Review Summary: Dolly Parton lies prone, all is wrong with the world.
As you get older you start to see more patterns. Wisdom is slowly distilled from the fact that the number of unique experiences available to you is finite and declines at a rate corresponding to the number of things you've experienced. In the same way that your brain can parse memories of pattern observation on a sports field in order to deduce your next move in any given situation, it can also take snapshots of moments that affected you emotionally, and further on in life relate that moment to an emotion you're currently experiencing, sending warning signals straight at you just like that waistcoat-sporting BFG from Twin Peaks, squinting into a spotlight and waving his gangly arms, that familiar warning, “It is happening again...”
ck me. If that ain't relevant to how this album makes me feel, then someone needs to tell my Dad that it's entirely possible that Dolly Parton sleeps lying prone.
Blackgaze is an important genre for me, and no amount of Moonlight
jokes is going to change that. I didn't use blackgaze as some kind of aural lubricant to grease my ears into eventually getting reamed by the the OG church-burners and murderers. I glid through the whole grimy black metal canon prior to approaching blackgaze with my acoustic meatus positively gaped, expanding with glee to encompass and swallow every offshoot and totally-not-self-marketed bandcamp link thrown my way.
At this juncture- specifically my fifth time listening to Adore
- my brain is on some 4D chess shi
t, calculating vectors and trajectories. Emotions are surfacing that I've felt before, and my brain is throwing up neon signs that read something like this: BLACKGAZE IS FU
Woah there, buddy. That's certainly melodramatic. Let's consider that statement as we would consider a prophecy from R'hllor: maybe it's already happened (alumni of the University of Fu
ck Deafheaven may find solace in this interpretation), maybe it will happen (Alcest have
signed on to Nuclear Blast), and maybe it'll never happen (could the cold logic of reality possibly allow for bands with promise to continue to emerge？). All of the above options are possible. All of the above options are correct. So what's the deal with this LP then？
is thoughtful and well-constructed. It sounds every inch like the record Numenorean must have dreamed of going into the studio. I can only imagine the joy that everybody involved in this project feels about it's release and reception. If I ever meet one of these people, I'll buy them some obscure beer, and maybe after I congratulate them on their success and sincerely mean it our beards might accidentally touch. We'll kiss, briefly, but when our eyes encounter after we pull our mouths apart the feeling will sink in. I'll never be capable of loving you, and I'm too old to waste my time. The feeling is mutual.
is impeccably produced, if slightly sterile. The drums are admittedly the weakpoint production-wise. They are clean, pristine, and without character, but they still do the job and the performance is more than admirable. The bass is standard metal fare, but the tone is merlin. The guitars adopt guises from thicc and nasty riffage to clean and reverby noodling with all the grace of a geisha in corpse-paint. The vocals are strong and varied and treated in a variety of interesting ways. The introductory fu
ckaround of a first track does a great job of drawing your attention in, and succeeding interludes and transitions all bring something new to the table (those howling vocals and steadily descending noises at the end of Portrait of Pieces
are a real highlight). Diverse and interesting effects are utilised with care at precise moments on this meticulously crafted album, supplying plenty of kooky details with a practiced flourish.
These are all compliments I feel obliged to make before stepping back, arranging my index fingers and thumbs into a neat rectangle, and squinting at Adore
trying to make out just where it belongs. In the long and storied context of metal as a whole, it's trite. I mean, a lot of metal is. But Numenorean is trying so hard to be more than another trite metal band that I feel pangs of disappointment every time they fall short.
Portrait of Pieces
provides the first of these moments during the major key break before its final section of black metal, when a guitar pops in front-and-center with some godawful effect stamped all over it that's so out of whack with the rest of the rest of the song that it's hard not to laugh. Unfortunately this cheesy, corny vibe that they stumbled upon here is something of a touchstone for the album, and it's instantly backed up when Horizon
's chorus kicks in with its cries of “I finally found myself again / This home is now my friend.” In and of itself, it's a weak lyric. Delivered as perhaps the defining anthemic chorus of the album, it's reminiscent of the clueless self-indulgence that Ricky Gervais once lambasted before turning into the very monster he despised when he decided that Afterlife
was a script worth turning into a television series.
I won't bore you further with a laundry list of cherry-picked moments that I personally disliked in this already indulgent 2.5 review of a widely enjoyed and acclaimed album that's actually deserving of its success, but the fact is that these and other small pockmarks are omnipresent throughout this album, and it turns what could have been an altogether pleasant experience into one that's as frustrating as a dutch rudder with oven gloves on.