Kayo Dot
Gamma Knife


5.0
classic

Review

by LordHugoThePoet USER (1 Reviews)
March 18th, 2012 | 16 replies


Release Date: 2012 | Tracklist

Review Summary: This is not an album of perfection. The album takes it's flaws and holds them at face value, just like so many other of 'The Greats' and thats what makes this album what it is...Pure, uncontrived human madness.

I'm going to open up this review by being quite outright, by saying that this album is in no way perfect and the production is certainly not perfect, but these imperfections are what gives this album it's stength. If the album was too harmonious, wasn't bleeding dissonance through every burst of brass and the production was of pristine condition, this album would be nowhere near as interesting.

The relatively short album, clocking in at roughly 30 minutes by my count, begins with the ever so lethargic 'Lethe' a 5 minute piece that floats along blissfully as if a cloud in a clear sky. The song begins with a long, drawn out, droning and repeating phrase of bells. I initially thought this odd, due to it's simplistic nature, especially coming from Toby Driver, the mastermind or mentalist (you decide) behind such work as Tartar Lamb, however soon soothing strings enter the equation and it all somehow seems trademark Driver without sounding old or rehashed. The piece features some lovely vocals by Driver, the most 'heartfelt' and 'sincere' since possibly his maudlin of the Well days in such fervent songs as 'Geography' or the end of 'Birth Pains...'. They also seem rather Gregorian-esque which is certainly no bad thing. Ocassional stabs of unusually sweet sounding violins also frequent this piece, almost as if slightly tugging the listener out of deep slumber.

And then the listener is abruptly woke to some rather theatrical black metal in the form of 'Rite of Goetic Evocation', in a most un-cliché way despite my cliché description of it's effect. Distorted and Lo-fi, enters sharp stabs of chords and some unusual brass lines...and something fans of Kayo Dot have been missing for a while. Brutal Vocals make a return for this album, fitting in with its 'Black Metal' theme as accredited by Driver himself. The Guitar seem's murky, the vocals disgustingly evil and the composition brilliant. Delayed bursts of high range guitar makes it's way through the clustered mix, coated in a swarm of delay in occasional trills, making for great effect. The piece reaches a 'slow' section in which it becomes brass led, with quiet and calm tremolo picked guitar underneath, bobbling bass lines and the occasional growl. And out of nowhere appears a dastardly tremolo picked guitar creating one of my favourite parts of this album. And then it ends, sadly.

'Mirror Water, Lightening Night' opens up with possibly one of the strangest passages in this album, in the form of a rather wierd brass line, followed by guitar, reprising phrases at sporadic intervals and generally dissolving into madness. It then breaks away into a quite frankly beautiful legato section, only intensified by the bass, drums, guitar, and the Toby's rather schizophrenic singing on this track. On this track, the singing is clean, and a wise decision it was to sing clean. The orchestration would be too cluttered already to throw ugly growls on top of the mix. Frequent whispers also make appearances at different points throughout the track. Reprising earlier themes, slower this time, and joined by vocals, this makes for one of the most unnerving points in the album. Myriads of harmonics lay underneath the mix, generally picking up the pace, until the track evolves into a dual between the brass and guitar. This continues until the end of the track.

The next song, 'Ocellated God' begins with about 25 seconds of feedback before a rather 'instant' drumbeat enters, and continues in the same vein until with a scrape of the strings, madness ensues. What can only be discribed as an 80's style Miami Vice cop show sax lead begins aided by Drivers shrieks, leads into my favourite part of the entire album. After this, the track slowsly dissolves and decays before the listener, into slow rumbles of the instruments and sharp shrieks of fairly stoccato vocals, before it gradually builds up to a great climax.

The album ends with 'Gamma Knife', a rather slow daunting piece solely for piano, guitar and vocals. The song seems to have no real direction, seems like pointless noodling and rather self indulgent, but I feel these make the song exceptional. The song is quite happy to float along without going anywhere in particular, and while it stays in this musical purgatory it also floats with great elegance and great beauty.

Overall, this album is disgustingly brutal and primitive at points, but also awe-inspiringly beautiful, conducted with true human emotions on the line, giving this album it's flaws, but also defining it as one of the greatest albums in a long time.


user ratings (272)
Chart.
3.5
great
other reviews of this album
Xenophanes STAFF (3.5)
For the first time in years, Kayo Dot feels musically relevant....

Thomas Michael Morris (4)
"THE FUCKING GROWLS ARE BACK! THE MOTHER FUCKING GROWLS ARE BACK!"...

mcg182 (4)
Kayo Dot create an album that revisits the anger and dissonance of motW, while still remaining fresh...


Comments:Add a Comment 
KILL
March 18th 2012


80613 Comments


lol

MO
March 18th 2012


21767 Comments


^^^

"This is not an album of perfection."

yea it's got flaws, but it's a classic bros!!!

SgtPepper
Staff Reviewer
March 18th 2012


4501 Comments


I checked out their profile... Progressive, Post-Rock, Psychedelic- I rather fancy those genres, I will be sure to check this band out.

North0House2
March 18th 2012


5945 Comments


^^^ Make sure you check out 'Choirs of the Eye'.

That's their best, in my opinion.

Ignimbrite
March 18th 2012


6169 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

god fucking damn it, "it's" is not possessive

Digging: Algiers - The Underside of Power

Ending
March 18th 2012


2175 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Not quite.

ohfoxxxycole
March 18th 2012


4352 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

an album can be flawed and still be classic

DarkNoctus
March 18th 2012


9923 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

yea it's got flaws, but it's a classic bros!!!




pretty much all my 'classic' albums have flaws



in fact, every album i've ever heard has flaws

SgtPepper
Staff Reviewer
March 18th 2012


4501 Comments


music is all about opinions. where one might see flaws, others will see accomplishments. That's the beauty of music.


Palimpsest
March 18th 2012


77 Comments


The reviewer's saying that the "flaws" of the album actually turn into assets and give the album an "uncontrived" quality. Kind of a weird position.

DarkNoctus
March 18th 2012


9923 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

weird position, weird album. :]

LordHugoThePoet
March 18th 2012


25 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Lol it is a classic bros!



Seriously, though, I mean what I said. This album takes it's flaws and wheres them at face value for all to see, and I love that about this album.





LordHugoThePoet
March 18th 2012


25 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Lol it is a classic bros!



Seriously, though, I mean what I said. This album takes it's flaws and wheres them at face value for all to see, and I love that about this album.





LordHugoThePoet
March 18th 2012


25 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Also, regarding errors, I pretty much wrote it straight through and then submitted it and didn't check it, for some strange reason. Thank you for pointing any errors out.

coneren
March 18th 2012


11111 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

good review posd it you rock

AnimalsAsSummit
July 10th 2016


2635 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Best review I've seen for this on here. Album is almost perfect. The middle tracks are awe-inspiring, visionary epics and the beginning and end offer simple and sublime beauty.... Just can't see how this could get much better



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