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Album Review: TBA

Friday, September 6, 2013

Album Review: Thränenkind – The Elk

The album art, a colourless, out-of-focus shack lost in a barren wasteland, should tip you off to the kind of music that lurks within. Thränenkind are just one of a batch of ambient hardcore bands that seem to be turning heads of late. Though they aren’t adverse to tossing you glimpses of light, they do generally pitch an achingly grey, miserabilist backdrop at you, then attempt to shade it with streaks of blood red and black that burst from a cantankerous, subversive screamed vocal.

Past experience with bands like The Elijah, Amia Venera Landscape and Devil Sold His Soul has taught this reviewer that when the two opposing forces nail the timing and click into place, they can create an overwhelmingly emotional reaction. When they misfire and fail to illicit that heart-pounding response the tracks can become very tiresome, very quickly. What’s frustrating is that generally this is very much the case here.

Boasting doom-esque features and some passages of spoken word, tracks like “Today, The Sea” and “Eternal Youth” retain all the latent power that exists within the slowly-shifting sonic tide by force-feeding an interesting, lighter, building wall of twinkling sound into these invidious screams. This creation of an ebbing backwash which rumbles under the narrated parts is utterly mesmeric. These latter parts are clearly the extra dimension that is required for the rest to mesh together. However, surrounding these tracks like a vast ocean is plenty of overtly repetitive toying with a basic sequence of keys. Those who love a bit of shoegaze should find plenty to mong out to as these cyclical tracks fade in and out of each other almost imperceptibly.

The concept is suitably bleak, covering two siblings journeying to their father’s funeral, and the music portrays the emotional turmoil this pair undergo along the way. Clearly, there can be no doubt that these Germans are really aiming to spark a reaction and establish a connection. Sadly, however, the tonal depths of this debut full-length won’t break hearts like other bands in the genre can. Its biggest failing, though, is never nailing down enough diverse content to keep us hooked.

Also online @ Ave Noctum = http://www.avenoctum.com/2013/09/thranenkind-the-elk-lifeforce-records/
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