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Sculptured - Embodiment CD (album) cover




Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

4.64 | 26 ratings

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Conor Fynes
Prog Reviewer
5 stars 'Embodiment' - Sculptured (8/10)

As an existing fan of one of this supergroup's parent bands 'Agalloch,' I was at first, admittedly a bit cold to this completely different style. Whereas Agalloch is very folk and ambient based metal, the jump to avant-garde tech metal was quite a leap to take as a listener. Despite the praise friends had showered it and my love for Agalloch, I sadly passed this one by when it was released in 2008. Fortunately however, I was lucky enough to find it lying about in a record store and picked it up in the hopes that I had been wrong on my initial judgement of them. Luckily, I was.

Even disregarding the association with Agalloch, Sculptured can be a bit of a hard adjustment to make. Elevator-music style organs paired with technical death metal? Yes, this is an avant-garde metal band we're talking about here.

The extreme vocals here are solid and fit the dark, menacing vibe of the album. The biggest musical problem I have with the album (at least initally) were the clean vocals. While I usually really like clean vocals against heavy metal, I really did not find the vocals to fit the musical style at all... Maybe this was because the previous singer ran off due to conflicting views between his religion and the lyrics themselves but things didn't seem to work out; the singer just didn't sound 'good' in my ears. Like the organs however (which at first, I found distracting from the otherwise brilliant guitar riffage) they start to grow on me and I could now see why Thomas Walling was chosen for the job. He is actually a great singer but not in a metal style at all, which felt awkward at first but eventually just added to the album and band's character.

It's easy to see why the previous clean singer could not handle the lyrical content. The lyricist here very clearly states his beliefs here. Most of the words deal with the non- existence or impotence of god, and existentialism. Obviously the lyricist has taken some courses in philosophy, but there's a lot of quotable lines here. As long as you're not religious (or if you are, not easily taken to offense) there's some brilliant poetry here.

The highlight of the album has to be the finale, which can only be described as 'magical.' Intense polyrhythms mixed with melodic beauty is something that dreams are made of. The albums trails of much unlike the energy it came in with; with a fragile piano melody and timid narration.

For fans of avant-garde metal, it shouldn't take too long to realize that this is a future classic of the sub-genre. I personally prefer the sound of the sister band Agalloch alot more due to the fact that there's alot more emotion involved but this just proves something that was already evident; the members of Winds and Agalloch (and Estradasphere, in this case) are brilliant musicians and highly talented. A great piece of tech metal and a piece teeming with thought and layers to peel back and enjoy. Great material, to put it simply.

Conor Fynes | 5/5 |


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