The first few times I listened to this album, I was blown away. The last few times I listened to this album, I was blown away. That should say something.
What do you get when you mix various portions of MAIDEN-esque riffing, Doom-tinged riffing, Jazz, pianos, keyboards, trumpets, trombones, classical guitar, clean vocals, Death vocals and samples of movie monologues, shove it all into a blender and then serve with a nice heaping side of music theory? You might expect a disgusting mess, but with Don Anderson (AGALLOCH) at the helm, what you get is SCULPTURED, a band which takes all of the aforementioned parts and turns it into seamless Avantgarde Metal. You might expect it to be novel, jumbled and messy – not in the least. This is well-written, expertly-constructed and most of all classy stuff. Not awkward or forced in the least, SCULPTURED even find a way to make the movie samples sound perfectly natural.
“The Spear Of The Lily Is Aureoled” is SCULPTURED’s debut and it continues the The End Records tradition of releasing quality material (or rather, helped established that tradition, since this was one of the label’s first releases). The songs here are full of interesting arrangements, emotive vocals both clean and growled and proficiently-executed solos - it’s hard to pick a stand out among six standouts but if I had to, I’d say that everything comes together perfectly on then 9-minute “Her Silence” with its incredible Jazz sections. Notice that I said “six standouts,” and there are seven tracks – “Fulfilment In Tragedy For Cello & Flute” is a very short atonal piece for just those two instruments and is really only worthwhile in the context of the album, serving more as a segue than a song in its own right.
Many hails to Don Anderson and the rest of SCULPTURED for creating such wonderful music. If you like your Metal adventurous yet refined, “The Spear Of The Lily Is Aureoled” comes highly recommended. (Online November 25, 2005)