Mouth of the Architect
Time and Withering
posted on 3/2005 By:
Time and Withering is the debut album from the impressive Mouth of the Architect. The band includes Dave Mann of the defunct fellow Ohio based band Rune, but rather than following in the acerbic death metal footsteps of The End of Nothing, Mouth of the Architect builds from the blueprint of atmospheric giants Isis and Neurosis. There are a lot of other quality bands shooting for the same thing, including established acts Pelican and Cult of Luna and promising upstarts like Overmars, the exceedingly cinematic The Ocean, and the underrated Dutch band Transmission0. For a relatively small subgenre, it’s starting to get pretty crowded in here. Luckily, MotA have the skills to make their own way, and should be a well received, if duplicative, addition to the fray.
Time and Withering consists of a mere four tracks that collectively sprawl to forty minutes, yet manage to stay focused and engaging. It’s a familiar template for fans of the bands referenced earlier, but for the uninitiated--Mouth of the Architect sculpt and layer atmosphere and intensity by threading together slow-building melodies. It’s all about contrasts. Sometimes the material is sparse and minimalist, at others, thick and harmonized. Billowy atmospherics grow in intensity, rising to an apex before crashing in a crescendo of explosive release. Time and Withering has a more raw sound than some of the other work in the genre, giving Mouth of the Architect an appealing balance of celestial and organic elements.
The album culminates with the strongest of the four tracks, “The Worm”. An ambient piano intro is slowly subsumed by sustaining, mellow guitar notes, before the rest of the band joins in, overlaying rich lines of melody that seem to fluidly move among and between each other, before synchronizing and then diverging again. In the latter stages of the song, the band pounds out a more single minded direction, while still incorporating the more delicate melodies grown throughout the song. At less than five minutes, “Heart Eaters” is by far the shortest song on the album. It is also easily the most direct, with choppy, caustic riffing and post-core sludge, and an ambient sample that sounds like a malfunctioning string instrument line. The aptly named “A Vivid Chaos” is the album opener and charges forward with a heavy fuzzy riff, before settling into a more delicate and pedestrian pace, which of course, is only temporary as well. “Soil to Stone” rounds out the four songs, and is more repetitive and lulling during the first half of the song, while the second half unleashes a cascade of atypical riffing that give the song a peculiar and powerful personality. Song craftsmanship is critical in pulling off this sound, and bands that do it well pull from the bag of tricks also used by non-metal bands to create an interplay between tension and mellowness to sculpt mood that is entrancing, as songs float lightly before collapsing under their own burgeoning weight.
If you enjoy this style, Mouth of the Architect is sure to please. Should you need some more convincing however, head over to Translation Loss’ website, where you can download the eleven minute “The Worm”. After you’re dully impressed, give this band your money, and hope they continue to give you lots of future opportunities to do so.
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