Review Summary: While completely unheard of, Vauxdvihl's low-fi atmosphere and introspective riffing is essential listening to anyone with a taste for progressive metal.5 of 5 thought this review was well written
It's a damn shame when great talent goes unnoticed. However, the feeling you get when you uncover a hidden gem is pretty cool to. So when you listen to Vauxdvihl's (pronounced "Vaudeville) " "To Dimension Logic", and instantly fall in love with its spacey, cold atmospheric charm, just know that there is a cult, all over the globe, that knows exactly how you feel.
To Dimension Logic contains one of my favorite intros in all of music. The erie vocals and atmospheric keyboard, followed by the thumping industrial drums and distorted guitar riffs just strike a chord in me. Whenever there is discussion about perfectly atmospheric music that captures the listeners and evokes all kinds of emotions, I always have to bring up this intro. An introductory track in an album is supposed to get your attention and set the mood for the rest of the album: "The Weapon" is excellent at this. The follow up track, "To Dimension Logic", expands on the sonic concept of "The Weapon" and delves headfirst into one of my favorite progressive metal tracks of all time. This time around, the riffing and drumming are much more agressive, but do not lose any of the vibe of the first track. From the pinpoint drumming, to the percussive personality the bass player takes, to the soaring vocals that fluctuate between singing and spoken word, Vauxdvihl's personality touches all of prog metals bases without ever sounding cliche'd. The song ends with some really anthemic sounding vocals, that could make any arena blow up. "Questions or Misanthropy" turns down the distortion a bit and provides a contrasting atmospheric track (with some really creative guitar lines fading in and out) carried out by Fab Gallen's poetic lyrics.
Like most obscure metal albums, the production values are not exactly, well, crystal clean. But unlike most albums, these guys actually benefit from it. The low fi production goes well with the cold, introspective, abstract emotions the music conveys. Vauxdvihl paints some really interesting pictures with their melodies. You also HAVE to love the the industrial percussion hinted across the album, that give it a really distinct personality. If I had to compare them to other artists, the closest thing out there are the late 80's progressive metal bands (Crimson Glory, Fates Warning and Queensryche, respectively) but with a darker tone.
Although I have been praising the album since the beginning of this review, it's not free of faults, so to speak. You could argue that some of the lyrics are pretty silly and pretentious (I mean, just who the hell calls their band "Vauxdvihl", did anyone understand how it was supposed to be spelled?!) The band itself is kind of sloppy in their execution. Fab Gallen is very hit-or-miss as a singer. Throughout the album, you can hear small hiccups in his vocal performances, whether it's slightly out of tune vocal lines or shaky delivery, he doesn't hold a candle to the likes of Midnight and Geoff Tate. The same could be said of lead guitar player Frederic Leduc; his lead work would raise eyebrows among most guitarcentric listeners and elitists. I can't help but categorize him as inconsistent. That said, both of them have their moments of brilliance: From Gallen's hair-raising finale on "Comedy of Errors" to Frederic's great guitar riffs on "Philosophia Mosaica".
Greatly paced, "To dimension Logic" clocks in at roughly 40 minutes. It rocks your ears with great songwriting without overstaying its welcome or landing on the dreaded masturbatory pitfalls that popular progressive metal bands can't help dodge (obvious allusion to Dream Theater). It also provides a variety of different emotions and styles. From the cold, interlude and intro tracks (The Weapon, Questions or Misanthropy) , to the anthemic metal songs (To Dimension Logic, Comedy of Errors), to the beautiful acoustic ballad (In Search of Forever) to the explosive finale (Minus Absence), the album has great pacing and shows that the band were great songwriters.
Even if the band had its faults, it's still a bummer how they faded into obscurity so fast. After this album, they released around 2 EP's (with serious line-up changes,The "Vog" EP shows a much more prominent industrial influence and is also worth getting) and vanished. Still, you shouldn't shrug them off as skippable and I urge anyone that is lightly interested in progressive metal to check them out. You will not regret it.