almost poppy melody for quick riffs, just as easily jumping back into the same shoegaze exterior.

On the tail-end of the record is where The Angelic Process pile on a more sinister atmosphere, barely letting up in ferocity for “Burning in the Undertow of God,” calling upon the vitality of dredg’s El Cielo to fill out the wavering vocal melodies. When the guitars and vocals meld to create the song’s last-minute squeal and fade-in with “The Smoke of Her Burning,” there’s an unexpected layer of storytelling that sends Weighing Souls with Sand out on its best foot possible. “The Smoke of Her Burning” is as surprising a track as any, killing the album’s tightest, hardest guitar work for one of the album’s most sedated moments, closing on dwindling, dramatic electronic keyboards. It signals a calm retreat into closure and an exceptional end to what could be The Angelic Process’ final say. It might be a Hellish trip, but it’s well worth the journey, if only to see where it leads… even if it might not be an actual end at all.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
plane
Staff Reviewer
December 6th 2007


6099 Comments


Very long, and not sure how I feel about this so go ahead and critique away. Album is really awesome.

Iluvatar
Staff Reviewer
December 6th 2007


16089 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I will listen to this merely to disagree with you fine sir.

plane
Staff Reviewer
December 6th 2007


6099 Comments


That would be expected, yes, yes.

DeadToPain
December 6th 2007


694 Comments


sounds interesting. i'll have to find this in the dead-land i live in called Ohio.

Willie
Moderator
December 7th 2007


16117 Comments


grungy, metal shoegaze? I'm picturing Slowdive influenced by Black Metal... probably not even in the ballpark, but I'll check it out.

Digging: Kenn Nardi - Dancing With the Past

SynGates
December 7th 2007


2467 Comments


I rather enjoyed this review. I'll check it out

Doppelganger
December 7th 2007


3124 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Excellent review. This sounds excellent and the recs only make me want to hear this more.

the2stranger
December 7th 2007


130 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

I recommend this album with all my heart.
It's my favorite of 2007. Such a powerful album, a very good gateway album for people looking to get in to ambient drone.
Nice review, although there could e a bit more focus on the emotional value that this album offers instead of the fact that it's just music.This Message Edited On 12.07.07

plane
Staff Reviewer
December 7th 2007


6099 Comments


The thing is, I tried to touch on the emotional value but not wallow in it, especially since that is sort of an obvious route when it comes to reviewing albums like this full of "ambient drone."

Eliminator
February 9th 2008


2067 Comments


It's alright.

Eliminator
March 3rd 2008


2067 Comments


ive been listening to this more lately and it would be really good if it weren't for the drum sound/mixing

BallsToTheWall
April 6th 2008


44800 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This is good, not sure what i'll rate it but it's good.

Digging: Pink Turns Blue - If Two Worlds Kiss

Metalikane
April 9th 2008


851 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This album gives me the weirdest feeling. I can't describe it. Great stuff.

Metalikane
July 24th 2008


851 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Wow. I just found out that K. Angylus died this past April. Not sure if anyone else knew, or cared, but that's some pretty tragic shit as far as I'm concerned. Damn.

DBlitz
July 24th 2008


1690 Comments


^ oh that sucks.

this album is great

Zoo
November 26th 2008


3759 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Good fucking Christ this is awesome.

*Blown away*

BallsToTheWall
May 20th 2009


44800 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Metalgaze FTW.

fireaboveicebelow
October 17th 2009


6837 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

this is one of the best things I've heard in recent memory

jingledeath
October 24th 2009


7104 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

pretty awesome yeah

fireaboveicebelow
October 27th 2009


6837 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

got this on double vinyl



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