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Handwrist - Flesh Tendrils CD (album) cover




Psychedelic/Space Rock

3.25 | 5 ratings

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RIO/Avant/Zeuhl,Neo & Post/Math Teams
3 stars The title track of this second release by the Portuguese multi-instrumentist Handwrist is apparently an intro, but it has a dark atmosphere not distant from those of Senmuth when the russian gives up to the ethnic interludes. The structure of the track is similar also in the sound of the guitar. I guess the two would enjoy each other's work.

The dark atmosphere is even enhanced in the second track which is a sort of an epic with its 17 minutes. The main role is played by a heavily distorted guitar, but the volume is not too high, so that the music flows without giving the impression of being just a support for a guitar excersize, as sometimes happens with guitarists. What I have written about the vocals for the debut album is valid for the guitar on this one: even it it "screams" it's completely part of the music. The bass line behind is very interesting. Without paying attention to it, one can't realize what kind of strange signature the track has. A disclaimer on the Bandcamp page says that the albun is raw because the artist didn't have the possibility of working on it as much as he would have wanted, but this is not as evident as he thinks. To me the production sounds good enough.

"White Sabbath" is an interesting title for a dark metal track. The guitar is overdubbed: one recording is on bass tones and adds a touch of weirdness while the "other" guitar screams a chord before relaxing on harmonics after about 3 minutes. It's another very dark track, the first with vocals. After about 5 minutes the music stops and t's the tourn of the acoustic guitar which leads to the very first proper guitar solo of the album. After some minutes of speech, the track restarts heavy but this time the guitar solo is in foreground and leads to a sung part. The final part is based on a repetitive sequence of 4 bass notes on which the guitar plays with echo and distortion. Hypnotic.

Let's add that apart of the first track, all the other are over 10 minutes long. In "A Glimpse of Limbo" the distortion stops being the principal element. It's not absent, but the base is a clean guitar harping. Going ahead it becomes more distorted, but it's more a psychedelic melody than a metal sound. At about minute 3:30 there's a sudden change: the guitar volume increases and becomes the base for drum and bass. Again I hear similarities, at least in the mood, with Senmuth, but with more variations. Instead of sudden stops with ethnic interludes, HAndwrist shows more continuity. The track changes but the changes are smooth. Sudden changes is something that I personally don't like even in Mike Oldfield. The guitar melody which start at minute 7 could be Floydian or even jazzy if it wasn't for the omnipresent dstortion.

"Into The Flood" is different. It's more oriented to the psychedelia. there's more tha one guitar: both distorted and clean. At this point I think I understand what the artist was meaning about having rushed with this album. The production is a bit too "linear". All the tracks are almost mixed in the same way regardless the mood. SHould I find a defect to this album, this is the one. But this is the track that I personally prefer. When the distortion shuts up, I feel a bit of relief. The clean guitar here plays some musical arabesques which enhance the psychedelic atmosphere. Not as acid as a trippy AMON DUUL improvisation, of course. This is not jamming, it's a proper track.

When I actually read the title of the last track, I was curious. I'm not a videogame player, but I knw Final Fantasy because of my daugthers and I iike the Chocobo team played by a crazy Japanese trio found on youtube. Well, it doesn't seem related to the videogame. It's a song which has heavy guitars and vocals. The distortion is applied to the voice. too, and sometimes he screams. Anyway, I can't call it metal. There are metal elements, but the track is experimetal. Handwrist, wth few chords, is able to set a mood able to involve the listener. This is the final track of an album which can0t be put in the background while dishwashing. It requires a bit of efort, at least in finding a place where to wear headphones and concentrate on it. The middle par of the track is jazzy and slow, and if it the guitar were cleaner, I could even think to Andy LATIMER. Some passages reminded me to CAMEL's Lunar Sea. I mean the mood, not the chords. The track is effectively about 8 minutes long, but after some silence thare's a short ghost track. Enjoy that, too. It's just few seconds.

octopus-4 | 3/5 |


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