Archive for Piano

Tom Ussher – Open

Posted in CD, Metal with tags , , , , , , , , , on 25th July 2013 by Nico Solheim-Davidson

Tom Ussher
Open
Released 1st August
Metal
Self-Released

Tom Ussher is probably best known for his work as drummer for London punk band The CockRockets and as frontman for metal band Tyrian. Straying from those two projects, Tom recently completed work for his solo album Open which is set to be released next month.

The Call opens up the album with a gentle, emotive acoustic melody which walks alongside an equally emotive vocal passage. The use of piano and electric guitar that shortly follows adds a new level of emotion – one full of anger and sorrow, beautifully dancing in a stream of soulfully written lyrics and music. Tom magically combines screams and clean vocals together, entwining them throughout the song. Shatter drives the album down a nu-metal route, blending a hypnotic guitar passage with a more chaotic piano section. Tom’s powerful vocals become an embodiment of aggression tearing through the track.

Struggle brings back the use of the acoustic guitar that underlays the eagle-like soaring of Tom’s vocals, sewing them together creating a fabric of emotion. Stay Awake continues the level of emotion, only this time projecting it through a sorrowful piano medley. The vocals – and lyrics – contrast greatly in their sound, becoming something more angst fuelled and gentle at the same time. Feel ranged from the soft and mellow levels of Tom’s sound to the heavier side of the spectrum, stirring in the majestic sound of pianos with acoustic guitars and the heavier electric ones as well, allowing for the drums to carry the bulk of the song with finesse.

Live has to be one of the livelier tracks on the album, despite being a mostly acoustic piece with a drizzling of staunch vocals on top. The subtle hinting of electric guitar in the background add a beautiful touch of passionate ardor. The gentle whispers of piano during Take It All Away prove to be the soulful backbone of the track, supporting Tom’s easing voice. Sometimes is an interesting, containing a full monologue performed by Tom, speaking of a number of dark thoughts and what not. The piano medleys in Angel are much more intricate than the previous tracks, weaving an entrancing pattern of music with guitars and vocals, whereas the final track All the Best brings the emotion down onto a more melancholy feeling whilst incorporating certain elements of the previous tracks.

Straying from the music he plays in both The CockRockets and Tyrian, Tom has truly painted an image with his music and lyrics, while avoiding falling into the “acoustic act” category. The album has a little something for everyone, from fans of metal to lovers of acoustic music.

4/5

Nico Davidson

Tom Ussher online:

http://twitter.com/TheOnlyUssher

 

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Enslaved – RIITIIR

Posted in CD, Metal with tags , , , , , on 25th October 2012 by Pieni

Enslaved
RIITIIR
Released: 28th September 2012
Progressive Black Metal
Released via Nuclear Blast

Photobucket

It’s been more than a decade since Enslaved engaged in a progressive journey, but I dare saying that “RIITIIR” is the closest to that final destination. Yes, you can still call it “progressive black metal”, but the black metal part is a ghost – present, but not very solid.

This is not a conceptual album in its most common sense – the lyrics don’t tell you a story – but the songs are linked musically, as if these eight songs could be a single one-hour-and-seven-minute-long track.

And if you did the math with the numbers I’ve just given you, you’ve realised that most of the songs are even longer than before. But since their composition is very well structured, you don’t get that boredom feeling that sometimes long songs can cause.

Not even the last “Forsaken”, which exceeds the 11-minute mark. An ominous piano piece, punctuated by several lightning sounds, suddenly changes into a chain of progressive riffs under Grutle Kjellson’s grunts. Then the grunts become a spoken chant, prophecy- or curse-like, with the drums speeding up the rhythm. That also stops abruptly, being replaced by an electronic loop with some synthetizers on top of it, and eventually it fades out into a doom ambience. The piano returns in the end, this time playing a melancholic tune.

I wasn’t exactly counting, but I had the feeling that the clean vocals of keyboard player Herbrand Larsen have more airplay in this album. At least in “Thoughts Like Hammers” and “Veilburner” they have, enhancing the harmony of the songs’ melodies.

The guitar work is very methodical, whether it’s shredding away as in “Storm Of Memories” or wailing as in “Death In The Eyes Of Dawn”.

More than progressive, there’s hint of atmospheric music and a whole sense of emotion entwined with “RIITIIR”’s global sound, and it results in a beautiful, dramatic and yet pungent album.

4.5/5

by Renata “Pieni” Lino