Friday, November 18, 2011

Skjaersild - Damned Roots DEMO (2007)

The biggest issue with Skjaersild's eponymous 2005 demo was the lack of really anything happening. No vocals on either of its tracks, and not even drums on the first. With Damned Roots, the Spaniard seeks to address this by including a lot more to the architecture of his compositions, and while I still think this material still feels a bit too dry without vocals, and the individual riffs often loop themselves more than I am comfortable with hearing, I feel that this is a solid improvement over its predecessor. Not something I'd really ever seek out or make a recommendation for, but clearly a sign of some growth for the musician involved.

This time out, there are three tracks. All are still instrumental, but I don't think vocals would add anything for the latter pair. "Is Not a Voice Anyone" is a piano piece with some backing synthesizers, performed at a sad classical pacing and meant to stir only the emotions of longing and regret in the listener. It's relatively predictable, but could surely serve as background music for some dramatic scene in a TV movie, and the notes do not move in patterns that offend the ear. The slight, jazzy touch of a few of the chords later in the track is also nice, but ultimately it seems little more than average, incidental stuff. "Go Away" uses the same instrumentation, but it's a more immediate, bombastic and brief (:55 seconds) march that seems like it might be a good score for Bela Lugosi coming down his spiral stairs to confront vampire hunters.

The rest of this demo consists of "Looking at the Emptiness", which is Ravn's most dynamic piece to its day, opening with some swells of guitar tone before a crushing black chord sequence seems to herald in some ominous doom. And then, strangely the song shifts into synthesizer territory. And then, an acoustic bridge...followed by the long needed, slow drum beat and a spiraling if predictable guitar melody. I admit that I got more out of this than any of the other songs I've heard on these demos, but still there are some problems with the rather bland transitions and the absolute lack of vocals, which plagued the original demo. At almost 10 minutes, "Looking at the Emptiness" might have functioned more effectively with more to tie its parts together. The production on the instruments is decent, but still quite amateur.

Of course, if someone dislikes ambient music or simplistic, rustic piano pieces then there is just not a lot to appreciate here. The metal aspect of its throughput is incredibly scarce. This is more intended for fans into the Burzum ambient records or perhaps the 'dungeon synth' scene that is sprouting up around a bunch of largely unrelated act that have similar dark, minimal sounds, but even there it's not so exemplary. Better than the s/t, but not by a wide margin.

Verdict: Indifference [5/10]

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