Review Summary: Figures Toby Driver wasn't the only musical genius in Kayo Dot.
Ryan McGuire - Bass, Voice
John Carchia - Guitar, Voice
D.J. Murray - Guitar, Voice
Andrew Hock - Guitar, Voice
Tom Malone - Drums
Forbes Graham - Trumpet
Greg Kelly - Trumpet
Greg Massi - Guitar
Noell Dorsey - Voice
Mark J Inman - Violin
A band like Kayo Dot are known for their fearlessness to push the boundaries of what people actually perceive music to be, creating something incredibly different from anything that is out today. Not to say that other bands don't try this, but a man like Toby Driver just seems to have a knack for knowing what he's doing, no matter what challenge he approaches. The man could be the definition for avant-garde with a repertoire he has built up. First in maudlin of the Well, a death metal band that was extremely progressive and pushed the boundaries of death metal to include many incorporations of strings, classical instruments and even saxophone solos. Then there goes an unexpected name change to Kayo Dot, but the boundaries are only pushed farther into the realm of the unknown, especially on Blue Lambency Downward. But, when members of Kayo Dot left, and they put out an album like this, it makes you wonder if it was just Toby Driver behind the driver's seat, or maybe he had a little help from the people backing him up?
Ehnahre is made up of former members of Kayo Dot. They are signed to Sound Devastation Records and released their debut album, The Man Closing Up, on this label. Ehnahre likes to incorporate elements of doom, drone, death and black metal all into a not so easily accessible package. Just being a little bit like Kayo Dot, the music isn't something you can just put in and start signing along with immediately. But, once you see it, you notice that these guys know how to write a few smashing tunes. To a more straight-forward death/black metal approach (Part I, Part II), to songs that linger on a lot longer more like doom/drone metal (Part III, Part IV), they either show that they were apart of the creativity behind Kayo Dot, or were heavily influenced by it.
This album revolves around a concept, a concept I can't figure out yet, but it has a concept. Conceived around the texts of Donald Justice, the band describes the album as "a through-composed, singular piece of music, divided into five movements. Theses five 'songs' are intrinsically linked, through text, form, and motivic material. The texts are based on the improvisational poetry of Donald Justice. The dark and lonely imagery of the work informs the music, as well as the illustration of oceanic themes."
The music indeed fits the bill. The music throughout the whole album sounds dark, lonely and depressing. From the almost 5 minutes of just random bleeps and screeches (which I found pointless at first, but I found their purpose after a few listens), to the dark and brooding nature of all the vocalist's voices, this album will envelop you in sadness. The guitar will ring a sad lonely note, and the lyrics will paint a border-line suicidal picture. This isn't metal that is downright scary like, to say, Black Sheep Wall, but more metal that is depressing and to a point, thought-provoking, sort of like Burzum. The guitars are just dripping to the tip with reverb, distortion and who knows what other crazy effects. With 4 different vocalist's doing the job, the vocals vary a lot throughout the album, and the bass thumps to a lonely heart and the drums pound to a dark sky.
Even though I may not actually grasp
the concept behind the album, I can feel the emotion put into it, and I can feel the pain of the voice, the disturbing pictures the instruments paint, the raging thunder clouds and lighting the vocals scream and screech. Ehnahre sure do play their own brand of metal, branching out a lot creatively and creating some crazy songs. It may not be the best metal release of 2008, but hell, it's up there and is contending.