Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Old Man's Child|
Ill-Natured Spiritual Invasion
Genres: World Music, Rock, Metal
Listen to Samples
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Jeremy Ulrey | Austin, TX | 02/11/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Strange that an album written and recorded pretty much by one man, a feat which is usually reserved for side projects, happens to be one of the best metal albums of the year, black metal or otherwise. Of course there are those who will argue that Old Man's Child aren't really black metal at all. Compared to material from Cradle Of Filth and Emperor, the music on Ill Natured Spiritual Invasion is ponderously slow and lacking in full frontal brutality. And depending on what angle you choose to look at it, Thomas Rune Anderson's vocals could just as easily pass for death metal. This is a legitimate point, but it will only concern black metal elitists and nomenclature fetishists. The rest of the headbanging population will embrace this as a contemporary classic of the genre, a showpiece worthy of representing heavy metal to all who claim extreme music can't be done with class. Perhaps the heavy use of keyboards are what prompted Century Media to release this on their Black label, as the riffs immortalized here are of a decidedly classic metal vintage. Nevertheless the keyboards are absolutely astounding, not so much in terms of heroic virtuosity, but in complimenting the already exceptional songwriting. About the only time the keyboards are given the burden of carrying the melody is during the introductory passages of several tracks, but you could filter out the other instruments altogether and you'd still have a solidly listenable classical record. I'm a bit confused as to who to credit for this incredible addition to the band's repertoire, as the liner notes imply Thomas Rune Anderson (aka Galder) is responsible for all but the drums (courtesy Gene Hoglan), but the lineup data only lists him as "all guitars, vocals". It's possible engineer Tomas Skogsberg may have contributed musically somewhat, but it's just as likely the compiler of the liner notes neglected to mention the keys altogether. Whatever the case may be, they make a strong impression and serve as a new benchmark as to what's expected from here on out in the black metal scene. I usually try to mention specific highlights of an album, mainly because saying the whole album is equally great tends to throw you in with a group of amateur reviewers who probably haven't even listened to the CD more than once before trading it in on the new Madonna record. Well, if I graded songs individually I'd give each 9-10 stars, but just so I'm not accused of copping out I suppose a little description is in order. "Towards Eternity" starts things off with a keyboard riff that sounds like it came out of a Tim Burton movie- darkly symphonic but not over doing the "I'm your worst nightmare" vibe most black metal bands seek to impart. The keyboard work on this song sets the standard for the rest of the album and serves as a preview of what's in store. What's most commendable is that the keyboards aren't used as simply another rhythm layer as they are on most other extreme metal records. Often the keys are used to accentuate beats in a more pronounced manner than a bass is capable of, but they're just as likely to be playing arpeggiated patterns in perfect complement to the guitar riff. It should be noted that Tomas Skogsberg has done an awesome job giving each instrument it's separate space. The bass is mixed low, but all other instruments seem to come at you with equal volume, and at no point do they bury each other in a muddy mess. "The Dream Ghost" puts the guitar in the forefront, although the keyboard accompaniment during the instrumental breaks are no less noteworthy for their backseat role. There is not a great deal of guitar soloing per se on this album, but on "The Dream Ghost" as elsewhere Galder keeps the song flowing smoothly with a succession of varying but interrelated riffs. The riff at the center of "Demoniacal Possession" will have everyone recalling Slayer at their Priest-chomping best. A brief solo is offered on this track, though it's mixed as a rhythm instrument, so it's kind of a blink and you miss it affair. Toward the end of the song, there's a Slayer-esque dive bomb note which sounds as if it's going to swoop into a louder solo, but alas- not to be. That's OK, because as the track fades and "Fall Of Man" begins, one begins to appreciate how well constructed musically thrash used to be, and Old Man's Child are a sign that it may be so again. This track again serves to emphasize the guitar/keyboard interplay, as the keyboard lines are allowed to exceed an octave while the guitars provide the heavy bottom end, remaining within a fairly safe distance of the root note. This rule is broken slightly for "Captives Of Humanity", which has both instruments playing similar lines but differing enough to provide adequate counterpoint. Really great melodies at work on this song. One of the best and most accomplished on an almost flawless record. If any were given the impression that the lack of guitar solos constitued a playing deficiency on Mr. Anderson's part, the galloping riffs driving "God Of Impiety" will set them straight. Recalling Iced Earth with Kirk Hammett and Dave Mustaine as ancestral roots, this track would have been equally at home on Master Of Puppets as it would on Iced Earth's last couple of albums. This is exactly the kind of music Metallica should still be making (we'll let them keep the clean vocals if they meet us halfway). The follow-up track, "My Evil Revelation", continues the comparisons, but finds Galder experimenting with vocal styles; all singing on "Ill Natured Spiritual Invasion" is done in a death metal fashion, but Galder proves capable of changing dynamics a bit by singing in a combination of high and low registers (thus blurring the line between death and black metal styles). For many fans of 80s thrash, this will be their favorite song on the album. Those who liked "Captives Of Humanity" will also enjoy "Thy Servant", which also includes contrapuntal instrumentation. The keys on this song give a last indication of their contribution to the album as a whole- whereas most black metal bands stick with one keyboard setting, usually something with an ominous "ooohh" or "aaahh" sound, Old Man's Child mix things up by adding in harpsichord and piano effects as well. And at last, on this final track Mr. Anderson gives a bit of guitar soloing, and it's done both tastefully and capably. Though it's all too easy to rave about an album when your status as a music critic offers no monetary compensation, leaving free CDs as your only reward, I feel confident that Ill Natured Spiritual Invasion will be given it's due status as a modern day classic. I reiterate the warning about the lack of sheer brutality on this album, but more to encourage fans of groups such as Iced Earth and Blind Guardian to check it out than to scare off old fans of the genre. Old Man's Child seem to realize that metal has perhaps strayed too far from it's roots, these days bearing as much in common with hardcore punk as their Iron forefathers. And while many bands are taking the retro approach by emulating the sloppy playing and destitute production of Venom and other early thrash progenitors, OMC evoke thrash at the height of it's power, able to whisk you off to fantastic escapist lands, where your problems still exist in full force but you're given an iron fist and the will to obliterate as compensation. All hail!"
Original black/death metal worth checking out
G. Wachman | Minneapolis, MN United States | 02/28/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I never got the Pagan Prosperity, but I do have Born of the Flickering, and I can see barely any resemblance between the two. This doesn't mean that either is better than the other. They are both equally good in different ways. INSI has a death metal production (sunlight studio-classic), but retains many black metal qualities. There also seem to be some influences from the melodic death metal genre. If there's one thing I could compliment OMC on this album, it's the awesome melodies created. The songwriting is also great. Just when I think I feel like changing it to the next song, the synths, rhythm, and guitar grab me and hold me for the rest of the song. This is a remarkable quality. Gene Hoglan's influence is pretty dramatic on some songs, which is obviously a good thing. All musicianship is excellent, including the vocals. There are only a couple things I don't like about this album: 1)It's pretty short, around 35 minutes and 2)The lyrics. I'm getting pretty sick of the whole "satan shall rule earth" concept. It lacks creativity. No one requires you to read the lyrics, though. This is an excellent album, and for some reason seems to have been overlooked by too many. Highly recommended."
Passionately hateful escapism
See about me | North | 05/30/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Most of my thoughts about this album have already been stated by previous reviewers, so I'll just post some assorted thoughts.
- People love to compare Old Man's Child to Dimmu Borgir, simply because they are both mid-paced black metal bands with keyboards. This is a flawed comparison; Dimmu Borgir is a band with several members and an entire orchestra under their belt, yet they are unable to compose a song without the inclusion of trailing, irrelevant lines of fluffy symphonics. Old Man's Child just has one songwriter, but the lucid keyboards actually complement and enhance the music's majesty instead of either becoming a droning backdrop or its own musical entity entirely. Galder has the finesse to find a happy medium.
- Galder's chilling, multi-dimensional vocals are totally improvised. I don't care what anyone says, that's talent.
- Skinpounder Gene Hoglan from Death and Strapping Young Lad appears on this album. That alone warrants a listen.
- This band comes dangerously close to the commercial side of the black metal spectrum for my tastes, but stands above overrated goth metal like Dimmu and CoF by applying both excellent songwriting and captivating atmosphere. Tranquil and harmonic interludes work to accentuate the ominous tones of misanthropy painted by more sinister passages, and provide tonal variance. This would be the perfect soundtrack to some vast, medieval war.
- Awesome title, by the way. I'd never expect a spiritual invasion to be ill-natured.
- Thus says the Pellington"