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Colossal Voids

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sleeper View Drop Down
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    Posted: July 18 2012 at 16:15
Colossal Voids is my attempt at a blog to share/shout about many of the bands that have become favorites of mine over the near 7 years that I've been an active member of this site. Those bands that can collectively be described as Progressive Metal, particularly from the Post/Experimental and Tech/Extreme sub genres as well as notable standouts from "vanilla" Prog Metal, have taken up a great deal of that time and as such will for the focus of this blog. I hope that in the end everybody will find at least one band they can enjoy here.

I will start with a group that have been a particular favorite of mine for several years now but have become largely forgotten since their split more than 10 years ago, In the Woods.... These days, mixing Black Metal and Progressive Rock together is very much the cool thing to do and for the most part nobody bats an eyelid anymore since it's pretty common, but doing just that in 1992 certainly raised a few brows. Originally going by the name Green Carnation (yes, that Green Carnation) until main man Tchort left to become Emperor's bassist, the band was reformed under the leadership of the Botteri brothers and Jan Transith and re-named In the Woods... In the bands less than 10 years of existence they made quite an impact with 3 very different albums, a compilation, a live album and starting it all with the Isle of Men EP, being credited with starting Pagan Metal and one of the early pioneers of Progressive Black Metal and even Psychodelic Metal (I'll just stick with Prog Metal, though). This EP perfectly demonstrated their early attempts to meld the genres of Prog and Black Metal, with the experimentalism of the former and the raw edge of the latter. I have to admit that the high pitched Black Metal shrieks of Transith dont appeal too much even to me, but are usually well down in the mix and the quality of the music makes up for it. Tell de Dode is probably the best example off this demo (that didn't make it onto the album).
 



The debut albu, HEart of the Ages, kept up the style but much more developed and "polished"  with Transith making making better use of his clean vocals along side his shrieks. Production remained raw and cheap, with a lot of background hiss noticable in the quietest moments, but it worked for the style and all the instruments remained clear enough in the mix. I particularly love the opening track, Yearning the Seeds of a New Dimension, with its spacy keyboard opening, the epic Wolan's Return (a re-recording of Wotan's Return from the EP) in the middle of the album and this closer below, The Divinity of Wisdom. Though it's a flawed album it still contains some of the best music I've ever heard.


Two years after HEart... came the bands second album, Omnio. and with it came many changes. First of note was the complete abandonment of the shrieking vocals and so too was the BM production style dropped in favour of a much clearer sound. Compositionally it was a further refinement and exploration of the teritory already covered but the complete change in recording quality breathed new life into it, allowing each instrument to shine more than previously. A female vocalist made sporadic appearances on the album and many of the songs used 3 guitars to create a wall of sound. The Epic 27 minute title track Omnio? is the dominant piece on here but the much shorter I am Your Flesh and opening epic 299.796 km/h match it for quality. If I have one problem it's that the band went too far with the production as it robs the sound of quite a bit of it's edge, something that doesnt help and holds back what is really 5 of the best songs I've ever heard.
 






Though the bands third and final full studio album, Strange in Stereo, embraces much shorter song structures and a departure from the spralling epics of the previous albums, it's arguably their most experimental release with vastly different structures and greater veriety between songs that still manage to create the same dark, melencholic mood that tipifies the band. The triple guitars are back down to two now but female singer Soprana is now a full member of the band next to Transith and strings and guitar effects play a much bigger part.





The final studio recording from the band was the compilation, Three Times Sevon on a Pilgramige. This was a collection of cover songs of old Psychodelic and early prog rock tracks like Jefferson Airplanes White Rabbit and King Crimson's Epitaph, along with some of their own tracks, both new and re-recorded old songs. Not a bad album but I find the production lacks that edge even more than Omnio does.

They also released a double live album of their final ever gig from December 2000. Though it's a live album, for me it remains the ultimate performance from the band with an excellent medley of HEart of the Ages materiel in Heartworks (Transith either couldn't or wouldnt do the shrieks anymore), a one off, brand new song called Beer, a good selection of songs from Strange in Stereo and Three Times Seven... and the entire Omnio album, giving the material the bite it really needed. Below is the only live video of the concert that I've ever been able to find, and given the quality I suspect the whole gig is lost out there somewhere, and it's not even a complete song, missing the first couple of minutes from I am Your Flesh, but it's worth watching to get an idea of the albums quality, particulary the chunky bass sound. Its sad to think that after the lights went down, In the Woods... no longer existed with the Botteri brothers joining Tchort for the revived Green Carnation, who started out apping the Omnio sound in jam session form for their first two albums (yes, even Light of Day...) without getting close to the quality on display here.
   


Edited by sleeper - July 18 2012 at 16:16
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Conor Fynes View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Conor Fynes Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 05 2012 at 17:35
You should do another post of this. It looks like we have pretty similar tastes!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote sleeper Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 17 2012 at 05:57
Originally posted by Conor Fynes Conor Fynes wrote:

You should do another post of this. It looks like we have pretty similar tastes!

I keep meaning to, I'm leaning towards Madder Mortem for the next one.
Spending more than I should on Prog since 2005

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