Thursday, October 30, 2008

Pantheist - Journey Through Lands Unknown (2008)

Whether specifically religious or not, Pantheist's sound goes for a distinctly spiritual vibe. Airy synths make for a light, almost uplifting atmosphere, almost as if the listener were being lifted in a shaft of dusty light up to everyone's favourite children's story. Snarkiness aside, the album isn't preachy by any means.

In fact, it's not too shabby. Whereas I found their previous albums to be disinteresting, this one keeps my interest at times. The songs are relatively busy and are structured well, keeping them from dragging on as funeral doom is wont to do. Progressive elements, such as the organ that shows up periodically or the acoustic and harmonica interlude of "Haven", also lend a unique feel. None of it is rather exciting, but it's executed well.

My problem with it? The vocals. While the classic growling serves its purpose, much of the clean singing and spoken passages that litter the album fall completely flat. They just don't work well at all. That these are used so frequently is even worse once you notice that every now and then, as in, only a few times on the entire album, a tortured Bethlehem-esque cry rises up from the background. It sounds fantastic, and it's a damn shame that the prevalence of these roles isn't reversed.

There's material to enjoy here, but on the whole, the album just isn't that compelling.

Verdict: Indifference [3/5]

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