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4 stars Yes, this is the same Vauxdvihl that released the minor classic To Dimension Logic in 1994. This is one of the two post-TDL EPs they released, with this one coming from a recording session in an abandoned Russian Orthodox church in Siberia, and finally seeing the light of day in 2001. I had absurdly high expectations for this release, stemming from a diehard love of TDL combined with the fact that it took me close to a year of searching to actually track down this album, and it did not disappoint. The first track, 'Plots, (True or False) are a Necessary Thing?', starts in slow, ambient fashion, with a ponderously tolling church bell before exploding into an industrial-tinged progressive metal onslaught. The song is superbly structured, with many changes and moments of tension building to cathartic release. Returning drummer Chris Delov's percussive skills are on display here, and he demonstrates his relentlessly acrobatic and unique style in spades. The other remaining original member, Fabrizio Gallinov (who composed the majority of the material found here), has taken up vocal duties, and he proves to be more than capable, especially in the abstract bridge, where he slowly builds in intensity towards a sustained, tortured cry capable of evoking chills in even the most cynical listener. The track closes with a static-laden vocal passage, sublimely closing the piece.

A simple drum beat opens up 'Isis/Pekt', the next song. Keyboards help to establish a strange, doom-laden sound, before the song kicks into full swing with some impressive bass work courtesy of Blacky. The atmosphere on this track is unparalled, with the myriad instruments interlocking flawlessly towards the common goal of fully immersing the listener. The many tempo changes in this song work wonderfully.

Things calm down a touch with the third track, 'Movement'. Eschewing guitars entirely in favor of soothing synthesizers, it opens with a beautiful piano melody before processed vocals enter in the first verse. Fabrizio really shows his abilities as a vocalist on this track, proving that he can convey emotion with the same skill as, say, Geoff Tate, or Ray Alder. Complemented with Chris' surprisingly tasteful double bass skills, this is a track simply dripping with feeling. 'Summoning' closes the EP in ominous fashion, being comprised of two and a half minutes of eerie, almost organic ambience.

Honestly, this is one of the most unique pieces of music I've heard. It surpassed even my lofty expectations, and I'm glad I took the time to search it out. I'll subtract a point because of the length (a mere 14 minutes), but the music here is near flawless.

Report this review (#204258)
Posted Tuesday, February 24, 2009 | Review Permalink
siLLy puPPy
PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams
4 stars The Australian progressive metal band VAUXDVIHL only released one full album "To Dimension Logic" in 1994 and offered a midway point between the 80s Queensryche metal sound and a grungier alternative metal sound that was dominating the 90s. After the release of the album guitarist Frederic Leduc and bassist / keyboardist Edward Katz immediately left the band to pursue greener pastures leaving founder guitarist and vocalist Fab Gallen with the dilemma of whether to continue the his band that had been plagued by so many difficulties. Despite all trials and tribulations he opted to continue on and release two more EPs. SIBERIAN CHURCH RECORDINGS was the second of these short releases but contains two tracks from the "96 Demo" that debuted the new sound that jettisoned most of the 80s influences in favor of more dark and sinister sounding industrial bleakness.

SIBERIAN CHURCH RECORDINGS is a short but surprisingly startling set of only four tracks that only clock in at 14 minutes and 22 seconds but manages to include a diversity of cold, dank and emotionally draining tracks. "Plots, (To or F) Are Necessary Thing?" starts off with the tintinnabulation of church bell and then eerie ambience ensues for a while and then becomes some grungy type of metal. Despite jettisoning the Queensryche and Fates Warning influences such as the high register vocals and progressive metal type guitar riffs, there are still plenty of progressive time signature changes although it is now on a down-tuned and more dreary soundscape. "ISIS / PEKT" becomes even stranger as it has a frigid industrial ambience with a bass and drums and tinny guitar sustain before power chords erupt behind the electronically processed vocals. It becomes more energetic and sounds a lot like some of Enslaved's more progressive newer albums actually. "Movement" is a slower piano based track that has a dreadful atmospheric haze that is punctuated by heavy drumming and dirty guitar and bass. It's also quite progressive and brings darker progressive metal bands of the 21st century to mind. "Summoning" is a short little dark ambient track that creates some hellish sound effects and tortured monster type utterances.

SIBERIAN CHURCH RECORDINGS is a short but effective slice of darkened progressive metal with industrial bleakness and makes me wish they would have released a full album of this type of material. Even though it's completely different than their previous releases it's quite an interesting listen and better than the previous "Vog" EP. No need to hunt this down on its own. This one can be found along with "Vog" as bonus tracks on the 2014 expanded release of "To Dimension Logic" in a nice double album package with freaky photos and lyrics in the included booklet.

Report this review (#1689842)
Posted Tuesday, February 7, 2017 | Review Permalink

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