Sculptured
Embodiment


3.5
great

Review

by Tyler Munro EMERITUS
May 17th, 2008 | 45 replies | 9,320 views


Release Date: 2008 | Tracklist

Review Summary: death metal for smarty pants-es.

Don Anderson wants you to know how super smart he is. Allegedly his most “personal project”, Sculptured seems sadly fixated on hyper-pretentious and overly referential songwriting. While the The Spear of the Lily is Aureoled was a mostly solid outing, Arnold Schoenberg’s 12-tone technique pushed Apollo Ends into the upper-echelon of avant-unlistenability. With Embodiment, Don professed his yearning to further explore “matrix systems and serialism” as well his attempt to continue developing ways of using patterns and shapes to compose music. Though the majority of this floats happily over my head, it’s made abundantly clear that Don Anderson not only knows a lot about music, but is willing to compromise his own to prove it. Thankfully, Embodiment is not the mess it could’ve have been. In fact, I dare to say it’s the most listenable and personable Sculptured album yet. Whether it comes as a result of the 9 year gap between albums or musical maturation I cannot say, but I can certainly attest to one thing: Embodiment is as unique as it is challenging as it is listenable. Take from that what you will.

“Taking My Body Apart” wastes no time in abolishing the often dreary atmosphere established on Sculptured’s previous outings, an oddity considering its death-based subject matter. Propelled by both Dave Murray’s frantic drumming and a newfound sense of urgency, Embodiment establishes a high gear early on, tactfully roping in listeners with a sound that, while still as complex as ever, comes off a lot more natural and decipherable upon first listen. Allegedly based around a musical “triangle”, the 8:31 opener rarely takes its excessive backing to insufferable heights. “The Shape of Rage” places fervent drumming alongside Andy Winter’s contrasted keyboard work, which manages to sound both amazing and atrocious, often in the same musical phrase. Using a psych-out ending midway through, “The Shape of Rage” is also perhaps the most reminiscent of something off The Spear… or Apollo Ends, though the abrasive angularity now seems more controlled alongside Don’s distinctly dorky vocals. Each track follows this formula to a tee, though it’s evidently a formula contingent on perplexing the listener. One could argue that the album is formulaically un-formulaic, though that would in all likelihood make said hypothesizer more pretentious than the band.

In many ways, it can be a chore to distinguish between tracks, even to the point of it being hard to note when one begins and another ends. Yet, as futile as the separation of tracks seems to be, Embodiment is initially too overwhelming to digest in a full sitting. Amidst Murray’s consistently confusing drumming, Winter’s pianoing, organing, bleep-blooping and Anderson’s shape-shifting guitar work, it’s easy for one to get completely lost in the shuffle. Oh, and on that note, most of these songs will sound much worse when thrown into a library-shuffle. Therein lies Embodiment’s plagued dichotomy, as it is more often than not excessive as a whole but too disjointed and fragmented on its own. As a result, Embodiment certainly ripens with age and patience, though for such a supposedly personal release, dedication may be asking too much from the listener.

For some, Embodiment is a masterpiece display of textural compositional prowess, for others it’s no more than a pretentious, unlistenable mess. I’ve found the happy medium, and given the band’s apparent confusion regarding whether the project is an exercise in technical execution or personal expression, that’s the best reception they can hope for.

A highly varied grouping of the early jazz-death scene, avant-classical compositions with a touch of Maiden, Embodiment: Collapsing Under the Weight of God will certainly annoy, reward and confuse listeners for the rest of the year. Once again, take from that what you will.



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user ratings (26)
Chart.
3.8
excellent
other reviews of this album
avestin (4)
A fantastic musical sculpture...


Comments:Add a Comment 
Tyler
Emeritus
March 6th 2008


7926 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Another super quick one. Written in an oddly pretentious tone mostly as a companion piece to an oddly pretentious album. Typos and the like can be pointed out at will.

Jom
Staff Reviewer
March 6th 2008


2674 Comments


oddly pretentious

I don't think that's odd at all! But good review as always :p

hermitspancho
March 6th 2008


278 Comments


I've been waiting for this in the hope you would clarify why I quite like the album at the same time as finding it very annoying.
You did,particularly with ,'Dons distinctly dorky vocals ' so ty .

Crimson
March 6th 2008


1935 Comments


I've read some good things but never checked it out, what do you mean by dorky vocals though?

Willie
Moderator
March 6th 2008


15964 Comments


Now I understand what you were talking about in my review... I want to give this a try.

Digging: Necropoli - I

Eliminator
March 6th 2008


2067 Comments


siqq

Wizard
March 6th 2008


19383 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Sounds like this is one of those albums that takes multiple listens to really appreciate it.
Good review as usual Cocaine.

Digging: Mistigo Varggoth Darkestra - The Key to the Gates of the Apocalypse

DWittisarockstar
March 6th 2008


1501 Comments


[quote=review]While the The Spear of the Lily is Aureoled was a mostly solid outing[/quote]
minor typo. Great review, this sounds like something I would enjoy.

Foodforthegods
March 6th 2008


425 Comments


Not my type. Good review anyway.

Killed4less
March 6th 2008


328 Comments


This certainly seems interesting, something for me to check out soon. Great review as well.

McP3000
March 6th 2008


3941 Comments


summary brings the laughs

Feedbacker
March 6th 2008


14 Comments


I had no idea this was out.

Since I found The Spear and Apollo Ends both solid, I'll probably check this out.

Good review and such.This Message Edited On 03.06.08

gasmaskman
March 6th 2008


1006 Comments


Sounds interesting. Gonna give this a listen.

violentmog
March 7th 2008


73 Comments


Don Anderson is my favorite professor's name. I'm going to go ahead and assume this is a different Don Anderson though.

eggsvonsatan
March 7th 2008


1087 Comments


I want to like this, but I feel like this guy has a serious identity crisis.
Sounds like he's trying to ride in the wake of Atheist, but it's just not working.

beans
March 7th 2008


2332 Comments


sounds very interesting, ill check it out

lol @ the summary

combustion07
March 8th 2008


5352 Comments


I'm going to check this out. I want to hear what you mean by dorky vocals.


Killed4less
March 8th 2008


328 Comments


The vocals are just really weak and lame. The cleans sound wannabe symphonic metal and the growls are pathetic.

Interesting music though.This Message Edited On 03.08.08

Tyler
Emeritus
March 8th 2008


7926 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I don't know how the vocals can sound like "wannabe symphonic metal" but I agree that the vocals are definitely weak. They're just thankfully harder to hear thanks to the music being more relentless this time around.

combustion07
March 8th 2008


5352 Comments


I got the first 3 songs I can't find the rest its a 3 for me though from what I've heard so far.



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