Monday, 1 July 2013

New Keepers of the Water Towers - Cosmic Child (2013) | 74%

New Worshipers of the Crack in the Sky

Ok yeah, their name is a mouthful but their music is at least interesting. The Swedish horde is back with their second full length and it's with this one I discovered them. They took a different direction than their debut album released two years ago. Indeed,  The Calydonian Hunt was much heavier and similar to early Mastodon or Baroness. Let's see if the transition is a successful one.

NKotWT (sorry for the acronym) has a very atmospheric touch to their music with two twelve minutes track demonstrating a proggy songwriting. Both prog giants Mastodon and fellow Ikea furniture builders Opeth are massive influences on this album and while I'm a fan of both, it was a bit too obvious for my taste. This has a similar spacey vibe to Crack the Skye with superior vocals (fuck off Brent Hinds, you bum). Mixing progressive metal/rock with hints of post metal with the corpse of their doom/stoner sound, it's a bit hit and miss. The epic track ''Pyre for the Red Sage'' is a good combination of laid back clean vocals, good heavy riffs and powerful leads.  The instrumentation is very restraint, full of nuances and it has some acoustic guitars sometimes like on the short track ''Cosmosis'' reminding me of In Abstentia's era Porcupine Tree or even Anathema.

Trading heaviness for progressiveness is a difficult endeavor, while it's definitely not a failure here, it falls a bit short. The first two tracks (six and nine minutes) are pretty good but the longer songs are not as interesting even if has some of the best moments of the album, they're just too long for their own sake. Yeah, there's some fillers on the album and I don't think the atmospheric parts are quite original, Mikael Akerfeldt wrote very similar and better ones throughout his career. The first five minutes of ''Lapse'' are pretty boring but when the bass starts his thing and the song is becoming metal, it's much better. The two epic tracks follows the same formula, a long spacey non-metal intro followed by a crescendo into heavyness and then some cool leads, it gets a bit boring and predictable. I was impatiently waiting for the tasty moments to happen... I do prefer their soft acoustic side over the spacey one though, the conclusion of the album, a three minutes acoustic instrumental is very enjoyable. The opening of ''Visions of Death'' has very folky guitars garnished by buried Opethian whispered vocals akin to the calmer moments of the Ghost Reveries album. Mixing the modern prog metal of Mastodon with softer folky moments works well for this track but it's not always the case for NKofWT.

The imagery and lyrical side of the band is quite cool, it fits the space approach of the band. It's an intelligent band with a lot to say, they perhaps wear their influences on their sleeves but I'm sure they can improve and create some of their own. If you feel like listening to a decent slab of proggy doom, check them out but if you're not a fan of the genre, look elsewhere.

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