Sunday, March 27, 2011

Nucleus Torn- Andromeda Awaiting

Artist: Nucleus Torn
Album: Andromeda Awaiting
Genre: Avantgarde neo-folk w/ classical influences(?)
Year: 2010

First off...I'm back! It's a strange business, writing reviews. I tell myself all the time, especially lately, that I need to plan out times where I just write and write, and yet time and time again I've proved to myself that whenever I do write reviews, or anything like them, it's a spontaneous occurrence. This is exactly the case with this particular review. It just goes to show that inspiration is fleeting. Utilize it while you can!

Anyway, this album is the last of a trilogy of albums for Nucleus Torn. They're quite unknown though I've been following them for a few years now and am familiar with their two full lengths. Musically, Andromeda Awaiting continues in a similar vein as its predecessors: progressive/avant-garde music that incorporates neo-folk, classical, even medieval, touches. As far as originality goes, this band has got it down. They have a sound all their own, calling to mind the voice and music of time traveling bards that channel different styles at various points. One thing I noticed immediately is that Andromeda Awaiting is a lot less intense than Knell and Nihil, and drops the metal elements completely that were once present. I actually think this was a smart move and it not only feels natural for the band's progression, but it would have potentially made this album a little too familiar. If Nihil was the start of something stirring, Knell presented the band at their darkest and most dramatic, while Andromeda Awaiting appears to give resolution to a musical and lyrical story by way of its gentler style.

As far as the structure goes, it keeps Knell's formula of using Roman numerals instead of song titles. The album is also book-ended by two epic 15 minutes tracks, and in between there are a couple shorter songs, as well as a couple interlude-type tracks for good measure. They all help to make the album flow together and sound very tight and cohesive as a whole. You wouldn't want to listen to individual tracks, or at least you wouldn't get the same effect of completeness that way. This has always been a strength for the band.

It's really tough for me to find specific flaws, and yet they are there. I guess the real issue for me lies in the fact that so far, in my first handful of listens, the material isn't quite affecting me as emotionally as Knell did, or even Nihil did, which wasn't as strong as Knell in my opinion but had moments of sublimity to anchor it. I'll even say there are times when songs go on a little too long, i.e. in the last 2 minutes or so of the first song. There's one particular flute melody played which is otherworldly in its beauty, but it's ruined with those last two minutes which aren't engaging at all for me. Also, IV might be the weakest song on the album. It ejects me from the great medieval vibe of the rest of the material.

That being said, I think there is strong material here, even if it's not readily accessible for the taking. It's likely that this music will continue to unveil more of its beautiful layers to me the more I keep with it. For all of Nucleus Torn's shortcomings, they have this sophisticated aura about them that I find irresistibly charming, and keeps me coming back. They're not for everyone, but I think if you give them a chance and get hooked, you'll be extremely gratified.

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