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Art of Simplicity - When Fables have a Bitter Taste CD (album) cover

WHEN FABLES HAVE A BITTER TASTE

Art of Simplicity

 

Progressive Metal

4.08 | 4 ratings

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torvald
4 stars And here after a really long break we finally have yet another very interesting addition not only to the discography of this most individual of bands, but also to the burgeoning greek metal scene as a whole, that against all the odds has gone from secret strength to secret strength all these years, despite the detrimental effects the political and economic crisis in the country has wrought upon every possible artistic endeavor.

Art of Simplicity started out as early as 2003 by core members George Ikosipentakis on vocals and classical violinist Matthew Dakoutros, who each in their own way provided the band with its most particular and idiosyncratic flair. After a most promising debut album in 2007 that provided them with a small, but dedicated cult following and a subsequently long period of regrouping, parallel projects and member changes that have left only Dakoutros and drummer Nick Miras from the early days in place, the band now returns almost a decade later with a mini album lasting about 35' , featuring 6 mostly lengthy tracks and a conceptual thread underscoring them all that revolves around childhood trauma and stifled expectations.

Each track has a distinct flavor and displays such a diverse and ever shifting range of styles, that make instantly evident how wide and eclectic the taste and influences of the band itself are. Even if many instantly compared initial recordings to a staple band such as Pain of Salvation in sound (an already anything but minor feat), this release truly seems to have surpassed such single reference points and reveals new perspectives and sideway glances into the whole modern history of metal that continually keep the listener on his toes.

It is hard to sum up the impressions one gets upon initially listening to this record, but to my ears it proved a most rare and eclectic blend of musical styles and generic disruptions, rendering it an instant sui generis creation above and beyond any one starting point.

Whether dealing in doomy, ethereal passages that bring to mind early Anathema, jaunty, disjointed rhythms with interspersed electronic elements reminiscent of the more twisted moments of Arcturus' masterworks, ambient stylings and guitar solos that would not be out of place on any Steven Wilson release, progressive musical structures reminiscent both of the afforementioned POS but also many other bands on the more creative and moody end of progressive metal, all mixed with sorrowful or spirited signature violin solos that somehow took this particular listener straight back to vintage My Dying Bride in their prime(unfortunately for an insatiable violin lover like me though,never quite enough!), the songs never cease to throw new surprises into its' audience's ear or become predictable in any way.

To top everything off we have such a wide range of vocal styles from the band's new singer Chris Kounelis, only the afforementioned Arcturus or even more avant garde ventures such as Kayo Dot could ever compete with. Going from soft and sensuous one moment, to doom drones and slurs the next, multiple more powerful operatic climaxes interspersed with choral outbursts, electonically distorted soliloquies and the occasional death growl for good measure, the songs never seem to settle in any one particular mode,but provide one with a perpetually mobile musical landscape that only truly reveals its patterns and purpose upon repeat listens.

Featuring excellent production and a most evident evolution in both style and substance from their initial releases, "When fables have a bitter taste" manages to take anyone who gives it its alotted time, on a most fascinating and atmospheric journey. One can only hope that this band will find the time and opportunities to continue refining its truly unique style in subsequent releases and be given the recognition they should. As of now, it is certainly most sorely deserved.

torvald | 4/5 |

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