Waste of Space Orchestra& Trees: A Svart Records Roundup
Once again, Svart has the goodies that you so crave (and you better crave ’em)
It all began as a piece specially commissioned by Roadburn, from the members of the Wastement collective – Oranssi Pazuzu and Dark Buddha Rising. What followed was a seventy-minute space opera of sorts, focused on three beings’ search for knowledge. Syntheosis is not a recording of this event, but rather a later studio-interpretation, divided into nine parts, carefully worked on for the last summer and spring by the ten-headed beast. Not everyone is orating simultaneously, of course. There’s a strict division between parts, between moments, between who is centered upon – The Possessor, the Shaman, or The Seeker.
It is not the first time the members of the collective have sought to join their minds, Atomikylä has released two albums combining the characteristics of both bands into something distinctively neither. But on Syntheosis the sounds collide and meld into something that is distinctively both. Some defining characteristics the bands have always shared and these work as the foundation for Waste of Space Orchestra. Slow churning psychedelia is the most obvious of these, sometimes clad in the violently orbiting black- or the still, drawn out post-metal of Oranssi Pazuzu, at others with the lingering, evocative doom of Dark Buddha Rising. There are some influences that don’t clearly belong to either band, “Seeker’s Reflection’s” post-punk rhythmic base or hints of Virus lurking here and there, but nothing that couldn’t have become either bands’, or both’s, compositions. X + Y =\= Z, but XY. A minor complaint perhaps, but disappointing.
Though the songs follow a certain common structure – a spine defining and restricting their growth. Syntheosis doesn’t strictly follow the usual-most mathematical logic of songwriting, as the musicians come and go, so does the spine become malformed and contorted and more often than not the individual movements are reactions to the preceding one, rather than a chronological continuation. There are a few parts, such as the aforementioned “Seeker’s Reflection”, or the bass-driven “Vacuum Head”, that seem disjointed even from the rest, as if the beasts evolution halted, and the began anew from nought. This does, eventually lead into Syntheosis‘ threshing mass being lend a more regular, album-like atmosphere. I don’t know if I should applaud the collective’s skill to draw out individual compositions from Syntheosis‘ amorphous bulk, or give in to the disappointment over it’s conventionality. While Waste of Space Orchestra may never shake away the feeling it could have been more if the collective hadn’t been so set in combining their two bands’ sounds, and instead opted for something wholly new instead, Syntheosis is a very fulfilling record.
4/5 Flaming Toilets ov Hell
Trees – Trees
It’s no secret I’m a big fan of Svart Records, but even so, many of their releases I’ve no incentive to visit, or revisit, and Trees very nearly became one of the bands I didn’t give the time of day for. Trees is a Savonian quartet drawing inspiration from old folk rock in the vein of The Byrds, The Band and Neil Young, centered around singer-songwriter Santeri Vänttinen. While all of the three have at some time appeared on my platter, and two still continue to make an appearance once or twice a year, I would lie saying I’d have been endeared to check them out. That their first music video was shot by Lauri Ainala, the mastermind behind the masterful Paavoharju among other things, was a flimsy connection, even if they had risen from the same circle of friends. But in learning Joose Keskitalo, an experimental folk/blues artist was also participating as a guitarist, I caved in.
On their eponymous debut, Trees doesn’t make too apparent connections to their inspirations, adding a twist that may yet become distinctively their own. Santeri’s singing is careful, often wobbly and Joose’s harmonies often are slightly off-time with him, though both sound simultaneously both carefully considered choices, as well as unavoidable results of recording the album live. Whichever the case, they only serve to stress the band’s rural charm. On the other hand, Santeri’s verbal expression is somewhat narrow, and though not disturbingly so, together with the similarity of the songs blurs them together. Trees is saved by it’s short run-time, at roughly 30 minutes long it’s short enough not to grow wearisome and additional instrumentation, woodwinds on “Wherever You May Be”, “Indian Summer”, and “Forest” and “A New Day’s” violin as well as the single “Out In The Open’s” deceptively higher tempo lend a cavalcade of memorable moments large enough to carry throughout the record. Though I do no expect to consistently return to Trees years from now, it will serve to alleviate these ears when they grow weary of all the metal we feature here for the time being.
3/5 Flaming Toilets ov Hell