Release DetailsLABEL The End
RELEASED ON 2/19/2008
posted on 2/2008 By:
One of The End’s most anticipated 2008 releases is none other than Embodiment from Seattle-based supergroup Sculptured, consisting of Don Anderson (Agalloch) on guitars and vocals, JWW (Agalloch, Especially Likely Sloth, Nothing, ex-Subterranean Masquerade) on bass, Andy Winter (Age of Silence, Winds) on keyboards, Dave Murray (Tholus, ex-Estradasphere) on drums, and Thomas Walling on vocals. Thus, it goes without saying that the lineup is phenomenal – each musician has several quality albums to his name – though I can’t help but feel underwhelmed with this particular installment. While Embodiment is surely a good record, I have to admit I was expecting more from a band of this caliber.
Sculptured are progressive death metal, but what makes their third full-length so unique is Andy Winter’s odd, otherworldly keyboard tones in “The Shape of Rage” and “A Moment of Uncertainty” that bring to mind cosmic, space-y keys also found in Mithras, Vintersorg, etc. In addition, Winter’s tasteful piano and organ inclusions add differentiation, as do clean vocals, growls, and an occasional voiceover. However, even though Dave Murray’s drum performance is interesting, it’s almost as if he endorses the Mike Portnoy (Dream Theater) philosophy of more is more, which is problematic because the songs are too busy – at least in the drum department. From the outset, the intricate “Taking My Body Apart” would be an easier swallow if Murray settled down a bit, but as Tholus’s Constant reminds us, he prefers to repeatedly flex his chops. Otherwise, besides sounding a tad clinical, the remainder of the 39-minute Embodiment in the form of “Bodies Without Organs” and “Embodiment is the Purest Form of Horror” is darkly whimsical, recalling the depressive ventures of labelmates Frantic Bleep.
In the end (no pun intended), Embodiment has a sound all its own. Still, it failed to grab me as I initially thought and hoped it would. Sculptured aficionados will be pleased, most likely, but as someone who owns the discographies of Agalloch, Age of Silence, Subterranean Masquerade, and Winds, I have to confess that I’d opt for any of their records over the latest from this five-piece. Intriguing with stunning musical performances, though? You bet.
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