posted on 10/2008 By:
When I signed up for this release and saw it was a re-issue of this one man avant-garde progressive black/death metal act from Germany and saw titles like “3. I View (Third Eye View - Extended Vision)” and “Cortextension (Pitching Blackest Insanity)” with song lengths ranging from five to twelve minutes, the whole thing screamed “Pretentious wankery!” to me. And I was partially right.
At a patience testing 76 minutes, Khiaoscuro is Mark Edward Astorian’s sixth full length album and if you imagine some of the one man USBM mingled with a sneering, better than you, black sweater clad ‘Dieter’-esque caricature and typical overly grandiose Germanic experimentation, you get Khiaoscuro, a tiresome if at times challenging and definitely avant-garde affair.
Take it as good or bad, but I have not heard much like Khiaoscuro. At times it’s such a self indulgent display of off the wall programmed strangeness and eclectic wanderings (“Sick Transit Gloria Mundi”) but at other times it’s a fairly competent take on experimental black metal (“Low Resolution Profile”)-and that’s just the first two tracks. Subsequent tracks deliver the same myriad of styles and often overwhelming ambition, that has to be drug or ego induced. I’m all for music that breaks barriers and genres, but to be honest Traumatic Voyage is just that - a Traumatic Voyage, and not in a good depressive, despondent black metal way, but in a Shining and Cradle of Filth mixed with Visceral Evisceration, a bad acid trip, PMS and German Opera way.
From moaning, groaning vocals (“Knowhere” and “Gratwanderung”), hysterical male and female shrieks with vast segments mixing programming, straining despondency and forced black metal mysticism (“3. I View (Third Eye View - Extended Vision)”, “Cortextension (Pitching Blackest Insanity)” and “Wayward Willwind”), to some gothic ambience tangents (“Eisendzeit”, "Gratwanderung") Khiaoscuro is truly all over the place, like Astorian’s musical synapses are just firing intermittently and completely randomly. The rare times he just buckles down and delivers slightly off kilter black metal like “Low Resolution Profile” and “New Rage (..of Old Hate”), it's far more tolerable.
Whether this is innovative and genre defying brilliance or ostentatious and pomp filled conceit will depend on your mood and level of psychotropic drug intake, as I can certainly see both sides. However, I’m leaning towards the latter as I don’t do drugs and have a normal relatively psychological state.
Register to post comments.