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Brilliant first review for LOCH VOSTOK's "Reveal No Secrets"

Discussion in 'Nightmare Records' started by MEGALOUD, May 27, 2009.


    MEGALOUD The Nightmare Has Begun..

    Nov 9, 2005
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    Minneapolis/St. Paul,MN (The Twin Cities)
    Review from Metalteamuk

    Listen and buy it here

    Artist: Loch Vostok
    Title: Reveal No Secrets
    Type: Album
    Label: Nightmare Records

    I have a strange antipathy towards keyboards in heavy metal and it goes back a very long way. In my formative years ‘real’ musicians didn’t play a keyboard they learnt to play the guitar, bass or drums in their bedroom or dad’s garage. After spending many hours in there each week for months on end they finally emerged as fully fledged musicians. Keyboards were one of those new fangled electronic gadgets that allowed people with no talent to produce music without graft or craft. This attitude allowed us New Wave of British Heavy Metallers to look down our noses at the chart dominating bands of the New Romantic movement. Our music may be noisy and obscure, as we were frequently reminded, but at least we could play our instruments!

    Of course looking back on it now there have always been keyboards in heavy music, its just that unless you were John Lord in Deep Purple you were generally not given any credit or were simply hidden behind a curtain at the side of the stage ala Geoff Nicholls of Black Sabbath fame. Despite this realisation I have never taken to the increasingly high profile use of keyboards in many of heavy metal’s subgenres today, mainly because I don’t think they add anything to the traditional instrumentation. They rarely seem to compliment, and often tend to overshadow. With some trepidation then I approached this release by Loch Vostok.

    First track ‘Loss of Liberty’ kicks off with the kind of low level keyboard drone that I’m talking about. It reminds me of the many bands that I have heard in passing and not liked enough to even recall their name. Instantly I’m left wondering whether Loch Vostok will be added to this list. The answer is a resounding no, because over the course of nearly 52 minutes they proceed to lay before me an almost perfect collection of songs so that my initial doubts are obliterated and I am left to hold my hand up and admit that I was totally wrong. Clearly keyboards do have a place in some metal bands and on the strength of this CD I will have to judge each case on its merits or run the risk of turning my back on a gem such as this in the future.

    The bands third album may be called ‘Reveal No Secrets’ but for the uninitiated like me it reveals plenty from start to finish. The musicianship on display is excellent, the songwriting exemplary and the techniques employed diverse. One minute it can be driving and powerful, the next loose and expansive but without ever losing its focus. In an album of all round quality, what stands out for me the most is the range of frontman-guitarist Teddy Moller; so many times a vocal is just a means to deliver a line or convey an idea but this guy’s voice is an instrument in its own right. He’s part black metal growler, part power metal screamer and a little of everything else in-between. He has a hauntingly melancholic quality to his voice that equals or even surpasses that of Opeth main man Michael Akerfeldt. And that’s something that I never thought I would say about anyone else in extreme metal.

    When an album is as good as this it almost seems churlish to single out specific tracks for praise. Personally I found value in every song on the disc and wouldn’t describe a single track as filler. One of its greatest strengths is the way the songs successfully and seamlessly switch between so many metal styles. With so much going on within each individual song, let alone the whole collection, this could easily have sounded like a band desperately trying to show off their wide range of influences or simply lacked structure. Thankfully these guys are old enough and experienced enough not to have let that happen.

    I’m struggling to recall something like this which draws on so many influences and yet still sounds so organic and not in the slightest way contrived? ‘Uncompassion’ for example, begins with an uplifting power metal type intro that soon gives way to a barked vocal played against a symphonic black metal backdrop. The song is then driven to new heights by the stunning vocal interplay between extreme and clean styles, before dissipating in a guitar frenzy that should satisfy any fan of fret wankery.

    The record label bio described this as melodic death metal but I would dispute that as far too narrow a definition for a band of this scope. When you play this CD you are thrown into a maelstrom of sonic excess; elements of almost every subgenre of metal features somewhere along the way; progressive, symphonic, power, black and death. They even throw in some samples and a female vocal on one song. At the risk of sounding totally cheesy and playing on the fact that these guys hail from Sweden, I would call it smorgasbord metal. They have taken the tastiest morsels from the metal table and created a truly memorable meal.

    Stylistically parts of this album put me in mind of so many bands, some of which I don’t even like, yet at no time does it sound derivative whilst at all times it sounds utterly brilliant. ‘Reveal No Secrets’ deserves to take Loch Vostok to the upper echelons of the progressive metal world. It’s a certainty to be in my top ten albums of the year because quite frankly I refuse to believe that there will be 9 better albums than this produced in 2009. If you don’t believe me then check it out for yourself.

    Richard Lawson
  2. J-Man

    J-Man Old as Yoda

    Jan 11, 2005
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    I love what I have heard so far, this maybe a top 10 for me this year.

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