Review Summary: The world cannot contain you.
After years of sifting through countless average albums after average album you're bound to come across a few special gems along the way. Crevice's first LP release "Peering" may even be an understatement to that thought. How a one man progressive/folk acoustic project is able to lay out such an impact is besides me, not to mention an artist who's never received any formal training of any sort; attributing his growth solely towards his inspirations and sheer love for growing into something greater than himself. Michael [Mike], the mastermind behind Crevice, had given me the privilege to conduct an interview with him by email after my several listens with "Peering" left me seeking for insight as to where such a phenomenon could have been spurred from.
"Peering" is actually a concept album following the personal story of Michael's contemplations and quest for deliverance and solace. What is exactly plaguing this young man is not of my knowledge but the most important thing to keep in mind is this concept is completely relatable as there isn't one individual alive whom I know of who hasn't at one time or another faced great adversity. This release of personal life force and emotion, executed in a way that is neither fearful nor ashamed, is where "Peering" truly succeeds. The nature of arrangements are very unconventional yet very cohesive. It's as if Michael has somehow created a new template for what music can accomplish with his inner desire to allow the music to naturally carry itself in free form so that it progresses unforcefuly but at the same time producing a forward pressing feeling with apparent purpose as the album slowly progresses into its finale and climax. When individuals think of progressive music they may often have the stereotype of boring music that takes forever to get the point, but I can assure you that as an avid searcher of meaningful and entertaining music such I cannot find even one dull moment on this sight for ears. In fact, "Peering" is teaming with endless innovative ideas that do just the opposite. Michael keeps you on your toes at all times while only repeating various passages long enough, and not a second more, to express the needed emotions and never returning to its form. You really get the impression that this artist has an endless bag of tricks that never grow tiresome while sticking to the use of only his acoustic guitar and his occasional voice, which favors both clean and death styled approaches.
In the concept of self dilemmas and realization, this LP starts with a surprising aggressive nature which fits the title of "Holding My Neck", an apparent outcry for action displayed with the use of fast tremolos, power chords, and over laid death-like vocals; which by the way sound very similar to Chuck Schuldiner's style. This level of aggression is quite surprising for two reasons: Michael is using an acoustic guitar like it's an electric guitar meeting the hands of a relentless death metal thrasher, and two because this level of aggression is almost never found anywhere else on this album; which strongly attributes to Michael's free form approach which manifests itself for an always present purpose. The track mellows out, yet still waves up and down through various textures where the listener feels like they're experiencing the frustrations of a man’s anger followed by a great deal succumbing tears; which follows similar melancholy suites on "Loathing" and "An Altercation" where Michael finds himself left with an ultimatum. It is at this point when the listener is directed to the album art when Michael who finds himself stuck in a deep hole looks up towards the light and begins "Ripping Apart My [his] Mantles" in grief and desire as he yearns for his appraisal. You can actually feel the weight being lifted off his shoulders as his bare nakedness becomes more and more apparent as the last threads of his garment are shredded off his skin, when his guitar pick slowly ends the track with sounds of mimicked tears on his string. The finale occurs with "Colliding in Desolation" when Michael finally unveils himself as he emerges out of his hole/crevice, but then realizes it is to no avail as he feels his past emotions arise back within himself and feels like giving up and shrinking back to his former course where desolation is so much easier. During this track and one of the few times in this LP, decipherable vocals can be heard where Michael fittingly sings "I am dying on a river bed". An ultimatum once again arises with "Life or Death" which happens to be the longest track to be found here that releases some of the deepest emotions I have ever felt such as the feelings of exulted wind rays lifting my loins in glorification. The 26 minute track feels like 5 minutes due to its pleasurable moments that make you feel like you never want it to end. Since the very last note ends on a positive emotion, it leads you to believe that Michael chose life rather than death as the outcome.
Additional free form styles can be categorized into jazz and avant-garde/experimental types but don't let these catchy titles deter you as realistically, an innumerable amount of tags can labeled to "Peering" but the cohesive natures make you feel like you're experiencing a friendly standard form of music; even the song lengths which appear as lengthy are extremely appropriate as their lengths are necessary to the full release of each thought and meaning. And cohesion is almost unheard of in an album that is 100% improvisational. When I heard that this masterful work of art was fully unwritten I was literally astounded. Michael's method for such an accomplishment is quote "I first sit quietly and gather my thoughts into a meditative state of solemnity and after achieving full focus I grab my guitar and allow the connection of mind and instrument to flow".
With such a creative concept and a masterful musical album in general the listener is left wondering if Crevice can top what has been accomplished here within, due to its almost unbelievable feat. Fortunately, with such contemplations there is more than enough satisfaction within "Peering" to leave anyone eternally focused on this prize that awaits you.