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Halcyon - Pastures CD (album) cover




Experimental/Post Metal

3.40 | 18 ratings

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Eclectic Prog Team
3 stars Halcyon's Pastures is an intriguing blend of heavy metal and various textures of jazz. Most pieces are microcosms of the album, featuring abrupt transitions in volume and style. The album is dominated by the guitars and the drums, painting with a heavy brush on a thin canvas, as it were, yet backing off every so often to add more delicate touches. For such an eclectic instrumental metal album, it is a shame that several compositions are smudged with overstated drumming. Overall, it is a pleasing fusion of jazz and metal, but is more likely to satisfy fans of the latter.

"Noodle" Immediately one is reminded of David Gilmour on the opening of "Shine On You Crazy Diamond," yet this piece builds far more quickly, growing from light rhythms to heavy, chugging finesse. The mirrored lead guitar is a fine technique, adding depth to an already intriguing theme. Very clever lead lines are to be found here.

"Noodle 2" A dashing acoustic guitar weaves its way around rampant drumming. I like that the band tries to intermingle these two elements, but there just seems to be too much of the latter and the contrast is marred.

"Firefly" Astringent electric guitar chars through, burning a pathway for further lead work, which is again sadly buried by overplayed drums.

"Waterfall" Awash with sound, this is closer to heavy post-rock, and is interspersed with dazzling lead work, both of the clean and distorted varieties. All in all, a very lovely and ephemeral piece of music.

"Intermission" The dream-like quality presented here reminds me of the soundtrack of an old black and white movie, maybe a romance of some sort. It is calm and pretty.

"Noodle 3" Returning to the grunge (albeit momentarily), this musical maze transitions suddenly from metal to smooth jazz. Easily the least coherent piece on the album, it shows the band's technical ability but remains confusing in terms of composition.

"Django Fett" The title of this track amused me, and gave me an idea of what to expect, except that idea was shown to be way off. I'd compare this track to what it might sound like if Eric Johnson turned his hand to post-metal (perhaps with Joe Satriani sitting in). The old-timey acoustic interlude in the middle is more like what I thought the track would consist of.

"Nesting" Mostly consisting of light clean picking, there are some pleasing riffs and runs throughout this nimble and hopeful track.

"Pastures" The keyboards are most noticeable on this dynamic final track, providing a spacey atmosphere to accompany the simultaneous grating heavy electric guitar and the delicate clean one.

Epignosis | 3/5 |


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