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Thursday, August 4, 2011

Album Review: The Living Fields - Running Out Of Daylight

Chicago's The Living Fields spend their days dwelling on dark times for mankind. It's these injustices that inspire them to write lyrics and compose music on the subject of war, disease, self-doubt and self-destruction. What churns out of them is this eclectic doom that bridges gaps between symphonic, black, death and folk metal.

'Running Out Of Daylight' quickly-establishes itself as their own personal masterpiece. By refusing to apply limits to their music they have managed to compose the longest and shortest songs of their careers, featured strings for the first time and, by seeking out the best production package, have achieved an end result that is a rich, emotion-soaked tapestry of layers - something that they can rightly be proud of. The music carries themes, hooks and lines across from one track to the next; proof that it is a work that has been fully realised from beginning to end.

Tracks divide themselves into segments - each part collapsing into the next to bring us hope before crushing it. 'Perseverance', for instance, rides out on a series of upbeat battle metal strings and chugs, but it soon turns to drone back a clean lament. 'From Miseries To Bloodsoaked Fields' does away with such frivolity and simply plunders bleak chord structures to inject feelings of despair and hopelessness that the death-edged vocals only exacerbate. You'll hear the rolling snare of a lonely soldier sounding out across a misty battlefield, the cannon-fire and the damaged cries of those that have been injured. The futility of war is quite brilliantly portrayed.

'When The Walls Go Down' refuses to follow it's brethren past the nine-minute barrier and reduces itself to a beautifully succinct three minutes of crystalline, campfire folk that issues a line that hooks us in. It's reminiscent of the way that both Fleetwood Mac and Caravan pair-down their songs for maximum effect. 'Bitterness' begins in similar vein, dragging forth Floydian comparisons but flowers out into a driven rock beast with gothic and power overtones. Everywhere you look there is something fresh to listen to, but none quite hit the mark like 'Glacial Movements' - "The awesome power of erosion that forged the valley: deeper / it carved the mountain and laid the stones where they stand: eternal". Like a great, churning goliath its awesome might is exemplified by the nail-biting string builds which speak to the listener at both cinematic and geological levels.

It's true... some of the tracks are overly long but none even come close to the ridiculous seventeen-minute drag that forms the jammed-out title-track. Not everything hits the mark then, but you do have to consider that this isn't your average doom record. You'll rarely find so much light in such a dark place so it most certainly comes recommended, but do proceed with caution - it's inevitably going to divide aficionados of the genre.

Also online @ MTUK = http://www.metalteamuk.net/july11reviews/cdreviews-living.htm

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