Archivist
Archivist


4.0
excellent

Review

by AlphaBetaFoxface USER (16 Reviews)
June 11th, 2015 | 65 replies


Release Date: 06/04/2015 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Eureka.

I am going to get two things right out of the way before I dive into the nitty-gritty details of this LP.

1. Archivist sound like Deafheaven and Ghost Bath.
2. This self-titled debut is 100% free on their Bandcamp page.

Archivist have some big shoes to fill, regardless of what sub-genre they believe they fit into. Self-professed, pioneers of 'Ethereal Metal', this album is essentially the black-metal-infused shoe-gaze we have come to either love or hate, with a larger focus on size than even the massive 'Sunbather'. Being a few minutes longer than the already lengthy, hour-long Deafheaven release, it does not take scope lightly. And I hate to say this, but there is not really any other way to enjoy it. 'Archivist' is one of those records that demands attention. For maximum listening pleasure, please be seated, isolated, in a darkened room. Place expensive headphones over your ears, adjust volume levels until you can no longer hear yourself breathing, and refuse to make any form of contact with another human being for the following 66 minutes. This has been a PSA.

The intentions of the album are made quite clear from track one, 'Ascension'. This album will make you feel down. Not in the sense that many black metal albums aim for; shockingly depressed to the point of no return, but rather just sad inside. When the whole band kicks in just prior to the 3 minute mark, one might expect a triumphant kick to reverse the emotional conduct, but instead you are left feeling worse off. The vocal performance and massive riffs cry out and do not let down. Even when dynamics shift from full-band to clean guitars or ambiance, the feeling of sadness is a constant throughout this LP. And it is a very commendable effort.

The vocals are the standout in this record. While Ghost Bath and Deafheaven have both gained notoriety for their agonized approach to screams, the performance on 'Archivist' is altogether more refined, more intense, and more controlled. The screams follow the music, rising with the band and dipping when necessary, contributing to the wall-of-sound much more effectively than Archivist's blackened-shoegaze peers. The intro of 'Escape Velocity' is an exemplary showcase of the vocal control and as the song progresses into heavier territory, the vocals rise in intensity. This use of vocal control causes an unprecedented level submersion among blackened-shoegaze releases, one that I truly hope is adopted by the true pioneers of the scene.

The guitar work is nothing short of phenomenal. The scale of the album lends itself to the powerful play; massive chords, intricate riffs and haunting cleans, all topped off with a healthy dose of reverb. Standout track 'Dreaming Under' shows all of these facets in tandem and the effect is that of a wave. All strings are melded together, all rise together, all crash together, all pull back together and repeat. When combined with the astounding vocals, this in itself is enough to cause a greater sense of despair than the majority of black metal acts performing today.

An album this massive in sound also lends itself to a strong production job and some very inventive drum playing. I have no gripes with the production. Every instrument is audible, the dynamics are fantastic. The drum play doesn't rely only on blast beats (although they are used many a time), and instead focuses on using every part of the kit to create a wall-of-sound. Although not as technical as work seen on other blackened-shoegaze releases (that's what people call them, right"), the fills are unique enough to provide an interesting listen without detracting from the overall experience.

You won't be surprised at what you find in 'Archivist' if you have read this based off of the first point I made in the review. However, overall this release is just as, if not more focused than that of it's peers. It is dark. It is gritty. It is massive. A strong step in the right direction, Archivist have somehow managed to pave way into a widely overplayed territory with confidence and enough originality to provide an enjoyable listen. Whether or not Archivist can keep up the effort in future releases is besides the point; Archivist are one of the best blackened shoegaze acts out there, and for the wonderful price of free, there is no reason not to pick up this fantastic debut.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
DanielNightLewis
June 11th 2015


1028 Comments


It's a FoE/Light Bearer related project, so you know it's going to be dense and at the very least interesting!

AlphaBetaFoxface
June 11th 2015


89 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I second that!

JustinKing
June 11th 2015


1412 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This is a REALLY solid album, especially for being a "name your price" release. Still really damn good.

Archelirion
June 11th 2015


5716 Comments


Thank Christ this got a review. This is absolutely fantastic, didn't realise it was related to FoE/Light Bearer but it explains a lot.

argonaut
June 11th 2015


818 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I downloaded this album recently, haven't listened to it yet. Nice review.

AlphaBetaFoxface
June 11th 2015


89 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

For a 'name your price', this is a no-brainer. That is commitment to the music to be able to offer up such an effort free of charge.

SomeGuyDude
June 12th 2015


374 Comments


I'm torn.

I love this album and agree with a lot of what you said, but I really don't think they sound like Deafheaven and Ghost Bath. It seems like any band with post leanings that throws in black metal elements gets lumped in with Deafheaven and I don't think that's right.

But yes, this albums is fantabulous and I'd really beg anyone looking at it to kick in some money to the band. WELL worth it.

DanielNightLewis
June 12th 2015


1028 Comments


I can see the reasoning for the comparison, in so far as it gives a point of reference for people who might only be familiar with the more hyped bands with BM elements it's a nice neat way of piquing the interest of casual listeners.

Being spread across several countries, I hope they find time to do a few shows. I'd love to hear this stuff live!

wacknizzle
June 12th 2015


14521 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Album is pree dope

AlphaBetaFoxface
June 12th 2015


89 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

SomeGuyDude, I know it's a bit of an unfair comparison but it is mainly for the sake of being general. However, you do have a point. Any bands you know of with a similar vibe to these guys? I myself have not delved too far into the post side of things. And heck yeah for fantabulous, I thought I was the only one using that word! Haha!

SomeGuyDude
June 12th 2015


374 Comments


Yeah I can understand that. If you're not a total post-nerd (hello!) then it's a great launching point since most metal fans at least know Deafheaven.

I'd say Archivist are a lot closer to Russian Circles and those types because the music isn't nearly as "pretty". It's a lot of minor keys and less glossy than what comes out of Deafheaven and Ghost Bath, "heavier" in my opinion.

I was on a BandCamp binge recently when I found these guys and MAN that was a surprise.

DanielNightLewis
June 12th 2015


1028 Comments


The overriding concept is great as well, puts 99% of bands who write about "space'n'shit" to complete and utter shame.

SomeGuyDude
June 12th 2015


374 Comments


^^^ TRUTH

The explanation on the album page is ridiculous.

DanielNightLewis
June 12th 2015


1028 Comments


With the story and some of the more atmospheric parts they recall a bit of an Old Soul vibe to me. Who are super worth checking out if you haven't (Tidal Lock would be the best place to start sound wise but is actually the 3rd installment of their story)

SomeGuyDude
June 12th 2015


374 Comments


Oh hell yes. Old Soul's split with (nic) was one of my favorites last year.

Actually I'd definitely say Archivist put out an Old Soul and (nic) vibe. It's still got its gaze/post elements and some nicely melodic sections, but it's allover more harrowing than a Deafheaven.

AlphaBetaFoxface
June 12th 2015


89 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I'll check the recommendations! Thanks! And yah, I found these guys via Bandcamp. Amazing what you find on that website.

LotusFlower
June 14th 2015


12001 Comments


Wow, this is really good.

AlphaBetaFoxface
June 14th 2015


89 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

It is! Thanks for checking out the review. Fantastic release

LotusFlower
June 14th 2015


12001 Comments


Yeah, review convinced me to check it out. I'm not too well versed with metal music, but this is really well made.

Metaltronic
June 14th 2015


29 Comments


I like this so much more than the new Ghost Bath. The production is more natural, and the vocals aren't completely ridiculous and yelpy (and it helps that this band doesn't lie and say they're from China).



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