Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The One - Guardians Inhuman (2003)

Now, I don't know the story behind the choice of the name, but when your band is called 'The One', logic would dictate that its implication was of something special. Something peculiar. Unique. In listening through the debut Guardians Inhuman, I'm having difficult figuring out what exactly is so prodigious about these Greeks. The deeper, guttural approach to the vocals reeks of a black/death hybrid, but the band's obvious aesthetic here is of the Norwegian newsprint variety, corpse paint and devil horns serving to distract the onlooker from the atrocious logo the band has selected here. There are some strange, almost warm vibes cast about in some of the notation to the songs, but otherwise, Guardians Inhuman sounds as if it were mixed and recorded in a damn porcelain dumper.

Seriously, this might pass for an acceptable rehearsal or live mix to a board, but it's ultimately just aural crud. I found it interesting that the band used such inanely lower vocals, but the song structures here are an incongruous mass of ideas that don't quite fit together. The band will saunter along, exploring some vapid, slow riff, and then drop out to transition to another black metal guitar line that fares little better ("This Means War"). The writing is redolent of early 90s Norwegian stuff like Mayhem, Burzum and Darkthrone, but I'm not sure that there's a single standout guitar part on this entire album. "Guardians Inhuman" itself is disjointed noise, and the clamor spreads to the irritating "Thou Art None" or the warmer, fuller but inevitably dull "I Am the One"...which I'd have thought would be their anthem towards greatness.

Sad to say, the very best track on this album is the closer, too obviously titled "Ambiance", which is naught more than some subtle, probing synthesizers, xylophone like runs and distant alarms or sirens droning off. To be truthful, I found this incredibly immersive despite the nonsense I had to sit through to arrive at it. Perhaps The One should consider a full ambient career? I'd certainly rather listen to that then what they've manifest for this debut. Crude, almost sporadic black metal is not necessarily unwelcome to mine ears, but this unfortunately goes beyond that to the realm of the truly forgettable. Weak music, weak lyrics, and abysmal atmosphere until the gleaming exemption of its endgame.

Verdict: Fail [4.75/10]

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