1. Under A Luminous Sky 2. Frozen Asleep In The Park 3. Watching It All Disappear 4. Fooled By The Serpent 5. Waves Of Visual Decay 6. My Bleeding Victim 7. At Dewy Prime
Well if there was any doubt at all what label has provided the most innovative, entertaining heavy metal media to the table this year, the new release from Norway's Communic should hammer the final nail. Nuclear Blast steps up in a big way releasing yet another fine metal gem in the year of 2006. Along with quality releases like Edguy, Scar Symmetry, and Amorphis, it has made the mid-year awards for best label fairly easy to pinpoint. Nuclear Blast wins in grand style by continually pushing the boundaries of quality, inspirational metal classics.
This sophomore effort entitled "Waves Of Visual Decay" takes Communic and into a whole new realm of metal existence. While their debut from 2005, "Conspiracy In Mind", showed a ton of potential and talent among it's members, it is this new album that shows me just how important this band can be in the greater scheme of things. It is so rare for albums like this to exist, and in many ways I have already confirmed this as a "classic" of epic proportions based on my month long listen. So many elements are brought to life using grand brush strokes that paint the perfect portrait.
From a metal standpoint I can hear just about every element and dimension from progressive and symphonic metal to the Norwegian and Swedish folk aspirations to Germany's bombastic power metal persuasion. It all works out perfectly through seven grand workings of wonder and delight, all topped off perfectly by the esteemed hand of one Jacob Hansen, known for his masterful work with the likes of Hatesphere, Mercenary, and Volbeat just to name a few.
It is amazing to hear such musical detail and innovation within one single album, with this clearly in the same league as Blind Guardian's "Imaginations From The Other Side", Nevermore's "Dead Heart In A Dead World", and probably Morgana Lefay's "Grand Materia". In fact those three albums are probably the only comparison I can make when it comes to describing the fascinating sounds conjured up by these minds and souls. Like Blind Guardian, the music and vocals are layered creating an epic quality that is so hard to find in today's rather bleak 'core format. The punchy rhythm parts and down tuned guitar strategy is very much like Nevermore, complete with vocalist Oddleif Stensland's remarkable comparison to Warrel Dane. Like Morgana Lefay's recent effort, this album is somewhat of a concept album that takes on softer tones while still providing the abrasive, scraping guitar sounds needed for aggressive fans.
Opener "Under A Luminous Sky" completely engulfs the listener in big block rhythm, punctuated by double bass and highlighted by Stensland's amazing vocal performance, here checking in from a lower "Dane" style to high falsetto ala Tim Owens (Iced Earth, Judas Priest). Following that is the moody, atmospheric taste of "Frozen Asleep In The Park", a song that almost incorporates a Finnish sound like Amorphis or Sentenced. The guitars build into a sort of Mercyful Fate/Hank Sherman riff completely built around solid bass lines. The mid-track, "Fooled By The Serpent", has a modern metal sound but really goes in a different direction vocally by capitalizing on fine harmonies that may be influenced by the sounds of Peter, Paul, & Mary or even Simon & Garfunkel from the '60s. It is this element that really brings out the folk elements of the band. That same element presents itself on parts of the last cut, "At Dewy Prime", which has a unique guitar sound that is reminiscent of Hypocrisy guitarist Peter Tagtgren.
Bottom Line - By album's end if anyone isn't completely blown away or mesmerized, well then they simply never hit play. This is one of the best records of the last ten years and in many ways sets the stage for Communic to completely lead a whole new breed of heavy metal bands. This is absolutely mandatory listening from start to finish!
About this Writer: Eric Compton // Eric Compton lives in the most haunted city in the world, St. Augustine, Florida with his family and two yorkies. He has contributed to MaximumMetal.com since it's conception in 2003. His reviews, interviews and social commentary has been featured on websites like Brave Words, Blabbermouth, Metal Temple, Metal Rules, Ultimate Metal, Metal Maniacs and Wikipedia. You can also find him on his paperbackwarrior.com blog discussing all things action and adventure.
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