Perhaps the first thing to note at the start is that England's Messenger should not be confused with the German power metal band of the same name. No. These bands are light years apart in musical direction. This Messenger is a progressive rock quintet, arriving with their second full-length album, Threnodies, a rather fancy word that may also be defined as "lamentations."
Having said that your first thought might be, "So this is sad and melancholy music, that will either sufficiently bore the shit out of me or make me depressed." Not necessarily. Although both Balearic Blue and Crown Of Ashes are laced with both the subtlety and melancholy in their deliberate use of quiter tones and ambient atmospheres.
Then again, there's the opening song Calyx (a botanical term), which has the depressingly morose start. Mostly vocals over this churning cacophonous rhythm section, it eventually erupts into this heavy poly-rhythmic swell and a very agitated guitar solo. Curiously, Oracles Of War, which follows, does the opposite. The first half is this heavy rock/metal riff monster reinforced by thundering drums. The latter half breaks down to something solemn forged upon acoustic guitar and vocals, then a lighter guitar solo.
Speaking to some of the other songs, most have some combination of the aforementioned characteristics, that juxtaposition of quiet and heaviness, liveliness and melancholy. Of note within Celestial Spheres there sounds some use of old school Hammond. It reminded me somewhat of heavy-hand more pyshedelic Traffic. In Pareidolia, named for a curious psychological phenomena (look it up), there's this interesting quas-blues riff and groove starting around two minutes through the midpoint. After which, like Oracles Of War, the song is reduced to something more minimal, vocals once more over lighter guitars. It has a near Floydish feel. If you think a pattern has been formed here, you may be right.
But, to be honest, as creative or eclectic as Threnodies may seem, I'm not sure I found it all that accessible or entertaining. It's not an album I would pull out for repeat listens, even for the sake of further exploration. But you may feel different.
To be honest, as creative or eclectic as Threnodies may seem, I'm not sure I found it all that accessible or entertaining. It's not an album I would pull out for repeat listens, even for the sake of further exploration. But you may feel different.
Mat Sinner is both an icon and legend in the German, and the larger European, hard rock and heavy metal scene. Cranking out music since 1982, Sinner is an industrious and prolific musician and producer whether through his namesake band, the heavy metal heroes Primal ... [ Read More ]