Written during the summer of 2003. Recorded by Troels Bech at Media Sound studios, Copenhagen. Released by North Post Records, Denmark, 2004.
There is something wonderful about the human voice. It’s personal, it’s versatile. Singing is not just about communicating the lyrics it’s also about instrumentation, producing another dynamic, adding to the texture of the music. I love Mikael Åkerfeldt’s vocals in Opeth, from the hauntingly beautiful on one hand to extreme, throaty growls on the other. I love Randy Blythe’s vocals in Lamb of God: you only have to listen to New American Gospel back-to-back with Wrath to hear how far his vocal technique has come.
For the last few weeks I’ve been asking myself one question, in relation to this recording: what is it about these vocals that doesn’t work for me? Having listened to the record again and again, I think it’s to do with control. Or rather a lack of control.
To me the vocals on this album does just sound like shouting. The lyrics are yelled, the singer’s mouth is wide open, just the way the singing teacher at school encouraged us all: open your mouth wide, let the sound out: WAH WAH WAH WAH WAH! And there is the problem: if you just blindly open your mouth wide for every word then everything begins to sound the same; it all sounds like ‘ah’. Just the way the dentist likes it. Open wide, say “ahh!” There’s no vocal control. Åkerfeldt knows how, Blythe knows how. I sincerely wish that Jonas did too because this should be a good album. The other three play a blinder.
This album just didn’t work for me. I couldn’t hear beyond the shout-y vocals. Incomplete—Not All Systems Went.
Review score: 40%
Another review delayed by illness: two minor operations within seven days of one another… and then a couple of weeks of recovery thanks to some NHS-sponsored post-op infections. Anyway… on with the metal.