BloodwayThis one sat on our reviews list for a couple of weeks without anyone remotely attempting to show any interest. I noticed the ‘progressive black metal’ band from Romania helmed by renowned graphic artist Costin Chioreanu had got coverage from their last and debut album ‘Sunstone Voyager and the Clandestine Horizon’ via us and it had fared ok, our writer stating it likely to appeal “fans of more esoteric and proggy extreme metal and the new shoegaze craze.” If you look for the name Costin Chioreanu you will find his artwork and no doubt recognise some of it. There’s no faulting it in the slightest and naturally he has done the album cover for this himself too which along with the title makes it an intriguing proposition. It looked like it was going to be my task to have a stab at his music too.

Instrumental opener ‘Seeding Distance’ is a gloomy piece of martial and baroque sounding atmospheric set up with some strange voices sounding suitably lunatic and then things sweep into ‘The Transfinite Castaway’ with an avant-garde feel about it all with rhythmic lurches. So far so good but then as it meanders on through a few minutes without really doing much Costin unleashes his voice and then everything plummets downhill fast! Put simply he sounds like a parrot being throttled and it ain’t pretty in the slightest. I guess your own thoughts on the style which might be handled in snatches as the high pitched shrieker on a grindcore album is going to really determine how much you like, or indeed you can stomach this album. For me though it is akin to nails down a blackboard and as I focus on the music trying to get the piercing discourse out my head I find that too all the more convoluted and stale as far as my tastes are concerned. It’s all a case of feeling like the group are trying too hard and the disparate styles of attention seeking vocals and bland progressive instrumental parts (without a touch of blackness about them) are really difficult to listen to. When Costin squeals out the words ‘who is walking down the road’ on the next number I find myself hideously shivering and wondering what the hell I am listening to here. Apparently the music embodies ‘Chioreanu’s metaphysic visions and life’s deepest emotions’ and I can assure you after attempting to listen to this album several times these are not emotions I want any part of. Unbelievable the vocals get ever more strident and even shriek in an operatic falsetto on ‘Mirror Twins,’ I’m just glad that I don’t have any pets as playing this would probably have them jumping through the window looking for the nearest RSPCA office to report me to.
I guess this might appeal musically to the sort of people who get off on bands like Cynic (who I also admit leave me completely cold) but I do wonder how even they are going to handle the music combined with the completely flamboyant vocal style.

Obviously this is not one for me and it’s not often I fail to find anything positive to say about an album and no doubt the 1500 plus likers this band has on Facebook will disagree with me but this is horrid stuff. I’m pressing stop and deleting off my computer so I never have to suffer it again.

(2/10 Pete Woods)