I have a few Triple Features to write over the next couple months, but this EP feature has been on my mind the most. All three of these releases have the same “score”, so to speak. All of them are great, so quite different from each other. Read below about Vila, Omnerod, and Bent Knee.
I’ve been getting into doom and darker genres over the last few years, so certain names stick out to me. Vila guested on the ISON’s Aurora last year, and I immediately loved her voice. I was happy to see her releasing her own new EP this year, and so I had to hear it. The EP is called Liminal Space.
Vila offers us darkened ambient music with a subtle doom atmosphere. Much of the music is led by piano and her voice, and that’s about it, but these elements are so beautifully wrought. There are a few moments on a couple tracks that lean more into a metal sound, but most of this EP is atmospheric and floating in nature. I really like this sort of sound.
Each of the 6 tracks is great. I love the opening title track with its evocative tone. I love “Give Up All Things” for its metallic, raw sound with Vila playing off harsh vox. I also love the closer “Grayflower” with its slow build, nuanced ambience, and climactic ending. Overall, Liminal Space is a great EP and doom fans will love it.
This Omnerod EP is actually a 2021 release. I meant to review it in December, but didn’t get the chance. I felt the need to write a few words, though, because Construction is a wonderful release. I first came across the band with 2019’s Arteries, a fantastic record in its own right. This EP, though, shows the band moving in a direction of which I fully approve.
The band plays a death metal tinged post-metal, one that feels rather avant-garde and progressive. There are plenty of harsh vox and meaty clean vocals, and I think that is one of the band’s strengths. Another strength is their technical ability in the amazing rhythm section and in the simply tremendous guitar tone and composition. Seriously, I love the larger-than-life force of their guitars on this EP.
This EP has 7 tracks, with the last three being live versions. The first track is a vocal version of a song from the Arteries album. I have to admit that I like the original better, though this is good, too. The next three tracks are all great, though. I absolutely love “Company Accepted” for its super melodic sound, almost like there’s a little bit of Muse influence. It is a beautiful song, but has plenty of grit, too, between the sweet guitars and terrific transition from clean vocals to harsh. The final scream is a winner.
I also love “You Make Me Feel”. This song is unapologetically heavy, trading back and forth between beautiful vocal lines and monstrous riffs. It is both incredibly energetic and also quiet at times. It’s a real balancing act. “Sandglass” is a great track, too, building itself into a bit of tizzy, but also closing with some abstract ideas that I really like. Overall, Omnerod has a superb release here, and I can’t wait to see this direction expounded upon in their next record.
Most of you know the tension I expressed about the most recent Bent Knee album Frosting. In my review for it, I explained that I could sense the masterful writing and great melodies, not to mention Courtney’s phenomenal vocals, but the post-production on the album added so much to the point of ruin. The album has grown on me somewhat, and this new Bent Knee on Audiotree Live EP has solidified it in my mind even more.
Bent Knee have long played pretty much whatever they want. Heavy elements of pop, math rock, electronic, and more can be found in their music. Frosting was more of a hyper pop affair with lots of auto tune and fuzzy filters. This EP, however, ditches much of that. The opening track “Invest in Breakfast” still contains those things, though the instrumentation is much clearer. The rest of the EP, though, only contains certain moments where filters are used.
And this is a great thing. I can finally hear my favorite Frosting track “Not This Time” without any manipulation. Finally, Courtney’s voice can simply shine, and she sings her heart out here. “Leak Water” sounds as grand as ever, and even “Queer Gods”, and addictive track in its own right, benefits from a scaled back presentation. One that I had difficulty with on Frosting was “Set if Off”, and this version is immensely better with its subtle atmosphere and dreamy tone.
So, what have I learned? Some bands like to mess with their music for whatever reason. I’m fine with that, but I’ll wait for the live versions if I want to hear the songs in their pure form. This EP represents a tremendous performance, especially from Courtney, and all five songs are real treasures. I would say that especially goes for the songs from Frosting that finally get to bask in the sunlight a little.
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