It seems with Germany's Ivanhoe consistent productivity is sporadic, one or two albums then a period of silence. And their personnel changes have been equally volatile, the proverbial revolving door of players. With Alexander Koch (Spiral Tower, Powergod, et al), Ivanhoe is on their third vocalist for their seventh album 7 Days.
If anything remains the same, it's their progressive metal. On one hand, it's generally technical with it's measure of tempo and time signature geekery. On the other hand, this approach seems to torch the presence of melody and harmony. It's not that either are not there; they're merely burdened and fraught with weight. This comes from Ivanhoe working work with large, deep and sharp (not a contradicition) riffs, lingering piano and synths, and a dark bottom end. These things are then wrapped up in these thick and dense, somber and melancholy, arrangements. It appears somebody has a deep love of minor keys or the band still has some post-war German angst, about trying to conquer the world with Hitler fascism, in their collective souls. Even Koch's voice sounds depressing as it lumbers over the same arrangements. And I'm glad I didn't have the lyrics handy. Not doubt, they're also equally depressing; wouldn't want that swimming around in my head.
Unfortunately, the result is progressive metal that besets itself upon you like a rope and anchor, waiting to be tossed into a dark foreboding sea on a cloudy moonless night. The album feels and sounds like a chronic sadness, one that perpetuates into not "your worse day ever" but "your worst life ever." Honestly, I listened to this album twice (and I didn't shoot myself), and I don't think there's a moment of brightness, levity, or joy to be found in this music. Conversely, perhaps this was Ivanhoe's intention from the start. I feel sad for them, and I suggest, if you have even the least hint of depression in your life, you exercise some caution.
Ivanhoe's 7 Days is progressive metal that besets itself upon you like a rope and anchor, waiting to be tossed into a dark foreboding sea on a cloudy moonless night. The album feels and sounds like a chronic sadness, one that perpetuates into not "your worse day ever" but "your worst life ever."
In the early Eighties, one of the first American metal bands that caught my interest was New York's Riot, founded by guitarist Mark Reale (1955-2012). Albums like Narita and Fire Down Under were classics of ... [ Read More ]