Matthew J Van Howe



by Deadwing42 USER (25 Reviews)
May 18th, 2014 | 2 replies

Release Date: 2014 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Pretty Transmogrify Machine

Transmogrify: To transform, in a mysterious or magical manner. It sounds like a name that would be applied to a later album in an artist's career, not a debut. It's the type of title that would signify an artist's conscious attempt at a shift in sound, perhaps after poorly-received release that played its proverbial cards a little too conservatively. Matthew J Van Howe, however, appropriates the term to a debut album in convincing fashion. It's all about growth and change stemming from even the darkest places. Forget any sort of aggravating pretension such a title or concept could tacitly suggest- Van Howe shows he means business from the album's opening track, the brooding, slow-building "Irrevocable", which winds up sounding ominous and downright evil by the time the distorted, crunching guitars arrive, expertly placed. Gripping in its intensity but never overbearing, the song entraps listeners for an album that takes place in a world teeming with pulsating beats, darkened electronics, tactful piano, and the occasional jagged guitar riff. There's no doubt that the record is built on a foundation of Reznorian angst, which predictably gives way to a smattering of unsubtle and melodramatic lyrics, but you can at least tell that, even when chanting lines like "all life ends in death", Van Howe recognizes the beauty that can be found in darkness and the potential for transformation therein. And all that being said, the album's calling card doesn't lie in its passable vocal work or melody, but in it's admirable understanding of mood and flow. This is the type of album that one can get lost in from start to finish, and all of the songs feel like they belong to the same body. There's admirable variety here, too: "Human Again" sounds like a decent Depeche Mode outtake, while "Escapism" conjures the alternative metal muscle of A Perfect Circle. "Falling Into Space" also deserves a mention for its expertly crafted structure, as it comfortably contains the albums most chaotic moments as well as its most somber and haunting. It all comes together to make for a very impressive, highly atmospheric album that deepens with every listen. Never overbearing but always inspiring, "Transmogrify" is an emotional debut that holds a great deal of promise and potential. 3.5/5

Stand out tracks:
Falling Into Space

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Comments:Add a Comment 
May 18th 2014


Album Rating: 3.5

Album is available on Spotify

May 21st 2014


Hey Deadwing42!
Thanks a lot for taking the time to review my album! I appreciate the honesty behind the review. I realized a little late in the game that the title might not have been the best, especially since Transmogrify is apparently a word appropriated by Blizzard video games. I particularly appreciate the recognition of the album as a complete body of work.
Thanks again!
-Matthew J Van Howe

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