Welcome to the musical meandering insights of Aaron Joy. Here you'll find 600 reviews of CDs & DVDs of rock & metal in all its variations, mainstream & indie. What they all share is that the album or band is unique in some way & not every submission was reviewed. Please share these reviews or link to them if you like what you read. Reviews are no longer being posted here but feel free to e-mail Aaron & post comments. (Formerly the Roman Midnight Music Blog)

Monday, October 1, 2012

Of Wrath & Ruin ~ Conquering Oblivion

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Style: operatic metal, black metal
Label: Abollyon Records
Year: 2011
Home: New Jersey

Members: Pat Brose ~ lead guitar/vocals
Joe Brannigan ~ rhythm guitar
Ryan Welikonich ~ drums
Laura Tyburski ~ vocals

Additional: Bob Thomas ~ keyboards

An operatic female singer & a growling singer, riffing guitars & fast solos, atmospheric keyboards,
pounding drums ... it can be the recipe to a great album or it can be a recipe to boring cliched metal yearning for a shot in the arm of personality. OW&R have decided to a do a little bit of both, though sadly the highs are really high & make the lows even worse in comparison. OW&R consists of the most cliched riffing guitars churning out boring metal with a guy growling vocals. That's the low & its as predictable as these lows get. Then, they have a girl singing operatic backing vocals & singing a song on her own. Things don't get any better here. Same rehashed predictable formula. Is there really only a handful of variables out there for metal bands to play with? I see a band thinking - nobody in the band can sing so lets get a chick who can't sing opera & have her sing opera. It's a formula with an outcome that just makes me sad. But, then out of nowhere, there's some moments of great creativity. It makes me more sad as so high next to so low. The highs are twofold. There's two instrumental tracks (i.e. "Sapphire Sea", "To Walk Alone") that intertwine acoustic guitar lines with shimmering electric lines. Is this the same cliched band or did Steve Howe & Steve Vai show up for the sessions? If only they had their token rock chick singing over this there's some real potential magic brewing. As for the chick singer, or more properly Laura Tyburski ... she has two voices. She does the cliched opera which is boring & weak, but she also has a stronger & more interesting deeper rock voice. It also is unique to her & not cliched & sounds natural where the other is forced. There's a couple songs that feature this voice along with the male growling voice in dueling vocals (i.e. "Eyes Of Fire", "Desire", "Waters Of The Corrupt") that are great & the album's highlights. I count at least 3 vocal parts in one in addition to the still boring growl. It does the amazing thing of peeling away the boring feeling to take the cliche but make it interesting. Though, the guitars still riff endlessly & numblingly & that's the weakest part of the band. If anything musical deserves credit its that the band does a nice job of letting the keyboards rotate solos with the guitars, but there's really just nothing musically unique or exciting here outside of the acoustic pieces. But, between what sounds like three bands there's a feeling of a a personality crisis at work. I appreciate the diversity, but the lack of focus & the blandness next to the creativity just makes me sad in the end, not thrilled for OW&R's creativity. Why do bands want to be so imitative or do they think people will key into their diversity versus the fact that half of it isn't? Or, has it become too hard to be original? With the two interesting instrumentals it's certainly not like there's no ideas here ... but, some bands just, for whatever reason, would rather do something imitative than really take that next step, which they can obviously do when they let themselves. Maybe I'm too critical, but when I hear tons of metal bands actually going that extra step I know that its possible.

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