Angel Vivaldi
Away With Words - Part I


3.5
great

Review

by Thompson D. Gerhart STAFF
March 12th, 2014 | 25 replies


Release Date: 03/11/2014 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Can something timeless be created in the modern age?

To put the icing on the cake or to appreciate it for its unadulterated taste? Does the baker feel a bit scorned by patrons who enjoy his already exquisite treat only when garnished and dressed in an extra layer of sticky sweet, or should he glean contentment from providing the ultimate in decadence from outer layer to inner indulgence?

In a recent interview, guitarist and project mastermind Angel Vivaldi stated that he initially struggled with the production on Away With Words because he felt that keeping up the high production levels seen on the very well-engineered Universal Language could inexorably bind his music to its life and times. He ended up striving for a more "timeless" sound, entering the studio with a stripped down approach that scrapped many of the layers and effects of his previous album. But can the same sublime yet approachable neoclassical feeling be captured with fewer weapons at the disposal?

The album opens with the same sort of calm breeze we saw on Universal Language, but with a more gradual slant towards downhill, fast and furious metal mechanics - a pattern that carries on throughout the album. Vivaldi ushers in the loud, low, and heavy early, but only to stand guard for the marble masterpiece of his articulate and classical shredding. The jets only truly kick in just under a minute into the second of the morse code designated tracks and Angel manages his speed and ferocity carefully throughout, making it clear that his primary priorities are lighting his delicate yet furious fretwork with quality and class. This album is a gallery opening for art that is jagged, yet refined, not a simple downhill race.

Unfortunately, in this more gallery-centric approach, we lose out on Universal Language's passion to approach the classical with a bent of futurism. And we're worse off for it. Structurally and stylistically, many of the songs on Away With Words resemble the rapid, solo-heavy, lead-driven structures of Universal Language, but without the unique vantage of hyper-futuristic electronics and layering. Instead of trying to re-imagine marble in a world of steel and plastics, the focus of this album falls on trying to create something timeless in an era where monumental art and incredible technology can be heralded one moment and forgotten the next. Like a statue of Ozymandias in its heyday standing next to a Picasso, Away With Words feels weightier than its breezy cousin, yet ultimately less purposeful.

Still, the fluid technicality and drive of Vivaldi's virtuoso performance make Away With Words a worthwhile listen, even if it's more of a gallery item to be admired a few times before moving on to better and brighter things than a consistent talking piece. The bells and whistles do still show themselves from time to time and the caliber of material remains well above the means for progressive metal and virtuoso artists alike, but it still feels like Vivaldi does his sound a disservice by targeting "timelessness" rather than letting it develop on its own. After all, our definition of "timeless" is redefined constantly, and while that same Picasso will be forever heralded as one of art's true treasures, it will never fail to be known as a part of a specific style or artistic movement.

For better or worse, we are all a part of the time we live in, and our work can never escape that. Whether it's frosted or not.



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user ratings (18)
Chart.
3.8
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
AtomicWaste
Staff Reviewer
March 11th 2014


1992 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Released today on iTunes, streaming at metalinjection:

http://www.metalinjection.net/av/angel-vivaldi-does-away-with-words-on-new-instru-metal-ep

iswimfast
March 11th 2014


1308 Comments


sounds neat. ace review as always.

somebody fix this man's album art.

Digging: Cymbals Eat Guitars - LOSE

Azn.
March 11th 2014


5609 Comments


only a 3.5 huh

AtomicWaste
Staff Reviewer
March 11th 2014


1992 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Thanks, Caleb! o/ Everything looks to be in order now.

And yeah, only a 3.5. I still maintain that a 3.5 means great, but I think this isn't as spectacular as Universal Language, which I pegged at a 4 (and ninja'd to a 4.2 with magic staff power).

VinVal
March 11th 2014


712 Comments


"Can something timeless be created in the modern age?
To put the icing on the cake or to appreciate it for its unadulterated taste? Does the baker feel a bit scorned by patrons who enjoy his already exquisite treat only when garnished and dressed in an extra layer of sticky sweet, or should he glean contentment from providing the ultimate in decadence from outer layer to inner indulgence?"

these are some essential questions right here

Digging: Necrophobic - The Nocturnal Silence

climactic
March 11th 2014


18932 Comments


2nd para:

But can the same sublime yet approachable neoclassical feeling be captured with fewer weapons at
the disposal?


Azn.
March 11th 2014


5609 Comments


magic staff power I am sold I will check this out

AtomicWaste
Staff Reviewer
March 11th 2014


1992 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Fixed, thanks climactic.

TheRubberbandMan
March 11th 2014


151 Comments


Sweet album art

KjSwantko
March 11th 2014


9277 Comments


Angel is really good, no doubt, but I feel like his works do get overrated, too. Will probably listen to this at some point.

MotokoKusanagi
March 11th 2014


502 Comments


can't find a d/l of this, i am sad

Omaha
Staff Reviewer
March 11th 2014


10199 Comments


Really nice review, man, although that intro paragraph does read a bit unnaturally to me. I think your second paragraph is a more solid starting point, but maybe the intro could just be fine-tuned a little.

Digging: The Contortionist - Language

VinVal
March 11th 2014


712 Comments


Naw man it like totally explains the feel of the album

Scoot
March 12th 2014


17752 Comments


damn

CalculatingInfinity
March 12th 2014


1610 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

This album was a massive disappointment for me :[

Universal Language destroys this in every way.

thelastsignal
March 12th 2014


1368 Comments


Nice work, been meaning to check this guy's stuff out. I like the first paragraph quite a bit.

paradox1216
March 12th 2014


482 Comments


This isn't really truly my thing, old school solo shred that is, but there seems to be a bit more substance here than normal, so I think I'll check it out. I already heard the first track and it was pleasant enough

Digging: Death From Above 1979 - The Physical World

J0ckstrapsFTW
March 12th 2014


3652 Comments


The track names... fuck

AtomicWaste
Staff Reviewer
March 12th 2014


1992 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

@Jacob - Really? I like it as it is and I actually spent a considerable amount of time fine-tuning it.

I dunno about the morse code titles... I think they're kind of hokey and on the whole this seems to posture itself more than Universal Language (which also did its fair share of posturing)

Omaha
Staff Reviewer
March 13th 2014


10199 Comments


and I actually spent a considerable amount of time fine-tuning it.

That's actually the thing for me tho- I can tell you spent a ton of time choosing each and every word in the opening, which runs contrary to the otherwise conversational flow of the review.



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