Neverending White Lights
Act II: The Blood And The Life Eternal


4.5
superb

Review

by Acre USER (33 Reviews)
November 2nd, 2007 | 23 replies


Release Date: 2007 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Daniel Victor cheers up, moves on, and delivers us his best outing to date.

Daniel Victor is one moody guy. Only he could think a seventy-nine minute CD consistent of entirely ballads was a good idea. And yet, with his 2005 release of Act 1: Goodbye Friends of the Heavenly Bodies, he somehow made it work. By drafting what was essentially an army of guest vocalists, he created a surprisingly varied, yet still deeply sorrowful emotion trip. Now, two years later, he aims to improve the formula he created, with his latest release, Act II: The Blood and the Life Eternal.

Immediately, this album makes itself known to you. While Act I was content to play the passive-aggressive game, Act II has power beneath its words, and it delivers the point easier and more effectively. The production values have obviously aided Victor. No longer do songs feel veiled (unless he wants them to.) The increased presence of drums and ambient electronics make the songs take on new life and let Victor explore the different sides of depression.

The variety of Act II is actually quite surprising, considering the focus strictly on ballads. The World is Darker sounds surprisingly like a Nine Inch Nails song, if Trent Reznor was a girl that could actually sing. The song contains something that previous NWL fans might not expect: an actual “groove”. It’s catchy, it’s fun, and Auf De Maur provides great vocals. The songs continue to diversify, as Nothing I Can Save sounds like a deliciously western twist on radio rock, while Theme From The Blood and the Life Eternal is Victor’s spin on piano driven gospel hymns, right down to the chorus of angels.

Of course, the focus is still primarily on catchy but somber tunes, and once again, Victor executes them like no other. Dove Coloured Sky features everything a good ballad should: beautiful vocals (courtesy of Jimmy Gnecco), a lovely string accompaniment, and a dramatic climax that, though right at the start of the album, could arguably be one of the CD’s highlights. For those looking for a more somber tune, the fittingly titled Black Is The Colour Of My True is a perfect fit, sparse but for lovely piano and a well-executed acoustic guitar part, until a chilly climax of strings and female vocals closes the song in style.

While again Victor has recruited a great deal of different vocalists to interpret his pieces of music, this time around it doesn’t feel as much like an obvious gimmick. It’d be hard to do any real name-dropping with the musicians that he’s brought on this time (as was done with Dallas Green’s part in his massive single “The Grace”), but perhaps that’s the point. The focus this time is simply finding the best vocalists for the job, and this time, he picks them perfectly. The emotion captured from the multiple voices is simply stunning, and the effect really must be heard to understand.

Once again, Victor wrote and performed nearly all of the music of the album. While the musicianship is far from stellar technicality, that isn’t the point. This is minimalism at it’s finest; multiple simple parts layered together to create effectively an orchestra of beauty. However, he does give us some very new things to focus on musically. Lead single Always is like nothing he has ever attempted: a fast, high energy guitar driven “punk-pop” song featuring only his vocals. It’s so wonderfully unexpected, and contains even more surprised that Victor pulls out of his hat (shouted gang vocals, anyone")

Act II: The Blood and The Life Eternal is certainly a departure from Neverending White Light’s debut album. It’s less of a ride through a clinically depressed mind, and more of a display of exactly what Victor can do; namely, write simple, clean, and emotional songs in nearly any sub-genre. The diversity present helps keeps the album from becoming repetitive (the CD is every bit as long as Act I), and, at the moment, it’s as close to perfect as Daniel Victor has ever come.

Download:
- Always
- The World Is Darker
- Nothing I Can Save
- A Dove Coloured Sky



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user ratings (56)
Chart.
4
excellent


Comments:Add a Comment 
Acre
November 2nd 2007


847 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Album art isn't showing up. Regardless, I'm pretty pleased with the review. Then again, I'm probably just an overzealous smug bastard.This Message Edited On 11.02.07

Willie
Moderator
November 2nd 2007


17610 Comments


Try to shrink it down... also I've had issues with any picture that's not in jpg format... so that may be the reason.

The review is good, but I can't tell if I might like it... just a little more description of the over all style of music would have been cool.

Edit: If shrinking it doesn't work, here is a link that should work. Just go there and save that one to your desktop.

http://www.maplemusic.com/assets/product_images/nwl_act2_cd.jpgThis Message Edited On 11.02.07

Acre
November 2nd 2007


847 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Fixed. Turns out it wasn't formatted as a jpeg.



Anyways, in terms of how this record sounds, it's mildly difficult to explain. One of the tough things about NWL is how many different genres Victor incorporates into the down--trodden sound.



Here's one thing I noticed that might be important: this is a great album to listen to at night. For some reason, the combination of darkness and being tired just makes this album flourish.

astrel
November 2nd 2007


2615 Comments


The first album was ace; I am definitely going to check this out. Hell, I loved the first and I don't even usually enjoy ballads.

Acre
November 2nd 2007


847 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

That's what so great about Daniel Victor. Even if you're not a huge fan of saddness or big ballads, his music can still touch you profoundly. That's really the mark of a great artist.

Two-Headed Boy
November 2nd 2007


4527 Comments


I'm game. First album was really good.

They're really great live, too.

plane
Emeritus
November 2nd 2007


7300 Comments


I haven't heard the first album, but this is pretty good so far. Don't know if it's 4.5 good, but still.

Kiran
Emeritus
November 2nd 2007


6027 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

This is really good.

forhekset
November 3rd 2007


1 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Awesome album

samthebassman
November 5th 2007


2164 Comments


You've talked me into getting this.

jrowa001
November 5th 2007


8752 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

i still havent gotten this yet, but i will soon. i will be making $75 in 3 hours today tutoring

Acre
November 6th 2007


847 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

After multiple listens, I've picked out some other nuances about the album that may or may not make it into a re-write of this review. Regardless, here are my thoughts:



- The Hole/Courtney Love cover "Miss World" is the only truly not-great track I've noticed so far. "Bleeds To An End" isn't spectacular, but that's more an issue of its placement within the record.



- I didn't mention this in the review, but after listening to the album front to back, Warding Off The Spirits is a ridiculously good song. Like, SRSLY.



- I cannot stress this enough: LISTEN TO THIS RECORD AT NIGHT! During the day, my rating of the album goes down a little. At night, this feels like a perfect album. I don't know, maybe it's just me.



But yeah... Get this CD... You'll thank me later...

scallahan06
November 9th 2007


124 Comments


i have to agree with you, the album seems to be more enjoyable to listen to when you listen to it at night. i love this release so much

jingledeath
March 13th 2009


7101 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

listening to this as i study for midterms.



so amazing.

t4n2004
March 22nd 2009


37 Comments


SIck albumThis Message Edited On 03.21.09

Essence
March 29th 2009


6236 Comments


Album is made of win

Epilogue
April 13th 2009


1704 Comments


So yeah Im having a hard time listening to the whole thing cuz Distance is amazing. Will tonight though, for sure...

fireaboveicebelow
April 13th 2009


6832 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

most of this is amazing

Deathcar
October 20th 2009


1534 Comments


This album is phenomenal, can't believe I'd missed this before, as I usually eat stuff like this up.

Nice review.

AdamP
November 1st 2009


33 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

"the living" is probably my favourite song of this album. i love the flow of that opening riff.



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