Thereís not enough bands on this planet taking artistic risks these days. Nearly every album you pick up sounds cookie cutter and safe, very few actually have the balls to actually do something risky and stand-out. GRAYCEON does just this. This band plays a very moody, atmospheric prog packed with artistic and risky song-writing. They also rise above the crowd by incorporating an electric cello into their music, somehow making that work. This results in a rare, distinguishable sound.
Musically, this reminds me of a grungier AGALLOCH. Most of the music is played at a relatively slow pace with occasional blasts of energy arising here and there. While I can certainly appreciate what is being done on this disc, and the song-writing is phenomenal, I found myself bored during the entire listening. A lot of it tends to drag on for much too long.
While the music is labeled emotional, I received nothing from this. While the music is certainly different, it sounds much too plain and Avantgarde for its own good. The compositions are well played and well written, however, the sounds are much too weak to actually make me savor and reflect in the music. Granted, the album has its moments but theyíre too far and between to actually make the emotional effect of their music take hold.
The album is mostly instrumental and I find these to be the best parts of the album. The vocals on every track are awful and ruin the experience for me. They lack passion and charisma and do not convey their message properly. For example, the lyrics of the first track sound as though they are being sang to me from someone who's falling asleep. This can be applied to most of the other songs as well. Vocally, you can expect mostly female vocals of the operatic type (which lack passion), clean male vocals (which sound dead) and rare yells (which are absolutely annoying). The vocals are bad enough to almost make it a complete album ruiner. For their next album, I suggest getting different vocalists or dropping them altogether.
Worth mentioning is the third track ("Into The Deep"). Out of the four, this is the only song that actually struck a chord with me. Itís over 12 minutes long and explores a wide variety of ideas taking many twists and turns in the process. Every instrument is given its spotlight and they play off each other so well. While it has its moments where it feels like it overstays its welcome, this track is a great example of how much potential GRAYCEON truly has. The fourth track is exceptional in itís latter half as well (around the 10:00 mark) and doesnít let up until the song is over but the minutes leading up to that point is horribly boring.
Despite my lack of praise for this album, this is still a good album worthy of your time. I just could not connect with this album but I can still see how phenomenal it truly is. During the parts where I did feel connected, the music was simply excellent. When I wasnít, it was a tedious bore-fest. This album surely wonít please the majority of metal and prog fans, it was meant for patient, understanding listeners who want to appreciate art, not rock out. I certainly think this band will go places and will get better with age. As it stands, emotional "chunks" and one streaming good track (out of 4 though) cannot receive more than a 6 from me. This band deserves a chance and I can recommend it to anyone searching for something different with artistic integrity. Iím also convinced that this album may get better with time, if this happen Iíll be more than happy to re-write my review.
(Online April 14, 2007)