Review Summary: "I felt my thoughts floating up through my fingertips before I could catch them..."
A person has thousands of memories. Memories of the people they've fought, people they've ***ed , places they've been... the list could go on and on. However memories are fragile, precious things, falling through the fingers, leaving only a sense of emptiness and loss for dead images. Many people try to capture memories through art. Such is the case for Taken's final release, Between Two Unseens
. It is the band's last attempt to solidify eight years of experience.
The music of Between Two Unseens
is eponymous in that its contrasting nature. It is not seen but heard. Taken's song-writing is simplistic, using fast-to-slow, hard-to-soft tempo-shifts to change the mood and the progressive direction of the song. However Taken contrast this with the occasional staggering and distortion of riffs to add texture and rhythm to a song. The core instrumental work predictably follows this pattern of opposites.
The guitar work is a gentle discordance, beautifully hypnotic in its high-low contrast. The melodic intertwining of these guitars provides a rhythmic stream of three to six note, emotionally kinetic riffs. The slight touch of synthesisers upon the edges of the guitar riffs and within the background adds an expansive, lucid feel to the emotions. It is the singular scream and the rhythm section that siphon and channel the desperation and loss into the listener's ears. What the three musicians lack in technical ability, they make up with in hard-hitting, emotional poignancy. A single rumble of the bass or a solitary drum rhythm connect and ground the emotions in periods of brooding thought, moments that contrast with the more frenetic sections. This constant juxtaposition of opposing elements creates a very personal power to the music. The sadness and pain of the band is believable. They've been there, done that and they have the deep scars to prove it.
Consequently Between Two Unseens
feels like music played from a stream of consciousness but the thoughts feel fractured at times. Taken have tried to connect all the songs together but the transitions between songs are sometimes too weak with only a single note or drumbeat connecting them. The emotional charge of the album is diminished at points because of these weak transitions and consequently the musical unity of the whole EP is hurt by it. In addition Taken's over-reliance upon the faster tempos and the occasional over-repetition of the higher-pitched guitar riffs can become tiresome, damaging the fluidity of the album even further. However the slower and quieter moments are made that much more potent because of it. Such is the paradox of Between Two Unseens
It's funny to think that Taken's last effort was a musical conflict but unlike many bands, this wasn't an expression of the group's last big “*** you”s to each other. It is an ocean of memories, some sad, some sombre, some bitter, some beautiful. This EP isn't perfect but then neither was their music or their lives. It is not groundbreaking but it is an expression of who
Taken were and why
they existed and that can be just as powerful as any masterpiece.