Rafter
Quiet Storm


3.5
great

Review

by Irving Tan STAFF
January 30th, 2011 | 29 replies | 6,632 views


Release Date: 2011 | Tracklist

Review Summary: The soundtrack to Ragnarok.

Heimdall holds the Gjallahorn into the air and blows deeply into it; just behind him, Odin converses with Mim's head. The Midgard serpent Jormungandr furiously writhes, causing waves to crash and threatening to swallow entire seas whole. As this happens, the world tree Yggdrasil shudders and groans, anticipating the impending slaughter of the gods; to the east, the ship Naglfar breaks free and begins sail. Deep underground, the dwarves groan by their stone doors and whisper secrets older than the moon itself.

There is no doubt that a personal music association may be just that - personal. Yet, Rafter's Quiet Storm seems strangely suited to such a bleak horrorscape - even if it is completely unintentional. A certain poetic melancholy pervades the one-man record, allowing it to defy its lo-fi industrial metal tendencies and carve, out of oil, a canvas of horrifying proportions. Take, for instance, album opener "Convenience or Death", whose defeatist tone suggests a sinking sun disappearing behind the raised spears of a metal army. In the background, the song's militaristic beats thunder ominously away, completing an introductory hymn that is anachronistically existential, yet unfathomably compelling. Any notion of this being a black sheep that just happens to be chilling out on the CD is immediately dispelled by the rumbling creep of "Nothing Here Worth Stealing", which boldly trundles through a harsh winterscape that is filled with nothing but the battle fallout of Tyr and the hellhound Garm.

Rafter admits that the design of Quiet Storm was fueled by inspirations of banjaxed death metal tapes, mortal folly, and "a wave of existential freakout, human mind explosion". Ca c'est un peu bizarre, but a man is allowed to dream. He calls the record his fantasy; "like Darkthrone meets The Kinks meets Lee Perry". Of course, he's entitled to have his own way with his own mind, but the frantic electronic de-rezzing of "Innocence, In A Sense" might as easily recall propaganda images of Surtr advancing from the south, his sword brighter than the sun. For the rest of the album, Rafter goes for the jugular, calling forth all his pop sensibilities and jamming them into the visual equivalent of a bastardized stereo. The results are stunning: the moaning pop noise of "Interlude" sounds like it was crafted for a scene where rocky cliffs are opening, the sun's beams are blackened, and poison is being spewed forth into the sky.

Our world is one where people can be inspiring, extreme, blown out, and ridiculous yet heartfelt; it just so happens that Rafter's mortal coil is not mutually exclusive with the one where Norskmen walk the road to Hel and heavens are rent asunder by the duels of deities. But don't just take my word for it - try this little experiment for yourself: visualize the giant serpent Jormungandr opening its gaping maw, yawning widely in the air, and engaging in frantic combat with Thor as a song like "Pummelled" or "Oh No" is playing; then see if you can escape associating the record with Ragnarok after.

Just remember to have a little fun with the music along the way.



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user ratings (3)
Chart.
3.3
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
Irving
Staff Reviewer
January 30th 2011



7011 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Album's the strangest thing I've heard in a while; yet it's strangely compelling.

Stream: http://rafter.bandcamp.com/album/quiet-storm

Comments and criticism will be much appreciated.

Xenophanes
Emeritus
January 30th 2011



10553 Comments


Loved this review.

Digging: Saintseneca - Dark Arc

vanderb0b
January 30th 2011



3473 Comments


like Darkthrone meets The Kinks

Based on that phrase alone, I need to get on this ASAP. Good review, as always.

Irving
Staff Reviewer
January 30th 2011



7011 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Thanks Xeno and Vanderb0b! I can always count on you guys to give a review of mine some love. Haha! =)

Xenophanes
Emeritus
January 30th 2011



10553 Comments


I really may check this out, it sounds awesome, and I really enjoyed Ghosts I-IV

Irving
Staff Reviewer
January 30th 2011



7011 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

It's definitely not as polished as Ghosts I-IV, and - as I intimated - lots of the awesomeness described here may have been mine to encounter alone. That being said, do give it a go =)

Stream (again): http://rafter.bandcamp.com/album/quiet-storm

SowingSeason
Emeritus
January 30th 2011



14511 Comments


I am so going to give this a listen. Sounds like Rafter was like, hey, let's make an album that SowingSeason would obsess over...because based on your review it sounds like my ideal kind of music. I'll let you know what I think.

btw have a MEGAPOS. It's what I give reviews that are not only well-written, but truly inspire me to go and listen to the album on the spot. I think I gave one to ties and romulus one time so welcome to the club, it is very exclusive...

pizzamachine
January 30th 2011



12568 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Lol pretentiously worded review but very, very good. Pos.

Irving
Staff Reviewer
January 30th 2011



7011 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

btw have a MEGAPOS. It's what I give reviews that are not only well-written, but truly inspire me to go and listen to the album on the spot. I think I gave one to ties and romulus one time so welcome to the club, it is very exclusive...

I have now achieved all my goals in life. So what do you think, SS? I see you gave it a 3.5 =)

Oh, and you should know that this - http://www.sputnikmusic.com/review/40961/Agalloch-The-Mantle/ - helped influence the way I approached the writing of this review. So essentially you're MEGAPOS-ing yourself hahahaha.

Irving
Staff Reviewer
January 30th 2011



7011 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Oh, and thanks Pizz!

And yeah I was a bit concerned about how obtuse this review might have sounded to the neutral reader =S

SowingSeason
Emeritus
January 30th 2011



14511 Comments


I liked it, not quite as much as I thought I was going to (the industrial style became rather instrusive after a while), but it definitely is enjoyable and conjures up a lot of images like you described in your review.

Irving
Staff Reviewer
January 30th 2011



7011 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Ah, that sucks. Sorry to disappoint you Sowing (even if it was just a little). To be honest I may have gotten carried away a little by the fact that I had never listened to stuff like this before, and it kinda threw me off a little (in a good way).

Aside from your review, this also partially inspired my piece: http://www.theonion.com/articles/weary-haitians-shrug-as-ragnarok-begins-outside-po,18847/

LOL XD

Irving
Staff Reviewer
January 30th 2011



7011 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Double post; damn it all.

pizzamachine
January 30th 2011



12568 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

So I skimmed through the tracks. Not as terrifying as I expected, just a bit claustrophobic, very fun music.

Irving
Staff Reviewer
January 30th 2011



7011 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

You mean to say Jormungandr didn't suddenly appear in front of you, tongue a-flitting and jaws a-gnashing?!??

You have nerves of steel Pizz.

SowingSeason
Emeritus
January 30th 2011



14511 Comments


Oh don't worry, even though it wasn't quite as amazing as I hoped (very few albums ever are), I still enjoyed it...which wouldn't have happened if it wasn't for this review.

Irving
Staff Reviewer
January 30th 2011



7011 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

To be honest with you Sowing, I'm just happy to have gotten my MEGAPOS ;)

SowingSeason
Emeritus
January 30th 2011



14511 Comments


Wear it proudly, son.

Irving
Staff Reviewer
January 30th 2011



7011 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

This review has been printed and is hanging proudly from the hand of my SS statue in the backyard (so it looks like he's giving it to me). Thinking of getting a frame for it tomorrow.

XD

pizzamachine
January 31st 2011



12568 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Totally worth it!



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